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17.10.2021


A healthier diet, less covid

The more vegetables, fruit and other high-quality plant-based foods in your diet, the lower your risk of covid.

Study
The researchers, who are affiliated with Harvard Medical School, analyzed data from just under 600,000 Britons and Americans who participated in the COVID-19 Symptom Study.

In the COVID-19 Symptom Study, the researchers followed the study participants in the first year of the corona catastrophe. They tracked whether the study participants got covid via an app, and then determined the relationship with the quality of the study participants' diets. The researchers used the healthful Plant-Based Diet Index [hPDI] for this.

A diet that scores high on the hPDI contains relatively many vegetables, fruit, coffee, tea and whole carbohydrates, but relatively few added sugars and other 'empty' carbohydrates.


A healthier diet, less covid


Results
The researchers found 32,000 covid cases.

A healthy diet reduced the risk of covid. The probability in the 25 percent of study participants [the quartile] with the highest scores was 8 percent lower than the probability in the 25 percent of study participants with the lowest scores.

The effect was stronger on the severe covid symptoms. The quartile with the highest scores was 41 percent less likely to have severe covid symptoms than the quartile with the lowest scores.


A healthier diet, less covid


A healthier diet, less covid


A high income and a good education also protected against covid, and people with a high socio-economic status were also more likely to have a diet with a high healthful Plant-Based Diet Index. In the figure above, the researchers have separated the effect of social status and dietary pattern. And tada - a healthy diet appears to protect in all social strata.

Click on the figure above for a larger version.

Conclusion
"Our study suggests that efforts to address disparities in covid-19 risk and severity should consider specific attention to improve nutrition as a social determinants of health", the Harvardians write.

Source:
Gut. 2021 Nov;70(11):2096-104.

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