We know that there’s no current coronavirus cure, it is safe to assume that the best thing you can do to do prevent infection and mitigate symptoms is to simply be as healthy as possible, and wash your hands.
The keto diet and overall health
The ketogenic diet works by starving your body from “quick fuel” carbohydrates so that it burns fat to use as energy. Known mostly as a weight-loss tool, the keto diet also boasts a number of additional benefits as well, including low inflammation and sharper mental and physical health to those who ascribe to the diet. A report released by the NIH found that the ketogenic diet can improve heart health and help control blood sugar for both diabetic and prediabetic patients.
The keto diet and immunity
Recent research indicates that “going keto” may help your body defend itself from flu infections. The Yale School of Medicine’s Akiko Iwasaki and colleagues previously found that the keto diet reduced inflammation in mice with gout. With inflammation being prevalent in both gout and flu, the team decided to explore the keto diet effects on flu-related inflammation.
Flu-related inflammation can severely damage the lungs. It’s worth mentioning that shortness of breath is a marker symptom of the coronavirus, as well as influenza A. Coronavirus patients in critical care are also struggling with lung damage and the inability to breathe without a respirator.
To test the keto diet effects on flu-related inflammation, the Yale team fed mice infected with influenza A – the most serious type flu – either a keto or standard diet for a week before infection. After four days, all seven of the mice fed a standard diet succumbed to the infection, compared to only five out of the 10 mice on the keto diet. Additionally, these keto diet mice also didn’t lose as much weight, which is usually a sign of flu infection in animals.
How exactly keto works to boost immunity
The team at Yale was able to narrow down the exact effects keto had on the mice’s bodies. The keto diet boosted the numbers of a specific T cell that’s found in the lungs. T cells are part of the body’s immune response, and the amped number of those cells reduced the vulnerability of the cells lining the lungs, making them more resistant to infection and increasing mucus production.
Akiko Iwasaki says that the extra mucus is protecting the mice, and trapping the flu virus to stop it from spreading. While the bodies of mice do differ from humans, scientists have a starting point from which to boost immunity and help cure coronavirus, influenza and more.
In addition to exploring a keto diet by reducing carbohydrates and increasing plant-based foods, adding in daily multivitamins and consuming foods rich in Vitamin C can also help fight off infections.