A vegetarian or pescatarian diet reduces the risk of developing severe Covid-19 compared to people who eat meat, according to a new study.
A vegetarian, plant-based diet reduces the risk of moderate to severe Covid-19 by up to 73 percent and a fish-based Pescatarian diet reduces the risk by 59 percent.
Previous studies have shown a link between diet and the severity and duration of Covid-19 infection, which the team wanted to investigate more closely.
Based on a survey of 2,884 frontline doctors and nurses exposed to the virus between July and September 2020, the team at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland looked at the diet and severity of Covid-19.
The survey asked about diet, medical history and cases of Covid-19 and showed the remarkable link between avoiding meat and reducing the risk of a serious coronavirus.
Since this was a self-reported observational study, they couldn’t say why this was the case, but suspected it could be due to increased vitamins, nutrients, and minerals in a plant-based diet, which are essential for a healthy immune system.
A vegetarian or pescatarian diet reduces the risk of developing severe Covid-19 compared to people who eat meat, according to a new study. Image from a picture agency
VEGETARIAN DIETS CAN LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL
Herbal diets really do lower cholesterol, according to a review of nearly 50 studies.
Vegetarians generally eat more vegetables, fruits, and nuts, which means they get less saturated fat, researchers found.
These foods are naturally high in ingredients like soluble fiber, soy protein, and plant sterols (a cholesterol found in plants), all of which lower cholesterol levels.
Dr. A study led by Yoko Yokoyama of Keio University in Fujisawa found that vegetarians had 29.2 milligrams less total cholesterol per deciliter (one tenth of a liter) than meat eaters.
The volunteers taking part in the survey were exposed to extensive exposure to SARS-CO-v2, the virus responsible for Covid-19 infection, throughout the pandemic.
You worked in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US last summer and were all part of the Survey Healthcare Globus research network.
Researchers used this network to identify healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses, who are at high risk of COVID-19 infection because of their work.
The survey also gathered information about personal background, medical history, medication use, and lifestyle.
They looked at three diets: a plant-based diet that was higher in vegetables than meat, a Pescatarian diet that was high in vegetables and fish, and a low-carb diet high in protein.
Of the volunteers taking part in the survey, 568 said they had Covid-19 symptoms or no symptoms but had a positive swab test for the infection, and another 2,316 said they had no symptoms or tested positive.
Of the 568 cases, 138 clinicians reported having moderate to severe Covid-19 infection and the remaining 430 reported having very mild to mild infection.
The team then considered several predictors, including age, ethnicity, medical specialty, and lifestyle factors such as smoking and physical activity
They found that those who took the survey who ate a plant-based or fish-based diet had significantly lower chances than meat eaters of developing a severe strain of Covid.
In comparison, those on a low-carb, high-protein diet were four times more likely to develop moderate to severe infection than herbivores.
This means that a plant-based, vegetarian diet increases your chances of avoiding a heavy dose of Covid-19 if you do become infected, they found.
These associations were true if weight (BMI) and existing diseases were also taken into account.
A vegetarian, plant-based diet reduces the risk of moderate to severe Covid-19 by up to 73 percent and a fish-based Pescatarian diet reduces the risk by 59 percent. Image from a picture agency
However, no association was observed between any type of diet and the risk of Covid-19 infection or the duration of the complications.
There were a number of issues with the study, the team explained, including the fact that the men outnumbered them, so the results may not apply to women.
This was also an observational study and therefore cannot determine a cause, only a correlation.
It also relied on individual memories rather than objective assessments, and the definition of certain dietary patterns can vary from country to country, the researchers point out.
“Our results suggest that a healthy diet high in nutrient-rich foods can be considered as protection against severe COVID-19,” they conclude.
Previous studies have shown a link between diet and the severity and duration of Covid-19 infection, which the team wanted to investigate more closely. Image from a picture agency
“The trends in this study are limited by study size, so caution should be exercised in interpreting the results,” said NNEdPro Nutrition and COVID-19 Task Force Vice Chairman Shane McAuliffe.
“However, a good quality diet is important in order to build up an adequate immune response, which in turn can influence susceptibility to infections and their severity.”
He adds, “This study underscores the need for better-designed prospective studies on the relationship between diet, nutritional status and COVID-19 outcomes.”
The results were published in the BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health Journal.
What should a balanced diet look like?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 servings of different types of fruit and vegetables every day. Count all fresh, frozen, dried, and canned fruits and vegetables
• Basic meals based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber per day: This corresponds to the consumption of everything: 5 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2 wholemeal cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and a large baked potato with the skin on
• Consume some dairy products or milk alternatives (such as soy drinks)
• Eat beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat, and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which should be oily)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume them in small amounts
• Drink 6-8 cups / glasses of water daily
• Adults should consume less than 6 g salt and 20 g saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide