Plant-Based And Fish Diet May Protect Against Severe COVID-1
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Consumption of plant-based and/or fish (pescatarian) diets may lower the risk of developing severe COVID-19 infection, reveals a recent. The findings indicate they were associated with 73% and 59% lower odds of moderate to severe disease respectively. The researchers drew on the survey responses of 2884 frontline doctors and nurses with extensive exposure to SARS-COV-2.

The online survey, which ran between July and September 2020, was designed to elicit detailed information about respondents' dietary patterns, based on a 47-item food frequency questionnaire, over the previous year, and the severity of any COVID-19 infections they had had, using objective criteria.

The survey also gathered information on personal background, medical history, medication use, and lifestyle. The various diets were combined into plant-based pescatarian/plant-based; and low carb-high protein diets. Some 568 respondents said they had had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection or no symptoms but a positive swab test for the infection; 2316 said they hadn't had any symptoms/tested positive.

Among the 568 cases, 138 clinicians said they had had moderate to severe COVID-19 infection; the remaining 430 said they had had very mild to mild COVID-19 infection. After factoring in several potentially influential variables, including age, ethnicity, medical specialty, and lifestyle, respondents who said they ate plant-based diets' or plant-based/pescatarian diets had, respectively, 73% and 59% lower odds of moderate to severe COVID-19 infection, compared with those who didn't have these dietary patterns.

And compared with those who said they ate a plant-based diet, those who said they ate a low carb-high protein diet had nearly 4 times the odds of moderate to severe COVID-19 infection. These associations held true when weight (BMI) and co-existing medical conditions were also factored in. But no association was observed between any type of diet and the risk of contracting COVID-19 infection or length of the subsequent illness.

Men outnumbered women in the study, so the findings may not be applicable to women, they add. But plant-based diets are rich in nutrients, especially phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, all of which are important for a healthy immune system, say the researchers. And fish is an important source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties, they add.

"Our results suggest that a healthy diet rich in nutrient-dense foods may be considered for protection against severe COVID-19," they conclude.

Source:
https://nutrition.bmj.com/content/early/2021/05/18/bmjnph-2021-000272
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