- BMJ Nutrition Prevention and Health suggests a 39% lower risk of Covid-19 among plant-based and vegetarian diets.
- Plant-based diets may positively impact immune function, reducing infections. Further investigation is warranted.
New research, published in BMJ Nutrition Prevention and Health, reveals that individuals following plant-based and vegetarian diets may have a 39% lower risk of contracting Covid-19 compared to meat-eaters. The study, led by Professor Julio Cesar Acosta-Navarro from Sao Paulo University, involved 702 volunteers and emphasized the influence of dietary habits on infectious disease incidence.
Impact on Infection Rates
Among participants, 47% reported having had a Covid-19 infection. Notably, omnivores had a higher incidence (52%) compared to those with plant-based diets (40%). After adjusting for various factors, individuals with predominantly plant-based or vegetarian/vegan diets were found to be 39% less likely to become infected, underlining the potential protective role of such diets against Covid-19.
Link Between Diet and Immune System
The study suggests that plant-based diets, rich in antioxidants, phytosterols, and polyphenols, positively affect immune function and exhibit direct antiviral properties. Professor Acosta-Navarro notes that plant-based eaters are generally at a reduced risk of chronic diseases, which are also risk factors for Covid-19. While acknowledging the findings, Shane McAuliffe from NNEdPro Global Institute emphasizes the need for further high-quality investigation in this area.
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Source: The National News