Following a vegan diet could help slash the severity of COVID-19, according to a new major study.
Research published in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health journal investigated the link between the disease and different dietary patterns.
Severity of COVID-19
It tracked 2,884 healthcare workers (HCWs) from six countries with ‘substantial exposure’ to COVID-19.
Participants were asked to complete an online survey spanning over two months – providing information on demographic characteristics, dietary information, and COVID-19 outcomes.
Out of 568 positive cases – 138 respondents reported ‘moderate-to-severe COVID-19 severity’; 30 individuals had ‘very mild to mild COVID-19 severity’.
After ‘adjusting for important confounders’ – participants following plant-based diets and ‘plant-based diets or pescatarian diets’ had 73 percent and 59 percent lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 severity, respectively.
However, those following ‘low carbohydrate, high protein diets’ had greater odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19.
No association was found between self-reported diets and COVID-19 infection or duration.
Can vegan diets fight COVID-19?
While this is said to be the first official study connecting COVID-19 severity with diet – experts have pushed plant-based eating since the start of the pandemic.
Vegan charity Viva! says conditions such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and cancer ‘are the main underlying causes making COVID-19 more likely to result in severe, life-threatening disease’.
It says a plant-based diet can help people lose weight, reverse diabetes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol – overall reducing the risk of a severe COVID-19 case.
Renowned medic Dr. Greger has also made a similar point. In an online video, he said: “One of the reasons why the U.S now has the highest number of deaths compared to any other country in the world is because of pre-existing conditions.
“Obesity, T2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension… Every single one of them can not just be prevented and stopped but reversed with a healthy enough plant-based diet.
“Obesity is increasing the risk of a severe course of COVID-19 by six-seven times. That’s for a BMI over 28. That’s not even obese, that’s just overweight.”
*This article was updated on June 9 to correct the number of participants to 2,884. It previously stated ‘more than 2,300’.