New research from an Australian university on Wednesday revealed that a high fibre diet could be the best medicine when it comes to treating the flu.
The Monash University Department of Immunology and Pathology study discovered that mice given a high fibre diet were are more likely to survive an influenza infection.
That's because whole grains, fruits and veggies act to blunt harmful immune responses in the lungs, while at the same time boosting antiviral immunity by activating T-cells.
"For an analogical viewpoint we know how this works," author of the study Professor Benjamin Marsland explained to Xinhua.
"This diet changes the bacteria in the gut and the metabolites in the body, particularly short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)."
This diet changes a specific cell population in bone marrow, which when circulated to the lungs, helps recruit immune cells during an infection, said Marsland.
According to Marsland, the results suggest that in some cases high fibre diets could be used as a means of supplementing other therapies or enhancing vaccine efficacy.
"There is a need for carefully designed and controlled dietary or SCFA intervention studies in humans to address how these findings could be exploited to benefit people with asthma, or for preventing viral infections," he said.