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Will Eating Keto Help Prevent Flu?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

eating keto

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  • A research team discovered eating a keto diet reduced the number of times flu symptoms appeared in an animal study; they surmised that an improved immune response in the lungs with an increased production of mucus may be important to trapping the virus and keeping it from spreading
  • Additional tests in an animal model found it wasn't the ketones or low-carb/high-fat diet separately triggering the response but, rather, the combination of the two factors inherent in a ketogenic nutritional plan
  • Using a cyclical approach to eating keto boosts the benefits and increases your flexibility in meal planning. The three-step approach is to restrict net carbohydrates to 20 to 50 grams per day; consume 50% to 85% of calories from healthy fat; and limit protein to one-half gram per pound of lean body mass
  • Maintaining appropriate ratios is important to prompting your body to effectively burn fat. Once accomplished you may cycle in and out of ketosis by eating a higher number of carbs once or twice a week, taking care to choose healthy carbohydrates
  • Eating keto reduces your insulin resistance, making it easier to maintain or lose weight. It also reduces your potential risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. The reduction in mTOR associated with lower levels of insulin also slows aging and reduces cancer risk

The flu virus is more commonly diagnosed during the fall and winter months, although it’s detectable year-round in the U.S. While the exact duration may vary, most activity begins in October, peaks in January and February and caps as late as May.

During this “season,” other respiratory viruses are also prevalent, and may cause flu-like illnesses such as rhinovirus and respiratory syncytial virus. When it comes to treating it, the flu virus is not a bacterium and thus is not affected by antibiotics. The illness is contagious and may result in mild to severe illness. It’s an airborne disease that spreads through air droplets expelled when infected people cough, sneeze or simply open their mouths and talk.


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