Vegans ‘much less likely to get severe Covid-19’ than meat eaters, study suggests


Written by the VF Team

October 10, 2021

According to the findings published in The BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health[1], which examined data from healthcare workers across six countries including the UK, vegans are 73 percent less likely to experience severe coronavirus symptoms while pescatarians were 59 percent less likely to become ill than those who eat red and white meat.

Participants were asked to complete an online survey spanning over two months – providing information on demographic characteristics, dietary information, and COVID-19 outcomes.

It tracked more than 2,300 healthcare workers from six countries with ‘substantial exposure’ to COVID-19.

Among those who had contracted Covid-19, 138 reported 'moderate to severe symptoms' while 430 said they had suffered only a 'mild or a very mild form of the illness'.

After ‘adjusting for important confounders’ – participants following plant-based diets and ‘plant-based diets or pescatarian diets’ had 73 percent and 59 percent lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 severity, respectively.

The study concluded: "These dietary patterns may be considered for protection against severe COVID-19".

The US has experienced more deaths from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) than any other country and has one of the highest cumulative per capita death rates - and part of this reason is likely due to the underlying diet - people were already suffering from a myriad of pre-existing health conditions which caused more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

COVID-19’s severity varies widely based on pre-existing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and heart disease – to name a few. Vegan diets can help to lessen (and sometimes reverse!) the effects of these diseases, supporting your immune system and helping you fight off threats, such as viruses.

Obesity, heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes—may all be controlled or even reversed with a healthy enough plant-based diet, setting you up to be much more resilient against the effects of viruses such as COVID-19.

With so many delicious options now available at restaurants and supermarkets, there's really never been a better time to adopt a plant-based diet.

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