Those who are really sick want to have their peace of mind before eating anything. Some people still force themselves to take a bite or two, because they have the advice of their mothers in their ears not to stop eating if they are sick. But is self-compulsion to eat, the right behavior to get well again quickly, or does the loss of appetite make more sense? It depends on what you are suffering from. Fasting while sick can actually starve certain pathogens. In one of the studies, the doctors infected mice with various pathogens. Then one group of mice was fed, but the other group received no food.
Mice With No Appetite
In the mice infected with so-called listeria, it was found that this also leads to anorexia in them. If the animals were nonetheless fed, they died more often than average from the infection compared to the test animals that were not given any food. Listeria is bacteria that arise in food and cause gastrointestinal problems in humans.
Fasting For Bacteria, Eating For Viruses
The research team from the Netherlands was able to show that a meal increases the body’s own messenger substance interferon-gamma by an average of 450 percent in the blood. The messenger substance activates the immune system. This actively slows the virus from multiplying.
If patients with bacterial infections only consume water and no solid food, the concentration of the messenger substance interleukin-4 in the blood increases measurably. This stimulates the production of antibodies so that infections caused by bacteria can be suppressed.
Even if the researchers did not make any specific dietary requirements for the sick, the chicken soup is still considered helpful in the case of flu. If you don’t want to let it get that far, you can get preventive vaccinations.
Whether you are dealing with bacteria or viruses, you should not neglect the intake of fluids in either case. Water and unsweetened drinks in particular support the immune system.