Plant-Based Diets May Shield Against COVID-19 Risk

Plant-Based Diets May Shield Against COVID-19 Risk – A recent study published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health suggests that people who embrace plant-based diets may be up to 41% less likely to contract COVID-19 compared to those who follow omnivorous diets. This finding adds to a growing body of evidence exploring the link between diet and COVID-19 susceptibility.

COVID-19 continues to impact lives globally, with devastating consequences. While vaccines and social distancing measures have helped curb the spread, novel variants pose the threat of resurgence.

Modifiable behaviors like diet could offer additional tools in the fight against the virus.
Studying the links between food choices and COVID-19 outcomes could empower individuals and healthcare professionals to make informed decisions.

ALSO READ: 10 plant based foods with all essential amino acids (Complete proteins)

Study Highlights:

  • Researchers compared 424 omnivores and 278 plant-based eaters in Brazil.
  • Plant-based eaters, including vegetarians, vegans, and flexitarians, exhibited: Lower body mass index (BMI), reduced risk of overweight and obesity, less prevalence of chronic diseases, significantly lower COVID-19 infection rate (39-41% lower risk) and Notably, diet didn’t appear to influence disease severity once infected.

Some examples of nutrient-dense plant-based foods

There are many nutrient-dense plant-based foods that can be included in a healthy diet. Some examples include:

  • Brassicas, including cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli, which are high in minerals and vitamins.
  • Avocado, which is a good source of fiber, monounsaturated fats, and other nutrients.
  • Beans, such as kidney, pinto, and black beans, which offer fiber and other nutrients, and are a good source of plant-based protein.
  • Soymilk, which is low in calories and high in nutrients, including protein, calcium, and vitamin D.
  • Nutritional yeast, which is packed with protein and minerals like iron.
  • Oats, which are affordable and a good source of nutrients like manganese, phosphorus, and iron.
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables like kale, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and potentially cancer-fighting compounds.
  • Nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, cashews, flax seeds, and chia seeds, which are high in protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients.
  • Whole grains, such as quinoa and brown rice, which are a good source of fiber and other nutrients.
  • Fruits and vegetables, such as berries, citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, and beets, which are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Including a variety of these nutrient-dense plant-based foods in your diet can help ensure that you are getting the nutrients your body needs.

Study Implications

Public health impact: Plant-based diets may offer a protective effect against COVID-19 infection, potentially reducing the spread of the virus and lowering the burden on healthcare systems. Public health messaging could encourage plant-based options as part of a comprehensive COVID-19 prevention strategy.

Individual health benefits: Plant-based diets are often associated with lower body mass index (BMI), reduced risk of obesity, and lower prevalence of chronic diseases, which may contribute to overall better health and potentially reduce susceptibility to various infections, including COVID-19. Individuals can consider adopting a plant-based diet for both COVID-19 prevention and overall well-being.

Need for further research: While this study suggests a potential link between plant-based diets and reduced COVID-19 risk, more research is needed to confirm these findings. Future studies should investigate the mechanisms behind this potential association and explore the long-term effects of plant-based diets on COVID-19 outcomes.

Ethical considerations: Promoting plant-based diets should be done in a culturally sensitive and inclusive manner, respecting individual dietary choices and preferences. Access to affordable and nutritious plant-based foods should be ensured to avoid exacerbating existing health disparities.

In conclusion: Although preliminary, this study highlights the potential benefits of plant-based diets in the context of COVID-19 prevention and overall health. Further research and public health efforts are needed to solidify these findings and translate them into actionable strategies for promoting individual and community well-being. Study source 

ALSO READ: Is corn good for your digestive system?

Last Updated on January 12, 2024 by shalw

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