Several New Studies Show Another Benefit of a Plant-Based Diet
A plant-based diet “represents the most cost-effective approach and should be largely promoted and incorporated in everyday practice…This is a booster that is needed at this unprecedented time and that may actually work to mitigate COVID-19.” –European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
A team from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, examined the connection between diet and Covid-19 severity and illness duration. In a survey of 2884 front-line doctors and nurses from six countries between July and September 2020, participants provided information regarding their demographics, medical history, lifestyle, Covid-19 symptoms and a detailed food questionnaire. The study was published by the scientific journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.
Of the 2884 medical professionals who participated in the survey from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, 568 reported having Covid. Of these 138 had moderate-to-severe symptoms and 430 have very mild-to-mild severity.
Participants who followed plant-based diets had 73 percent lower odds of moderate-to-severe symptoms.
Those who followed low-carb, high protein diets, such as those high in animal-based protein were almost four times more likely to have moderate-to-severe Covid-19 symptoms.
The authors of the study explained that those who followed plant-based diets and consumed more vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts had a greater supply of important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support the immune system and lower the risk of respiratory infections.
The study concluded that plant-based diets “may be considered for protection against severe Covid-19.”
Another study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in the journal Gut examined the benefits of diet regarding Covid-19. The study followed 592,571 participants in the US and the UK from March 2020 to December 2020. The conclusion of this study was that people whose diets were based on a healthy plant-based foods were less likely to get Covid and had a lower risk of severity if it were contracted.
And in a more recent paper, as the Omicron variant continues to cause a record number of infections, a new commentary in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition is calling for people to adopt a plant-based diet, which research shows can help reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 and mortality.
Podcast: What these studies mean for you
Listen to what Dr. Neil Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has to say about these studies in his podcast Plant-Based Diet and COVID-19: What Science Shows
For further information, read more below:
- BMJ Journals–BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health: Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case–control study in six countries
- BMJ Journals–GUT: Diet quality and risk and severity of COVID-19: a prospective cohort study
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Can a plant-based diet help mitigate Covid-19?
News articles on the studies
- VegNews.com: A Vegan Diet Reduces Severe Covid-19 Symptoms Up To 73 Percent, Study Finds
- NY Post: Plant-based eaters are less likely to get severe COVID: study says
- MSN: Vegetarians are up to 73% less likely to develop severe Covid-19
- PCRM.com: As Omicron Variant Surges, Plant-Based Diet Is ‘Booster’ for Fighting Severe COVID-19, Say Doctors in New Commentary