We are what we eat
There is growing evidence that our food choices play an important role in reducing the risk of COVID-19 severity and how long we have symptoms. What we eat affects our risk of disease linked to severe COVID-19 infection, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Poor food choices, like eating too much processed foods and drinking soda or other sugary drinks, can also suppress the immune system. This puts us at higher risk of getting infections.
More veggies, less junk food
Researchers compared food choices of almost 3,000 doctors, nurses and other health workers in Europe and the United States who were exposed to COVID-19. They found that people who followed certain diets had lower risk of bad symptoms from COVID-19. For example, people eating plant-based diets had 73% lower risk for severe COVID-19. Similarly, people following a pescatarian diet which includes lots of fish, seafood, vegetables, legumes and nuts and less poultry and red and processed meats had 59% lower risk of severe COVID-19. Those who followed a low carbohydrate, high protein diet had an increased risk of moderate to severe COVID-19 compared to those following a plant-based diet.
The findings apply to any body mass index, medical conditions, age or ethnicity. Most participants were male, so the results may not apply to women. These results suggest that changing our food choices to include more vegetables, legumes and nuts could help protect against future pandemics.