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How can COVID-19 damage your gut? 5 ways to keep your stomach healthy

Here are some ways COVID-19 may impact your gut and tips to maintain stomach health.

How can COVID-19 damage your gut? 5 ways to keep your stomach healthy RKK EAI
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First Published Jan 24, 2024, 7:30 AM IST

COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory system, but there is emerging evidence suggesting that it may also impact the gastrointestinal tract. The virus can potentially cause gastrointestinal symptoms and affect the health of your gut. Here are some ways COVID-19 may impact your gut and tips to maintain stomach health.

Ways COVID-19 may affect your gut

Gastrointestinal symptoms

COVID-19 patients may experience symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. These symptoms can directly impact the gastrointestinal tract.

Viral replication in the gut

Studies have shown that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, can replicate in the gastrointestinal system, potentially leading to gut inflammation.

Altered gut microbiota

Illness, medications, and stress associated with COVID-19 may alter the balance of gut microbiota. Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is crucial for overall digestive health.

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Increased inflammation

COVID-19 can trigger an inflammatory response in the body, and this inflammation may affect the gastrointestinal tract, leading to conditions like gastritis or enteritis.

Impact on nutrient absorption

Severe cases of COVID-19, especially those requiring intensive care, may lead to malabsorption of nutrients in the gut. This can affect overall nutritional status.

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Tips to keep your stomach healthy

Maintain a balanced diet

Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to support overall digestive health.

Stay hydrated

Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to support digestion and prevent dehydration, especially if experiencing diarrhea.

Probiotics

Incorporate probiotic-rich foods like yogurt or take probiotic supplements to promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria.

Manage stress

Practice stress-reducing activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga. Stress can negatively impact gut health.

Follow COVID-19 guidelines

Adhere to public health guidelines to prevent COVID-19 infection. This includes practicing good hygiene, wearing masks, and getting vaccinated.

It's important to note that individual responses to COVID-19 can vary, and some people may not experience gastrointestinal symptoms. If you have concerns about your gut health or experience persistent symptoms, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

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