This Food Supplement Can Help You Fight COVID, Study Finds
With more vaccines being dispensed and administered across the country, the days are finally in sight when things will feel normal again. Until then, there are a number of foods you can eat to boost your immunity, although there is nothing you can do to make yourself completely immune to COVID-19. We learn more about how what we eat can help our immune systems every day - and in particular, a growing body of research has shown that food components known as beta-glucans are useful for our bodies in fighting infections like COVID can be extremely helpful.
Beta-glucans are structural components found in a number of foods such as oats, barley, yeast, mushrooms, and seaweed. In a recent comprehensive review of food ingredients that could help the body fight COVID, researchers examined preliminary evidence to support the possible uses of beta-glucans to fight COVID in the future. The review is about a promising study of beta-glucans from shiitake mushrooms led by Dr. Emma J. Murphy of the Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland. "There are two main structures of beta-glucans: One type is found in grain sources that have been shown to have effects on lowering cholesterol and modulating the gut microbiome," says Dr. Murphy to Eat This, Not That! "The other type, found in fungi and yeasts, is known for its immunomodulatory activity. This means that it can interact with our immune systems."
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Beta-glucans can prepare our immune system to be attacked by invaders such as bacteria or viruses. They can also relax the immune response during inflammation, explains Dr. Murphy, which "is extremely important because hyperinflammation can be a bigger problem than the infection itself." In particular, the study found that beta-glucans reduced the inflammatory response associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is a type of lung damage that can be caused by a number of things, such as pneumonia and severe cases of COVID-19.
"The exact way that beta-glucans do this is not yet fully understood," says Dr. Murphy. "However, when we eat beta-glucans in foods like mushrooms, they are transported to Peyer's spots in our small intestine." From there, beta-glucans reach the immune system. Dr. Murphy points out that taking beta-glucans as part of our diet, for example through shiitake mushrooms or in extract form as a supplement, has the potential to strengthen our immune system.
Dr. Charis Galanakis, the lead author of the comprehensive review, said of Eat This, Not That! In an email not only following the promising research on beta-glucans, now you can also reduce your risk of COVID by making sure you are not vitamin D deficient.
Of course, even if you've consumed foods containing beta-glucans and vitamin D, you should practice the things that prevent you from getting and spreading COVID: wear a mask, social distancing, wash your hands, and avoid it Crowds.
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