The bacteria living in your gut, called microbiome, has a direct impact on your immune system, say experts. With the focus on the current pandemic, many leading health experts wonder if improving the gut microbiome could have a positive impact in battling COVID-19. Dr. Miguel Freitas, Ph.D., vice president of scientific affairs at Danone, North America, and an expert on probiotics, says that our digestive system houses 70% of our immune system, so eating certain foods can benefit both your gut and your immune system.
''I personally encourage people to consume fermented products like yogurt and kefir to support gut health and the immune system,'' he told EatingWell, adding that ''emerging evidence is showing more and more how gut microbiome can play an important role in keeping us healthy.''
Dr. Martin J. Blaser, the director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, said scientists are studying the characteristics of the microbiome before, during, and after infection by the coronavirus to help evaluate the impact of gut health on preventing or perhaps lowering the severity of the disease.
''As we all know, some people have mild COVID-19 infections, whereas it is very severe in others,'' he told EatingWell. ''One idea is that the nature of the inflammatory response that a person mounts against the virus is an important determinant of what will be their outcome. In other studies, it has been shown that the status of the microbiome influences characteristics related to inflammation.''
Blaser suggested that changing the microbiome with either probiotics or prebiotics may offer a solution in tempering the severity of the disease. Experts offer more tips on how to boost your immune system and reduce your risk of illness.
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