Plant-based diet can slash severity of COVID-19, finds major new study

 

Plant-Based Diet Can Slash Severity Of COVID-19, Finds Major New Study

 

Those following a plant-based diet had 73 percent lower odds of experiencing a 'moderate-to-severe' course of COVID-19 compared to meat-eaters

 

Following a plant-based diet could help decrease the severity of COVID-19, according to a new major study published in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health journal. The study investigated links between the disease and different dietary patterns.

What this paper adds to the research:


In 2884 front-line healthcare workers from six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, USA), individuals who reported following plant-based diets and plant-based diets or pescatarian diets that were higher in vegetables, legumes and nuts, and lower in poultry and red and processed meats, had 73% and 59% lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19, respectively.

Plant-based diets or pescatarian diets are healthy dietary patterns, which may be considered for protection against severe COVID-19.

 

Severity of COVID-19

 

Over 23,000 healthcare workers (HCWs) from six countries with ‘substantial exposure’ to COVID-19 were asked to complete an online survey spanning over two months – providing information on demographic characteristics, dietary information, and COVID-19 outcomes.

There were 568 positive cases in the group.  Of these, 138 respondents reported ‘moderate-to-severe COVID-19 severity’; 30 individuals had ‘very mild to mild COVID-19 severity’.

After adjusting for important confounders, it was discovered that the 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.

Original study:

Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case–control study in six countries

  1. Hyunju Kim 1,2
  2. Casey M Rebholz 1,2
  3. Sheila Hegde 3
  4. Christine LaFiura 4
  5. Madhunika Raghavan 4
  6. John F Lloyd 5
  7. Susan Cheng 5 and 
  8. Sara B Seidelmann 6,7
  9. Correspondence to Dr Sara B Seidelmann, Stamford Hospital, Greenwich, CT 06830, USA; smb88@caa.columbia.edu

Abstract

 

Background
Several studies have hypothesised that dietary habits may play an important role in COVID-19 infection, severity of symptoms, and duration of illness. However, no previous studies have investigated the association between dietary patterns and COVID-19.

 

Methods
Healthcare workers (HCWs) from six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, USA) with substantial exposure to COVID-19 patients completed a web-based survey from 17 July to 25 September 2020. Participants provided information on demographic characteristics, dietary information, and COVID-19 outcomes. We used multivariable logistic regression models to evaluate the association between self-reported diets and COVID-19 infection, severity, and duration.

 

Results
There were 568 COVID-19 cases and 2316 controls. Among the 568 cases, 138 individuals had moderate-to-severe COVID-19 severity whereas 430 individuals had very mild to mild COVID-19 severity. After adjusting for important confounders, participants who reported following ‘plant-based diets’ and ‘plant-based diets or pescatarian diets’ had 73% (OR 0.27, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.81) and 59% (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.99) lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 severity, respectively, compared with participants who did not follow these diets. Compared with participants who reported following ‘plant-based diets’, those who reported following ‘low carbohydrate, high protein diets’ had greater odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 (OR 3.86, 95% CI 1.13 to 13.24). No association was observed between self-reported diets and COVID-19 infection or duration.

 

Conclusion
In six countries, plant-based diets or pescatarian diets were associated with lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19. These dietary patterns may be considered for protection against severe COVID-19.

 

Reference:

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 Nutrition, Prevention & Health 2021;bmjnph-2021-000272. doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2021-000272

 

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