Fighting the Flu With Food - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Fighting the Flu With Food

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SALISBURY, Md.- There has been a lot of buzz about how this year's flu vaccine is not as effective as in years past. That has a lot of people looking for other ways to protect themselves, and many local doctors and nutritionists are pointing to food.

Like it or not, we are all full of it… Bacteria.

“We've been taught for years that bacteria are evil little bugs that we need to stay away from, however, without healthy bacteria, none of us would be here,” explained Dr. Greg Belcher a Salisbury-based chiropractor who specializes in holistic health.

Dr. Belcher says bacteria is key to keeping your immune system strong.

“Your best way to avoid getting the flu is to 1, avoid those with it, and 2, to keep your immune system boosted.”

Tamara Giles, a registered dietician at PRMC, agrees with the importance of a healthy immune system.

“You want to look at your lifestyle as a whole,” she explained. “The flu vaccine should not be the only thing that you're relying on to keep yourself well.”

So, how do you do it? Besides vitamin's C and D and proper hydration, Dr. Belcher stands behind a healthy diet, supplemented with fermented foods like yogurt, pickles and sauerkraut, which contain healthy bacteria known as probiotics.

“It helps keep things from forcing out of your body and it also helps by keeping your intestines in good working order and preventing things,” noted Giles.

“The gut is often called the second brain, and it's just that important,” Dr. Belcher said. “And actually, most of our immune system is in our gut.”

And food isn't the only source of probiotics.

“You can buy probiotics which come as a capsule, and they have a rated amount of colony forming units, is the unit of measure,” Dr. Belcher said.

Giles said that when, looking for fermented foods, you want live bacteria and should look for that on the label when buying yogurt. And for pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi and things like that, Giles said it is important to get them from the refrigerated section.

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