Scientists have found that a common additive in frozen and fried foods worsens the flu.
According to new research conducted by scientists in the US, the common additive, tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), has been discovered to suppress the body’s immune response to infection. This additive is also known as E319, and is found in frozen meat, butter, fried food and crackers.
Based on the study, researchers believe that this additive may also reduce the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.
,br>“If you get a vaccine, but part of the immune system doesn’t learn to recognise and fight off virus-infected cells, then this can cause the vaccine to be less effective,” said Robert Freeborn, a PhD student at Michigan State University.
Adopting a low-fat diet and cutting down on processed snacks is the best way to avoid this additive.
“Our studies showed that mice on a TBHQ diet had a weakened immune response to influenza infection. In our mouse model, TBHQ suppressed the function of two types of T cells, helper and killer T cells. Ultimately, this led to more severe symptoms during a subsequent influenza infection,” said Mr Freeborn.
Foods that are rich in vitamins A, C or E can help you fight infection and keep you healthier through winter. So here’s a list of foods to litter your diet with and naturally boost your immune system.
1. Yoghurt. Simply mixing some natural yoghurt with your cereal in the morning or enjoying a tub each day with a squirt of honey will line your intestines with good bacteria. Other vital nutrients in yoghurt, such as protein, calcium and vitamins B6 and B12 help maintain a healthy diet.
2. Red capsicums. Rich in vitamins A and C, snacking on sliced capsicum, dipped in a garlic-rich hummus, which adds a dose of manganese, vitamin B6 and selenium is a tasty way to battle flu.
3. Nuts. Stay away from the roasted and salted variety, but a handful of nuts each day, particularly almonds and Brazil nuts, will not only provide your immune system with added Vitamin E and selenium, but will also lower your ‘bad’ cholesterol, thanks to their ability to lower those low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.
4. Green tea. For years, the Chinese have understood the medicinal properties of green tea and incorporated this drink into their daily diet. Containing the immune boosting chemical called epigallocatechin gallate, green tea can also help you recover from illness faster.
5. Sweet potatoes. As with carrots, sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene which becomes Vitamin A when digested.
6. Ginger. Not only does the compound gingerol help fight off infections, this plant is also good for the digestion. For a super sweet treat, try crystallised ginger dipped in dark chocolate, or infuse your green tea with ginger root to add a little extra zing.
7. Chicken soup. Not only does a bowl of warm broth made with plenty of vegetables make you feel better, but the anti-inflammatory properties of this broth also helps keep mucus at bay.
Will you be adjusting what you eat this flu season?
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