Plant-based diets are linked to less severe illness from COVID-19, according to a study published in the 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