The cultured food that helped me With The Flu

There is a lot of fear flying around about the flu and especially the coronavirus. If I can help you understand what happens in your body and how it works when you get the flu, or what you can do to protect yourself, then perhaps it will help you and make you feel more confident in your body's ability to heal and keep you well.

But first, let me tell you a story. At the end of December 2019, my husband and I went on a vacation which was supposed to be to the Cayman Islands. When we arrived at the airport they informed me my passport needed six months before the expiration date (it only had a couple of months) and we couldn't go. Devastated, I lost it in the airport and scared a few people with so many tears that I couldn't keep from spilling down my face. The airport stewards were so kind and compassionate to me, and before I knew it we were headed to Hawaii with super cheap flights and switched hotel reservations. My excitement was hard to contain! We spent our time at the beach and then headed home with enough macadamia nuts to start our own farm.

The day after we got back, both my husband and I came down with a fever and cough and I felt so horrible I couldn't get out of bed. Ron immediately headed to the kitchen and took an entire cup of cultured vegetables and kept doing it for the next three days, but I did not. I stayed in bed and barely ate or drank and tried to sleep off my high fever. Ron was over it in a few days, but I continued with a fever that wouldn't quit. When he proudly announced to me how he had eaten so many cultured veggies and suggested I do the same, I sheepishly dragged myself to the kitchen and started drinking the juice from cultured veggies. I had this crazy fever for a long time and it didn't stop till I took the veggie juice several times a day, and then the very next day the fever broke and so did I. I teach everyone how powerful these foods are and I myself didn't take my own advice. I was so shocked I was sick that I could barely function. My husband will never let me live this down, but it was a powerful lesson for me. When we were on vacation, we didn't have cultured foods for over a week and I was super sleep deprived from the time change and stress I felt before we left. Sometimes I think we go through things so we can help others. In this case, it has given me enormous compassion for people struggling with the flu. Now I don't know what kind of flu I had; but whatever it was, it was a doozy.

I had called my brother-in-law who is a physician and told him how sick I was and he said, "Without seeing you or putting my stethoscope on you I would say you have a virus, and if your cough gets worse go see a doctor. I wish I could cure the flu. I'd be famous for sure!" He also said, "I'm really interested as to why Ron got over it so fast and you didn't."

I actually made an appointment to see my doctor, but when I got there I was all better. She listened to my lungs and said, "They sound perfect so no damage done here. Lots of flu can go into pneumonia."

The gratefulness I felt for the jar of veggies fermenting on my counter is unrivaled to any medicine I have ever taken. Those crazy vegetables and their juice had made me well and I shall once again be so grateful for those invisible probiotics and all they do for me. I knew they were antiviral many years ago, but now there is even more research that's pointing to just how effective they are. This is due to one very special probiotic called Lactobacillus Plantarum and I want to share just what they can do so, in turn, it can help you too. But first, let me tell you how your body fights invaders like a virus.

Update! COVID-19

We have all seen tremendous help and healing from eating fermented vegetables and especially when dealing with any kind of virus. I knew fermented vegetables had certain strains of bacteria that could often prevent or help when dealing with a virus, but COVID-19 was a new virus and it's hard to make a claim without research. The Health Minister of South Korea where they eat a lot of kimchi, a fermented food, quickly came out at the beginning of the COVID-19 virus to say that kimchi does not help with this virus, but months later this has been found to no longer be true.

Dr. Jean Bousquet, professor of pulmonary medicine at Montpellier University in France, and who chaired The Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases, and his team studied a link between countries that consumed a lot of fermented krauts (such as South Korea and Germany) and saw they had lower death rates and cases.[1] “Little attention has been given to the spread and severity of the virus, and regional differences in diet, but diet changes may be of great benefit,” said Dr. Jean Bousquet, advising people to include fermented vegetables in their breakfast.

“If the hypothesis is proved, COVID-19 will be the first infectious disease epidemic whose biological mechanisms are proved to be associated with a loss of nature. When modern life led to eating reduced amounts of fermented foods, the microbiome drastically changed, and this may have facilitated SARS-CoV-2 to spread or to be more severe,” writes the team.[2]

How COVID-19 Enters The Body

The study, published in the journal Clinical and Translational Allergy,[3] found that fermented cabbage helps decrease levels of ACE2 which is key to the virus replicating and finding entry into the body. ACE2, which stands for angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, is a protein that sits on the surface of many types of cells in the human body including the heart, gut, lungs, and inside the nose. This protein adheres to cells located on the surface of the lungs and begins to form pockets or little openings, in the organ. This is used by COVID-19 as an entry point into the body. SARS-CoV-2, (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 - the official name of the virus) with its spiky exterior, does have the ability to unlock the ACE2 receptor and gain entry into the lungs. This is how the virus begins by invading the lungs and making copies of itself.

Fermented Foods and ACE2

The exciting news is consuming probiotic fermented cabbage brings down the number of ACE2, making it much more difficult for the virus to enter the body.[4] It's amazing how protective it can be, but only raw fermented cabbage has this effect. Sauerkraut that is canned and heated lacks the probiotic power that you need to keep this at bay.

As the virus spread, many high-risk groups started to surface. People with heart conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity were the ones that seemed to be greatly affected. Many people in these groups take medications that are known to boost ACE2[5] expression. So again, scientists wondered, could that protein be responsible? The research is still ongoing and there is no easy answer but they did find that fermented foods were helping many people around the world.

Cultured Vegetables Most Important

The researchers gathered data and found that everything considered, only fermented vegetables had a significant impact on the mortality rate by country. Interestingly, for each gram per day of consumption of fermented vegetables, the risk for COVID-19 mortality fell by 35.4%. Check out the graphs on this link to see the impact.

Geographical Mortality

microscopic bouncers

Your trillions of good bacteria that comprise your body spend their days destroying some of their harmful cousins that are bad bacteria. They also pick through undigested foods and micromanage calories and make some vitamins and essential nutrients for you, but that's not all they do.

Good bacteria act as microscopic bouncers for the bowels, letting in desirable nutrients and slamming the door on dangerous viruses and killer bugs. Without bacteria you couldn’t digest any food. But digestion is only part of what these high achievers accomplish. They also help power 60-70 percent of the body’s immune system. The bottom line is that we would be dead without bacteria and their special abilities to keep us healthy every day.

So, what exactly is going on inside of you that can determine whether you get the flu or not? Your body is designed to fight pathogens and viruses. A virus is wandering around looking for a human host to infect; and when it finds one, your body has special helpers designed to seek and destroy this invader.

Inside Help

White blood cells destroy germs as soon as they detect them. However, if a viral infection begins to take hold, they fight back using a more powerful defense with T and B cells. Antibodies are special proteins made by B cells. They bind to a virus to stop it from replicating, and they also label viruses so that other blood cells know to destroy them. T cells have different roles to play. Some act as warning bells that raise the alarm when they detect invading viruses. Here’s where your microbes come in . . . certain good bacteria in the gut influence the strength of the immune system by increasing the number of T cells. There are two kinds of T cells: killers and helpers. Killer T cells find and destroy infected cells that have been turned into viruses making communities. Helper T cells don’t fight invaders; instead, they are like a military intelligence system. When a helper T cell sends out a chemical message, its matched killer T cell is alerted that a virus is present and seeks to destroy it. Having lots and lots of good bacteria in the gut increases T cell production and keeps communication among all the cells functioning at optimum levels. Signals from these beneficial microbes are essential for keeping the immune system strong so it can seek and destroy a virus or infection. Many people have been on antibiotics which kill the good and bad bacteria, and they have never built up a community of good bacteria in their bodies to fight these pathogens.

Consuming cultured foods will give your body these strong microbes in an easy and delicious way. It will give you confidence in your body and it will make you feel so powerful. While the rest of the world is worried about the flu, you can go to your fridge and fortify your cells with the very thing they need to keep you healthy. If you do get sick, you can use them in the same way to help you get over it more quickly; and before you know it, you’ll stop getting sick. And then you’ve entered the wellness zone which helps you remember who you are - a miraculous creation that has everything you need to keep you healthy and avoid disease - especially the flu.

Cultured Veggies—Antiviral

Back when the bird flu was going around, researchers found that kimchi, a spicy fermented cabbage, was effective in preventing and killing the influenza virus.

This is what researchers from the Korea Food Research Institute and the World Institute of Kimchi had to say about cultured vegetables. [1][2]  “Lactic acid bacteria and fermentation metabolites in kimchi inhibit the growth of influenza virus … Lactobacillus plantarum, which is produced in large quantities during the fermentation of kimchi, and its sub-ingredients such as green onion and ginger, are thought to hinder the growth of influenza virus. We concluded that bioactive compounds from lactic acid bacteria produced by kimchi fermentation serve as antiviral agents … Our study is the world’s first that scientifically verified kimchi’s effectiveness against influenza viruses such as swine flu and AI (avian influenza) viruses.” In 2003, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) was in many parts of the world including Hong Kong and mainland China, except for Korea where very few people were infected with the virus. Researchers have argued that kimchi has an antiviral effect. The results of the study (Effects of heat-killed Lactobacillus plantarum against influenza viruses in mice) were published in the February 2018 issue of the Journal of Microbiology.

Tested Against H1N1 Virus

A publication in the Bangladesh Journal of Pharmacology stated: "The probiotic strains of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have earned the status of being efficient, economical and safe 'nutraceuticals' in health care armamentarium." A total of 2272 lab stains were tested against H1N1 virus. Lactobacillus plantarum showed a pronounced antiviral activity. The anti-H1N1 activity of the strain was confirmed by hemagglutination (HI) assay. HI assay shows that antibodies to the influenza virus will prevent attachment of the virus to red blood cells. They even found it had pronounced efficiency in comparison to the commercially available antiviral drug. [2]

Stomach Ailments

Cultured vegetables are extremely effective when dealing with a stomach ailment. [4]The stories I have witnessed are nothing short of miraculous. On several occasions, I have used cultured vegetables and their juice to get rid of food poisoning and a nasty stomach virus. It was like injecting some kind of magic tonic that worked so quickly I was shocked. When my children came down with the stomach flu, I gave them small sips of the juice from cultured veggies and watched as the vomiting and diarrhea and stomach cramps subsided. I have personally seen it knock out food poisoning within a few hours. The special bacteria in cultured veggies called Lactobacillus plantarum binds to the mucosal lining of the gut preventing the adhesion and translocation of pathogens. It steals the nutrients that pathogens need to survive, and the pathogens then die and pass out of the body. This reduces pathogen growth that can also lead to reducing any circulating endotoxins. Having too many endotoxins can cause the immune system to weaken which can cause infections and inflammation.

Check out my Favorite Cultured Veggie Recipe for Sickness:

 Jicama If You're Sick-ma 

Hope and Help For Flu Season

All cultured foods, including kefir, kombucha, cultured veggies, water kefir, and sourdough bread, have guided me in living a healthier life. They gently pointed the way for me as I followed the bread trail they left for me. They continue to help build up my immune system and keep things in a proper balance. If I do need help I reach for more of them to give me what I need, be it to fight a cold or flu or even help me with stress and aches and pains.

I have lots of recipes and instructions to help you make the best-cultured veggies. And don't forget kefir, and kombucha, and water kefir, too! Get started getting cultured and keep your immune system strong. Don't be afraid of the flu. Your body is designed to heal you so even if you do get the flu, you have tools to help you through. I love my cultured foods, they have helped me through a myriad of health problems and they can help you too, but you need to have a jar (which can last nine months) in your fridge! Check out these recipes below. I think you can find something that you'll love.

How To Make Cultured Vegetables

How to Make Milk Kefir

How To Make Kombucha

Check Out These Antiviral Cultured Veggie Recipes

Apple Kraut
Apples and kraut are a wonderful combination and one I use a lot when I'm […]
Basic Kraut
This is a basic kraut recipe and you can modify it and add more veggies […]
Blueberry Spinach Kraut
This pairs well with sprouted tortilla chips. They are becoming more popular and there are […]
Buffalo Kraut
Buffalo wings are all the rage these days. But did you know that the first […]
Christmas Kraut
Unbelievably good kraut that tastes like Christmas!! Feel free to experiment and add different seasonings, […]
Cucumber Kimchi
This is one of my new favorite ways to enjoy the flavors of kimchi. Although […]
Flu Prevention: Cultured Veggies
These are a little spicy, and a little sweet and sour. They are wonderful for […]
Fruity Cinnamon Kraut
You can change this up with all kinds of fruit, Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries etc. Mix […]
Golden Beet Sauerkraut
I love golden beets. They taste like sunshine!
Jicama If You're Sicka-ma
You've gotta try these vegetables. Jicama is a prebiotic so you will get more good […]
Kefir Kraut Dip
We love, love this dip and so do the people who come to my classes. […]
Kimchi is an ancient dish that Koreans have been making for centuries. In fact, it […]
Lemon Kraut
Lemons are superfoods: they are a digestive aid and a liver cleanser, and they contain […]
Orangeade Kraut
This is one of my very best kraut recipes. It has a wonderfully orange flavor […]
Purple Ginger Kraut
This red cabbage is delicious with a little ginger. I made this specifically for those […]
Simple Salt and Pepper Kraut
Spanish Kimchi
How do I explain how much I love these cultured veggies? The taste is so […]
Spicy Kimchi
Koreans have eaten kimchi for thousands of years because of its powerful medicinal effects. This […]
Thank You Kraut
We named this Thank You Kraut because it is perfect for Thanksgiving. It’s loaded […]
Wisdom Kraut
Everyone who tastes this describes it differently. Some say that it tastes like bread stuffing […]

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There is a lot of fear flying around about the flu and especially the coronavirus. If I can help you understand what happens in your body and how it works when you get the flu, or what you can do to protect yourself, then perhaps it will help you and make you feel more confident in your body's ability to heal and keep you well.

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