EAT YOUR VEGGIES: Plant-based foods could cut the risk of COVID

Vegetarians are 73% less likely to suffer severe COVID symptoms, according to study

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In 2020, plant-based foods became the must-try option.

In a post-pandemic world, health and wellness became a priority, and with more people at home, new dishes were to be had.

In a twist, the plant-based trend could also be the very thing that could scare the COVID away — the severity of symptoms, at least.

Researchers have found a correlation between diet and COVID-19, showing plant-based eaters were 73% less likely to come down with the virus compared to those who include animals in their diet.

Nearly 3,000 frontline healthcare workers from six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK and USA) who had substantial exposure to COVID-19 patients between July 17 and Sept. 25, 2020 took part in the online survey.

It was the details from the self-reported diets that proved interesting.

Of the 2,884 individuals who took part in the study published in the British Medical Journal, those who reported following plant-based or pescatarian diets high in vegetables, legumes and nuts (and lower in poultry, and red and processed meats) had lower odds of having moderate-to-severe COVID-19.

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Vegetarians are 73% less likely to be hit hard by COVID, while pescatarians (plant-based and fish) are 59% less likely to experience moderate-to-severe symptoms.

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Other dietary categories included in the survey were: whole food diet, Keto diet, Mediterranean diet, Paleolithic diet, low-fat diet, low-carbohydrate diet and high-protein diet, all of which include red and white meats.

The other dietary options were: ,plant-based/vegan diet, vegetarian diet, and pescatarian diet, which omit red and white meats. “Other” was also an option.

There were 568 COVID cases in the bunch; 41 of those stated they were following a plant-based diet, while another 46 were pescatarian. The remaining 481 had all been on diets which included the consumption of livestock and/or poultry.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended early on that we pump up our immune systems during the pandemic, and suggested we eat fresh, unprocessed foods. If you’ve been considering switching to a more plant-based regime for a while, this might be the time.

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