By Laura Kemp • 08 June 2021 • 16:43
Image by Sean Hayes from Pixabay
A STUDY suggests that a vegan or pescatarian diet may reduce the severity of Covid. Those who follow a plant-based diet and people who eat fish but not meat appear to have a less severe reaction to the virus compared with others, according to Yahoo news.
It appears that high-protein and low-carbohydrate diets could be linked to experiencing more moderate to severe effects, however, the findings were not statistically significant.
BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health studied data taken from a web-based survey from healthcare workers across six countries, including the UK, about participants’ diets and whether they had contracted Covid.
Over 1,300 did not have the virus and 568 did. Amongst those who had Covid, 138 patients suffered moderate to severe symptoms, while 430 had mild or very mild symptoms.
Participants were asked to think about the diet they had during the year before Covid and were given had 11 choices including whole foods, plant-based diet; keto diet; vegetarian diet; Mediterranean diet; pescatarian diet; Palaeolithic diet; low-fat diet; low carbohydrate diet; high protein diet; other; none of the above.
Out of the 586 participants who had reported that they had contracted the virus previously, 41 said they followed a plant-based diet, while 46 reported that they followed a plant-based or pescatarian diet.
It was estimated that those who reported that they had followed a plant-based diet were 73 per cent less likely to suffer severe symptoms compared to those that did not follow one.
Pescatarians had a 59 per cent lower chance than people who followed other diets.
In comparison with participants that followed plant-based diets, those with low-carb, high-protein diets were more likely to have moderate to severe symptoms.
The authors, led by a team in the US, wrote: “In six countries, plant-based diets or pescatarian diets were associated with lower odds of moderate-to-severe Covid-19.
“These dietary patterns may be considered for protection against severe Covid-19.
“Plant-based diets or pescatarian diets are healthy dietary patterns, which may be considered for protection against severe Covid-19
A professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Reading, Gunter Kuhnle, said: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a lot of speculation about the impact of diet on disease risk.
“This study attempts to answer this question, but there are a number of limitations that need to be considered: The study relied entirely on self-reporting, and a lot of data have shown that self-reported dietary intake is unreliable.
“In this study, participants were asked about their diet after they were diagnosed with Covid-19, and this might lead to further misreporting, especially among participants who are interested in a potential link between diet and disease.
“Finally, the study has been conducted in different countries with widely different diets – a plant-based diet in Spain or Italy is likely to be different from a mainly plant-based diet in Germany or the UK.”
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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