A vegan diet might lower the risk of COVID-19

A vegan diet might lower the risk of COVID-19

Proponents of a vegan diet point to its numerous health benefits. It promotes weight loss, improves heart health, is beneficial to gut health and might reduce the risk of some cancers.

Now, vegans have something else to brag about. They appear to have a lower risk of contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Brazilian researchers say a predominantly plant-based diet might reduce the risk by as much as 39%.

Scientists set out to examine the interplay between diet and the incidence, severity and duration of COVID-19. They recruited about 700 people in the spring and summer of 2022, separating them into two groups: omnivores and those on a plant-based diet.

Participants were asked about their eating patterns, medical history and coronavirus vaccination status. The age and sex of group members were similar across groups. Scientists noticed, however, that the plant eaters were more likely to be highly educated. The meat-eaters tended to be heavier.

The study found that vegans had a significantly lower incidence of COVID-19 and that omnivores tended to get sicker when infected. No change in the duration of symptoms was noted.

Researchers say a plant-based diet can positively influence the health of immune cells that play a role in the body’s ability to fight infection.

So, it’s not surprising that investigators recommend a vegan diet. Even so, they say more research must be done to determine how diet impacts COVID.

Still, it’s hard to go wrong with a vegetarian diet while waiting for scientists’ final word. It’d be a different story, of course, if greasy hamburgers were found to protect us from the disease.

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