Several recent studies have determined that the health of the human gut has a significant impact on outcomes of COVID-19 infections. The gut microbiome—those bacteria, fungi, yeast, and other microbes that live by the trillions in our digestive tract—can help or hinder recovery from viruses.
One food that significantly alters the microbiome in a positive way is yogurt. It’s rich in probiotic bacteria, which are vital for a robust immune system. These bacteria are abundant in many yogurt brands, but make sure the label gives assurance that the product contains live cultures.
“Given the fact that the gut is heavily linked to immunity, inflammatory status, and the ability to challenge pathogens, it is worthwhile to consider dietary intervention of the gut microbiota as means of potentially challenging the viral outcome,” wrote the authors of a COVID-19 study published July 28 in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Probiotic bacteria are also abundant in kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.
Earlier this year, researchers examined the digestive tracts of 100 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. They found that several strains of healthful bacteria were in short supply. Lower amounts of those bacteria were linked to more severe cases of the disease.
Additional research concluded that improving the microbiome might help speed recovery from the virus and may counter effects of “long COVID.”
Another study determined that the most severe cases of COVID-19 are often linked to underlying health conditions, “which are intriguingly characterized also by unhealthy microbiome status.”
“COVID-19 could have long-lasting impacts on gut microbiota composition” by Giorgia Guglielmi, www.MicrobiomePost.com, 5/24/21
“Gut microbiota composition reflects disease severity and dysfunctional immune responses in patients with COVID-19” by Y.K. Yeoh et al., Gut, 4/21
“Gut microbiota status in COVID-19: An unrecognized player?” by S.D. Zeppa et al., Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 11/26/20
“Mechanisms linking the human gut microbiome to prophylactic and treatment strategies for COVID-19” by G.E. Walton et al., British Journal of Nutrition, 7/21
Byline: Alan Siddal This article originally appeared on TasteForLife.com.