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Want strong immunity to prevent covid-19? Start by taking care of your gut health

Updated on:22 June 2020, 17:26pm IST
If you have been popping supplements to boost your immunity, then let us tell you: keeping your gut healthy is key to strengthening your immune system.
Dr Gautam Banerjee
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A happy gut equals to strong immune system. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Better immunity has been an essential requirement for us, independent of age, race, religion, sex, ethnicity, and so on. In the current unprecedented times, there is a renewed vigour for improving and regulating our immune responses. 

It might surprise a few people, but a good place to start looking for solutions, is the ‘gut’. Our gut is home to an enormous and complex community of microorganisms. These co-habitants have a strong impact on our wellness, and particularly our immune system. In fact, sometimes the gut is also referred to as the “second brain”. Thus, a modulation of the gut microorganism community facilitates our overall well-being.

The relationship between lifestyle, gut, and immune system
The gut hosts a significant proportion of immune system and minor disturbance leads to impaired health and wellness of our body.  And so, maintaining the right lifestyle goes a long way.

phalsa sharbat
Want a cool calming drink that is gut-friendly? Try Phalsa sharbat. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Some of common compromising factors of our gut health and thus, our immune response, are age, smoking, alcohol, fast food, and self-prescribed antibiotics or medicines that we end up consuming often.  Avoiding these at all costs is as important as infusing our gut with healthy microbes.

The regulators of gut microbiome: probiotics and prebiotics
An approach to regulate the community of gut microorganisms is by introducing beneficial bacteria that enhance our immune response. We refer to these bacteria as probiotics.

Clinically, the influence of probiotics on the immune response has been well established and consumers are now warming up to this wellness solution.  Probiotics are either taken directly via foods like yogurt or as supplements to our regular diet. Probiotics or the beneficial microbes that actually give us that strong immune system can also be found in common food items like milk, fermented foods and curd etc. 

An alternate and upcoming approach to better immunity is the inclusion of ingredients that can increase the abundance of beneficial bacteria in the body, thus positively impacting immune response. These are prebiotics. 

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The best sources of prebiotics are fruits and vegetables. Therefore, maintaining a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables is the first essential step towards building a strong gut and better immunity.  

The way forward?
A healthy diet is important, but you can also reap the benefits of pre- and probiotics with the help of supplements that can help you build a better gut

Stepping out into the open may be our first step towards returning to normalcy but let us not forget that it is also essential that we do it in the smartest way possible.  Since prevention is better than cure, we are far better off building a strong immune system and the best to do that is start from the gut.

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Dr Gautam Banerjee Dr Gautam Banerjee

Dr Gautam Banerjee is the Head of Innovation, Nutritional Sciences at the Innovation Centre of Tata Chemicals Ltd.