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Maybe Warding Off the Flu is As Easy As Pouring a Glass of Wine

Red wine
igorr1, ThinkStock Images

Flu shot? Nah. Hand me the bottle opener instead.

I am a wine drinker. I enjoy the entire experience; the sound of a bottle popping, the guzzle of filling a glass, the subtle heat you feel swallowing it down. It’s an experience that entices all of the senses. And thanks to my regular ritual, it may also be the reason I don’t get the flu.

This is the time of year, when the temperatures start to change, that we see a rise in flu symptoms. Many rush to get a flu shot to get ahead of the influenza curve ball. Others jump into action with their normal anti-flu rituals, excessive hand washing, getting to bed earlier, avoiding too much physical contact with strangers… The usual.

A recent study from scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that things like black tea, red wine and blueberries could help prevent severe flu infections. Excuse me, while I do my happy dance. Apparently, we have a microbe in our guts that, when breaking down flavonoids, can actually help prevent the flu. Flavonoids are commonly found in red wine and other foods that we eat.

I’ll cheers to that!

This interaction is most effective when done prior to an infection, so if you do get sick, you should probably hydrate with something other than wine. This research could also explain why people respond differently to an influenza infection. It’s not just because of those who drink wine opposed to those who don’t, it’s also a matter of having the right microbe in your gut to interact with those flavonoids.

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