Suffering from the flu? Science Daily reports that suguki, a pickled turnip famous in Japan, may be exactly what you need during this season of coughs and colds.

Researchers led by Naoko Waki of KAGOME CO., LTD treated several flu-infected mice with Lactobacillus brevis, an immune system-boosting bacteria found in suguki with promising results. “Our results show that when a particular strain of Lactobacillus brevis is eaten by mice, it has protective effects against influenza virus infection,” she explains.

The said bacteria is surprisingly tolerant to stomach acids, which easily breaks down other compounds. Researchers think that this is due to the presence of exopolysaccharides, which is a layer of sugar that protects the bacteria from acid decay.

More research is still needed to see the extent of the benefits that this bacteria can give humans, but scientists believe that aside from being able to protect you from H1N1 flu, it may also help ward off H7N9, another deadly iteration of the virus from China.

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Not bad for a humble turnip! Perhaps it’s not a bad idea to order suguki with your main dish during your next visit to a Japanese restaurant.


(Photo by 14zawa via Flickr Creative Commons)

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