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The Surprising Effect Yogurt Has on Your Immune System, Says Science

A new study has found that yogurt restores the body's balance to help fight COVID-19.

We think there's a lot to love about yogurt, from the calcium, probiotics, and high protein to the sheer ease of grabbing a scoop when you need something healthy, filling, and fast. One ongoing concern about dairy yogurt is that like some other products made from animal milk, it had been thought to cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to some infections, diseases, and disorders. Now, a study out of Israel has discovered that the probiotics in yogurt products may actually reduce inflammation to make the immune system stronger—including against COVID-19.

There are certainly plenty of people who are sensitive to dairy or who have to avoid it entirely. For others, who can eat and enjoy it, there's been some debate in parts of the medical community in recent years. Some professionals have followed the debate in some literature about whether consuming dairy can lead to a wide range of ails that include arthritis to depression, and even acne and more.

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While there are studies that have found reason in some of this, it's no good for those who look to a food like yogurt for its role as a healthy, reliable diet staple. For that audience, now there's exciting news: two researchers who conducted a university study in Israel have found that molecules from the probiotics in kefir (a liquid drink that's very similar to yogurt) significantly reduced the contagion level of the agent that causes cholera.

In a follow-up study, the scientists found that the same molecules also acted as an anti-inflammatory force against some viral disease models. This included the "cytokine storm," which is the immune response that has been discovered as a leading cause of death in COVID-19 patients. "Our research illuminates for the first time a mechanism by which milk fermented probiotics can protect against pathogenic infections and aid the immune system," said Professor Raz Jelinek, the Vice President of Research and Development at Ben Gurion University at the Negev.

This is likely to lead to more research for greater understanding… but in the meantime, this study's findings could be one more reason to grab a spoon. If you use yogurt in some of the ways we do, then you love your smoothies. Be sure to check out the unhealthiest way to make one. Sign up for the Eat This, Not That! newsletter for the nutrition news you need.

Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more about Krissy
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