A vegan diet reduces severe COVID-19 symptoms by up to 73 percent, new study results
People following a plant-based diet have a 73 percent lower risk of having moderate to severe COVID-19 symptoms, according to a new study study published by a scientific journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health. The study involved 2,884 frontline healthcare workers from six countries – including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States – of whom 568 were infected with COVID-19. The aim of the study was to examine the association between dietary patterns and COVID-19, including the severity of symptoms and the duration of the illness.
Between July and September 2020, participants provided information on demographics, medical history, lifestyle, and COVID-19 symptoms, as well as a 47-point questionnaire on food frequency. Participants had 11 choices: whole foods, plant-based diets; Keto diet; vegetarian diet; Mediterranean cuisine; Pescatarian diet; Paleolithic Diet; Low-fat diet; low carbohydrate diet; high protein diet; other; or none of the above.
Of the 568 cases, 138 people had moderate to severe COVID-19 severity and 430 people had very mild to mild COVID-19 severity. Participants who said they followed a plant-based diet, including a vegetarian diet, were 73 percent less likely to experience moderate to severe symptoms, and those who said they followed a Pescatarian diet were 59 percent less likely than those who did did not follow these diets. Compared to participants who said they followed a plant-based diet, those who said they followed a low-carb, high-protein diet like keto or paleo, which are typically high in animal protein, were almost four times more likely to have a moderate-to-heavy diet Form of COVID-19.
Among the COVID-19 cases, people who reported following a plant-based diet consumed more vegetables, fruits, and plant proteins such as legumes and nuts. The study authors stated that these foods provide important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support the immune system and reduce the risk of respiratory infections. “In six countries, a plant-based diet or a Pescatarian diet was associated with a lower chance of moderate to severe COVID-19. These dietary patterns can be considered as protection against severe COVID-19, ”the study concluded.
Plant-based nutrition supports the immune function
Although health workers and others are currently or may have been vaccinated in many countries, it is important to consider the emergence of new varieties and challenges in global access to COVID-10 vaccines when developing supportive strategies to protect workers now and then help in the future.