Munching on almonds can stave off infections

November 1st, 2010 - 5:04 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 1 (IANS) Eating almonds regularly can help you stave off viral infections like the common cold and flu.

A new study has revealed that naturally occurring chemicals found in the skin of the nut boost the immune system’s response to such infections.

Researchers found almond skins improved the ability of the white blood cells to detect viruses while also increasing the body’s ability to prevent viruses from replicating and spreading inside the body, according to the journal Immunology Letters.

They discovered that even after the almonds had been digested, the immune system was more poised to act against viruses, reports the Telegraph.

Researchers found that almond skin extracts were effective against even Herpes Simplex Virus 2, which can cause cold sores. The virus is notoriously difficult to treat due to its ability to evade the immune system.

The scientists, based at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, Britain and the Policlinico Universitario in Messina, Italy, said their findings suggest that the nuts can increase the immune system’s ability to fight off a wide range of viruses, including those that cause flu and the common cold.

They said they, however, still have to carry out research on how many almonds must be eaten to obtain a beneficial effect.

Giuseppina Mandalari from the Institute of Food Research said: “Almond skins are able to stimulate the immune response and thus contribute to an antiviral immune defence.”

It was likely that eating almonds regularly could help protect people from becoming infected with viruses in the first place, while it could also help those already infected to fight off their illness.

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