Most of us know someone who never seems to get sick. Maybe it's a pastor who shakes hundreds of hands every Sunday. Or maybe it's a primary school teacher who, although she is coughed and sneezed every day, never misses a day's work.
You understandably ask yourself: How do you do that?
When I researched and wrote Secrets of the World's Most Healthy People I spent most of a year asking dozens of people who never gotten sick of this exact question. What they told me changed what I do every winter ̵
To avoid colds and flu, you naturally want to avoid people and places and often wash your hands. You knew that. Me too.
Here's what's new and surprising: One of the most effective remedies for colds and flu can be found in a common diet that you may not be eating. I do not beat apples, but if you want to eat one thing daily to keep the doctor away and ward off colds and flu, I recommend either eating a probiotic rich yogurt or taking a probiotic supplement.
Probiotics are bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health. Researchers are studying the ability of probiotic fermented foods to treat a range of diseases and boost immunity to prevent infectious diseases such as colds and flu.
In a study published in June 2017 in the journal Nutrients the researchers investigated the immune-enhancing powers of probiotics in yoghurt. They either fed older adults either probiotic-rog-yoghurt or a placebo (sugar pill) for 12 years. The people who ate the yoghurt experienced an increase in immune system cells that help fight off viruses.
How exactly do the probiotics in yogurt work? The living bacteria seem to interact with the microbes in our gut. These 100 billion microbes produce vitamins like B6, B12 and K; They help to fight off evil bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella and to keep the intestine in motion. Probiotics can also strengthen the barrier function of the intestine and thus help prevent viruses and bacteria from getting through.
Not all yoghurts are the same when it comes to their probiotic power. Use these tips:
- Look for these words : "live and active cultures".
- Forget about shelf-stable varieties . The cooling keeps the cultures alive and fresh.
- Stick to brands that list the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus (l. Acidophilus) and / or Bifidobacterium (B. bifidum) on the ingredient label . These two bacteria are the strongest and therefore the most effective when it comes to strengthening your immune system.
- If you buy yogurt with a single serving, pay attention to these nutritional values . It should contain at least 6 grams of protein, but not more than 200 calories, 4 grams of fat or 30 grams of sugar. None of this will prevent colds and flu, but it will help you keep your weight at bay, which in turn will protect your immunity.
Not a fan of yogurt? That's okay. I also do not eat it very often, so I get my daily probiotic solution of vitamin C with probiotic powder, which I mix with water and drink. Another option: kefir, pickles and sauerkraut, which all contain probiotics.