Fall through winter is the time of year they call “flu season.” People are really afraid of it but I have often said, “The flu should be afraid of me!” When you build up the good bacteria in your body, you create an army that goes with you everywhere you go and touches every person you come in contact with. Shake someone’s hand and you give them 8 billion of your bacteria and vice versa. For the most part, we are just bebopping around our day ignoring our bodies unless they’re hungry or sick, right? We are not conscious of the gazillions of things they do every day while we go about our days. It’s no big deal that your heart pumps approximately 2,000 gallons of blood each day through its chambers. That’s about five quarts a minute. Your kidneys filter about 40 gallons of blood to produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine composed of wastes and extra fluid. The trillions of good bacteria 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. 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 we’d better start paying attention to our bodies or they will eventually get our attention with sickness and disease if need be.
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.
Microbes and Your immune system
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 and especially the flu.
Cultured Veggies fight viruses
I had a recent caller on my show who told me she used cultured veggies juice in a most unusual way. She swabbed it with a Q tip up her nose and got rid of a longtime, chronic sinus infection. It’s powerful medicine that you keep in your refrigerator. It stays preserved for many months and works hard to keep you well.
Check out my cultured veggie recipe: Flu Prevention in a Jar
Kefir is Powerful Food - Like Medicine
Sang-Moo Kang, professor at the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State, found that strains of bacteria found in fermented vegetable and dairy products help us deal with ailments such as the flu and respiratory infections: “Studies have found some lactic acid bacteria strains provide partial protection against bacterial infectious diseases,” he said, “such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, as well as cold and influenza viruses.”2
I’ve used kefir and veggies to fight any kind of cold or virus and prevent them. I’ve sniffed kefir up my nose in a neti pot filled with water and salt, too. It works like crazy to get rid of sinus infections. A lot of sinus infections are yeast and candida based. If you crowd out these yeasts that cause ear infections with good bacteria they have to go bye bye and then your sinuses heal.
Check out my favorite cold buster kefir recipe: Frozen Lemon Kefir
Kombucha & My Favorite Probiotic Yeast
Kombucha is a wonderful probiotic drink and something you should really consider drinking daily during cold and flu season. The special probiotic yeast in kombucha (Saccharomyces boulardii, which cannot be killed by antibiotics) can help you stay healthy when viruses are all around you. This superstar probiotic is one of the most thoroughly researched of all probiotic supplements. 3 It is now used to treat Clostridium difficile, acute diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, some parasitic forms of diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal disorders.4 It also has anti-inflammatory and antitoxin effects. It neutralizes toxins produced by harmful pathogens and sends out a signal to the body to reduce inflammation. Inflammation can lead to a number of negative health outcomes. Interestingly enough, S. boulardii can also act as a decoy to harmful pathogens. It attracts and binds with the pathogens, keeping them from attaching to the intestinal wall and doing damage.
Kombucha is the first thing I reach for when I’m battling a sore throat or cough. Sometimes it works better for a cough to let it get to room temperature since cold things can make you cough. It’s great for adrenal stress that is due to your body fighting an infection. I just can’t say enough good things about it.
Check out this kombucha recipe, loaded with vitamin C: Grapefruit Mint Kombucha
Fermented Garlic Two Ways
These are the foods with microbes that work to keep you healthy – better than drugs. And you can keep a lot of them in your fridge to have on hand. I consider them my flu shots in jars – kefir, kombucha, and cultured veggies – and if you would like to know where you can get them or how to make them easily, check out these recipes.
Listen to my podcast
Find out how to avoid the flu/cold this year. This is what I use for my family, and myself and is an all-natural flu/cold remedies that works to keep you healthy for years on end! Listen in as I tell what happened to me when I stopped eating cultured foods for a month and a half. I did and experiment on myself and the results were shocking.
- D. Czerucka, T. Piche, and P. Rampal, “Review Article: Yeast as Probiotics—Saccharomyces boulardii,” Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 26, no. 6 (September 15, 2007): 767–78: abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17767461.
- C.H. Choi et al., “A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Multicenter Trial of Saccharomyces boulardii in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Effect on Quality of Life,” Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 45, no. 8 (September 2011): 679–83: abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21301358; S. Uhlen, F. Toursel, and F. Gottrand, Association Française de Pédiatrie Ambulatoire, “Treatment of Acute Diarrhea: Prescription Patterns by Private Practice Pediatricians,” Archives de Pédiatrie 11, no. 8 (August 2004): 903–7: abstract at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15288079.