People consuming the highest quality plant-based diet were around 10% less likely to develop COVID-19 than those with a poor diet, and 40% less likely to become severely ill and needing a hospital.
Researchers from King’s College, London, Harvard Medical School, Harvard TH Chan, Lund University, Sweden and the Broad Institute amongst others co-ordinated a study on almost 600,000 people making the largest ever study on this subject. The finding? A gut friendly, high fibre, plant based diet reduces your risk of developing Covid and becoming seriously ill. This is the first study to find that Diet can prevent Covid.
It is already well-established that people developing Covid-19 were more likely to have established health problems such as metabolic syndrome – high blood pressure, low good fast levels, high blood sugar, weight issues and high triglycerides. The size of the research study meant that these type of variables could be ruled out, along with race, age and ethnicity. The effect of diet was independent of all these conditions but was amplified by social inequality.
Respondents completed an eating survey and the presence of Covid was determined by symptoms or a PCR test. 19 per cent of the respondents developed Covid-19.
Diets were assessed and given scores. Diets with the best scores were typical of a Rainbow Diet – containing healthier fats like olive oil and oily fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts and, importantly, less processed foods and refined carbohydrates.
High quality diet scores were also linked to a stronger and a more diverse gut microbiome, which in turn is known to be linked to a stronger immune system, lower inflammation and lower blood sugar, insulin, poor fats and BMI.
Put simply, if you eat these foods, you feed the bacteria that make anti-inflammatory molecules, reducing cytokines and boosting the immune response, also filling you so you eat less, reduce your glucose, insulin and poor cholesterol levels. You nourish your body. Is it so unexpected? While a recent study from Holland showed this conclusively, this is the first major study to show a high quality Rainbow Diet prevents Covid and reduces the severity of the disease.