As the Omicron variant continues to cause a record number of infections, a new commentary in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition calls for people to adopt a plant-based diet, which research shows can reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 and mortality. Researchers with the Physicians Committee cited several studies showing the benefits of a plant-based diet for COVID-19. One study showed that a healthy plant-based diet was associated with a 9% lower risk of COVID-19 infection and a 41% lower risk of severe COVID-19. Another study found that health care workers following a plant-based diet who had substantial exposure to COVID-19 patients had a 73% lower risk of moderate-to-severe COVID-19. Okinawa, Japan, which has seen low COVID-19 mortality rates, serves as a real-world example of the benefits of consuming a mostly plant-based diet. The authors suggest clinicians and the public adopt plant-based diets to mitigate rising infection rates and improve overall health.
Drs. Kahleova and Barnard also recently published the results of a clinical research study conducted by the Physicians Committee that found a plant-based diet helped hospital workers in Washington, D.C., improve their health and quality of life during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kahleova H, Barnard ND. Can a plant-based diet help mitigate Covid-19? Eur J Clin Nutr. Published online January 21, 2022. doi:10.1038/s41430-022-01082-w