As the world pandemic of Covid-19 continues, more and more have gotten the virus. Our loved ones might have gotten it, and unfortunately, some died because of it. More and more people now care not only about getting Covid-19 but how to lower the severity of the symptoms. Oxygen tanks are in crisis now, making more people scared if they have difficulty breathing or have low oxygen saturation.
But it’s pretty interesting how the human body varies from person to person. Some with Covid-19 might experience fever, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, headaches, the new loss of taste or smell, (1) while others are asymptomatic. People are wondering, can diet affect the severity of Covid-19 symptoms?
However, it has to be clear, getting COVID-19 and lowering the severity of COVID-19 symptoms are two different things because a super healthy individual with a healthy lifestyle can still Covid-19 if he doesn’t wear a mask in front of Covid-19 patients.
Diet and the severity of Covid-19
A study came out in 2020 that is published in BMJ journal looking into “frontline physicians and nurses in six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, USA) evaluating nutritional factors with the risk of COVID-19 infection, severity, and duration.” (2) Frontline physicians and nurses are those who have a high frequency in meeting Covid-19 exposure. The survey was done from July 17 to September 25, 2020.
They found that those who follow a high protein and low carbohydrate diet had more severe symptoms than those who follow a plant-based diet. Those who follow a plant-based diet had a more significant intake of fruits, legumes, and nuts than those who did not follow a plant-based diet. The study also noted that those who follow pescetarian diets have a lower severity from Covid-19. (3)
There could be several reasons why a diet high in plant-based food can lower the risk of the severity of Covid-19. First, the phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals in a plant-based diet that improve our immune system. Secondly, the fiber significantly enhances our gut microbiome. And since a plant-based diet also shows that it helps lower the risk of your BMI, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, it might also help make Covid-19 symptoms or severity lower.
So by trying to adopt a whole food plant-based diet might help you lower the severity of covid 19 after all. But most importantly, the pandemic has awakened us to the importance of taking care of our health. And avoiding eating animal-based meat might also help us prevent future pandemics since the scientific evidence shows that Covid-19 is a zoonotic disease.