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Research Suggests Plant-based Diets are Linked to a Lesser Chance of Covid-19 Complications

Meat-free diets may be associated with a less severe manifestation of the epidemic disease. ASN spoke with a physician who commented on the results.

Brazil | Felipe Lemos, with information from Agência O Globo

A survey that sought to investigate the association of different dietary regimens with the development of Covid-19 in the human body was recently published by the BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health Journal . The study found that people with vegetable-based diets have 73% lower chances of developing serious conditions when contracting Covid-19. Other data obtained in the survey showed that, among patients who adhere to a diet based on only fish and seafood, without meat from other animals, the probability of not having an aggravation of the disease reaches 53%.

Health professionals

The study was released based on responses from 2,884 infected doctors and nurses who work on the front lines against coronaviruses in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United States. Of this total, 568 cases with symptoms of the disease were analyzed, whether at a mild, very mild, moderate, severe, or very severe level.

The South American Adventist News Agency (ASN) decided to discuss the study with Cardiologist and Intensive Care Physician, Everton Padilha Gomes. Gomes holds a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from the University of São Paulo (USP), is a collaborating professor at the Faculty of Medicine of USP, and is the coordinator of a study that deals precisely with dietary regimens and quality of life. Gomes commented on the research in the interview below. 

The survey mainly took into account responses from health professionals in some countries, but can the same assumptions be made for all people who follow a plant-based diet?

Certainly. The interesting thing about the research carried out is that we have a group of people in the health field, that is, people who know what to do from the point of view of hygiene to avoid Covid-19 (use of masks, hand washing, use of alcohol in gel). Thus, misinformation about preventive aspects would not be the problem. In addition, they are more exposed to Coronavirus because they are on the frontline dealing with infected patients. What proves to remain important are lifestyle habits, something that can be reproduced by anyone - regardless of age, gender, or profession.

Due to your familiarity and experience with research related to diets without meat intake, what can effectively favor the reduction in serious cases of diseases such as Covid-19,for those who adopt a plant-based diet?

What we know is a factor that greatly influences the evolution to severe cases of a coronavirus infection is when the person has risk factors for inflammation (obesity, diabetes, hypertension). Several studies demonstrate that the constant use and high amounts of meat foods increase the body's predisposition to maintain an inflammatory state, which is associated with several cardiovascular diseases, and even the appearance of tumors. An organism that is constantly attacked by inflammatory factors is more likely to evolve into a more severe condition of Covid-19, and this is what the study presented here demonstrates.

What is your advice regarding the general adoption of healthy habits and an immunological preparation to face illnesses? 

Our body is like a house. You need to keep it tidy. In this case, with the adoption of healthy habits such as the eight natural remedies that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has advocated for over 160 years (water, clean air, sunlight, rest, exercise, proper nutrition, balance, trust in divine power), the disease it may come, but the chance of evolution to something more serious is smaller. It is important to note that healthy habits are especially preventive. It is essential that this be included in life as a new way of looking at the care of the body, and not just something to be used only in times of pandemic or disease.

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s Portuguese news site