Plant-Based Diets Linked to Less Severe Illness from COVID-19
Plant-based diets are linked to less severe illness from COVID-19, according to a study published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health. Researchers surveyed health care workers with high exposure to COVID-19 patients across six countries on their dietary habits and COVID-19 outcomes. Participants who followed plant-based diets had a 73% lower chance of moderate to severe COVID-19 illness, whereas those who followed low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets were 48% more likely to have moderate to severe COVID-19 illness. Those who followed plant-based diets had higher intakes of legumes, nuts, and vegetables rich in fiber and vitamins A, C, and E that support the immune system and overall health. The authors recommend a plant-based diet that avoids pro-inflammatory foods such as red and processed meat associated with negative health outcomes to help protect against severe COVID-19.
Kim H, Rebholz CM, Hegde S, et al. Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case–control study in six countries. BMJ Nutr Prev Health. Published online June 7, 2021. doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2021-000272
During COVID-19, a Plant-Based Diet Helped Hospital Workers Stay Healthy
During COVID-19, a plant-based diet helped hospital workers stay healthy, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. Physicians Committee researchers randomized health care workers at a Washington, D.C., hospital into a control group or a group instructed to follow a vegan diet for 12 weeks and tracked weight and cholesterol. Those who followed a vegan diet lowered their body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar when compared to those in the control group. These participants also increased their quality of life amid the workplace stresses of the pandemic. Improvements in these outcomes, linked to reduced severity and morality of COVID-19, help ensure health care workers remain healthy to better serve patients.
Kahleova H, Berrien-Lopez R, Holtz D, et al. Nutrition for hospital workers during a crisis: effect of a plant-based dietary intervention on cardiometabolic outcomes and quality of life in healthcare employees during the Covid-19 pandemic. Am J Lifestyle Med. Published online November 5, 2021. doi: 10.1177/15598276211050339
“The smartphone-based COVID Symptom Study, including 592,571 participants, found that dietary patterns that were highest in fruits, vegetables, and plant-based foods in general were associated with a 41% lower risk of severe COVID-19 and a 9% reduction of COVID-19 infection of any severity, compared to diets lowest in these foods.”
Merino J, Joshi AD, Nguyen LH, et al. Diet quality and risk and severity of COVID-19: a prospective cohort study. medrxiv. Published online June 25, 2021. doi: 10.1101/2021.06.24.21259283v1
“That treatment should include information about healthful dietary habits, particularly a renewed emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, and plant-based diets.”
Plant-based diets for the protection against: