A new study shows how poor gut health could increase the severity of COVID-19, and how to reduce the risks.
The COVID-19 crisis persists and intensifies around the world, despite the vaccines on the horizon. We know COVID-19 can have serious short-term and long-term effects. However, what you may not know is that despite COVID-19 being a respiratory disease, it can also have serious harmful effects on the gut.
A new study from the American Society of Microbiology found people with existing poor gut health tend to get more severe COVID-19. The study found a “sizeable” fraction of patients hospitalized with breathing problems also have gastrointestinal troubles such as diarrhea and vomiting, suggesting COVID increases the severity of the disease.
“The whole world is suffering from this COVID-19 pandemic.” Said microbiologist Heenam Stanley Kim, Ph.D. “But what people do not realize is that the pandemic of damaged gut microbiomes is far more serious now.”
Even if you do contract COVID, it might not make its way to the gut. But if your gut health is already bad, the virus could cause a series of gastrointestinal problems. According to Kim, we can reduce the likelihood of getting more severe COVID by ensuring we maintain good gut health.
This, obviously, includes being careful about what we eat. Fiber is essential to keeping our bowel movements healthy and regular, preventing you from getting constipated and guarding against bowel cancer. You can get more fiber from whole grain-based bread, pasta, rice and breakfast cereals. It is also in pulses and legumes, fibrous vegetables like carrots and broccoli and fruits such as apples and pears.
Drinking more water is also great for gut health, while the best fish oil supplements can act as anti-inflammatories, preventing all kinds of harmful conditions.
John Hopkins University found probiotics only effective in around 36 % of cases. The UK National Health Service recommends taking probiotic supplements every day for at least 4 weeks before seeing any kind of benefit.
Peppermint tea, on the other hand, has been known to quell digestion problems; so, keep this in mind.
That’s it for now my friends; see you all the next time.