COVID-19 and Immunity: Fermented foods to boost your defence mechanism

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The onslaught of global COVID-19 pandemic has made one thing clear: Immunity is the most crucial weapon against this contagious condition. That is why scientists all over the world are racing against time to find a vaccine against the COVID-19 infection. In fact, experts and governments are also turning to Ayurveda to rev up the overall immune system in order to reduce your risk of this condition. While vaccines and certain schools of medicine can improve our body’s defence mechanism, there are certain foods that will help us do the same. Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables are the most touted immune-boosting foods. However, there are other food groups too that enhance the performance of your immune cells. Fermented foods are examples of one such group. Also Read – This new test can diagnose COVID-19 in just 20 minutes

What exactly are fermented foods?

A food becomes fermented when bacteria, yeast or other living microorganisms break down its sugar and turn it into alcohol and acid. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and some kinds of cheese are examples of fermented foods which are loaded with lactic acid bacteria and other living microorganisms. Research suggests that they benefit our health in more ways than one. Improving our digestive system, boosting weight loss and revving up the immune mechanism are some of the health perks these bacteria and microorganisms are associated with. Also Read – Back to school: How to help kids get used to wearing masks

How do fermented foods boost immunity?

According to the findings of researchers at the University of Leipzig in Germany, lactic acid bacteria found in fermented foods generate an acid in the digestive tract. This acid binds well with the proteins found in immune cells, known as HCA3 receptors. This whole process, researchers observe, boost the capacity of our immune system. Scientific evidences also suggest that some fermented foods reduce your risk of catching an infection, thanks to the high volume of vitamin C they have. Sauerkraut and kimchi are such examples. Apart from revving up your body’s immune mechanism, fermented foods increase your ability to absorb nutrients while enhancing them altogether. Also Read – COVID-19: Know how to check if you have the right face mask

Top 5 fermented foods to try

Fermented foods are loaded with good, gut-friendly bacteria known as probiotics that you shouldn’t miss out on. Here, we shed light on a few of them.

Sauerkraut: It is made by fermenting cabbage and salt. It’s best to make your own instead of opting for the store-bought version. Apart from giving you your required dose of probiotics, sauerkraut boosts your gut health in another way. It comes with high fibre content.

Kimchi: This a close cousin of sauerkraut. Made from cabbage again, kimchi is a more spicy version. You can use it as a topping on your tacos and burgers.

Kefir: This is a milk-based drink tasting more like yogurt. It is the result of healthy bacteria breaking down its lactose. It is loaded with an essential micronutrient: Calcium. You can have it in your smoothies.

Tempeh: Quite similar to tofu, tempeh is produced when soybeans are naturally fermented. Its texture is firm and the flavour is slightly on the nutty side. Loaded with amino acids, tempeh is a good source of plant-based protein.

Yogurt: This is made from fermented milk. The probiotics in yogurt not only increase the count healthy bacteria in your gut flora but also help in digestion.

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