Herbal and / or fish diets may help decrease the severity of COVID-19 infection.

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Transmission electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, which comes out of human cells. Credit: NIAID

Plant and / or fish (fish) diets may help reduce the chances of developing a moderate to severe COVID-19 infection, suggest the findings of a study from six countries, published in the online journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health.

They were associated with 73% and 59% lower probabilities, respectively, of serious illness, according to the results.

Several studies have suggested this may play an important role in the severity of symptoms and in the duration of COVID-19 infection disease. But so far, there is little evidence to confirm or refute this theory.

To delve deeper into this, the researchers took advantage of the survey responses of 2,884 front-line doctors and nurses with extensive exposure to SARS-CO-v2, the virus responsible for COVID-19 infection, working in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the USA.

All participants were part of a global network of health professionals registered in the Survey Healthcare Globus network for health market research. The researchers used this network to identify physicians at high risk for COVID-19 infection as a result of their work.

The online survey, which was conducted between July and September 2020, was designed to provide detailed information on respondents ’dietary patterns, based on a 47-item food frequency questionnaire, during the year. previous, and the severity of COVID-19 infections they had. bearing, using objective criteria.

The survey also collected personal background information, , medication use and lifestyle.

The various diets were combined into vegetables (higher in vegetables, legumes, and nuts and lower in poultry and red and processed meats); fisherman / plant (as mentioned above, but with fish / seafood added); and low-carb, high-protein diets.

Some 568 respondents (cases) said they had had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection or had no symptoms, but a positive swab test for infection; 2316 said they had no symptoms / tested positive (comparison group).

Of the 568 cases, 138 clinicians said they had had moderate to severe COVID-19 infection; the remaining 430 said they had had a very mild to mild COVID-19 infection.

After considering several potentially influential variables, including age, ethnicity, medical specialty, and lifestyle (smoking, physical activity), respondents said they ate plant-based diets or plant-based diets. they had, respectively, 73% and 59 percent lower probabilities of moderate to severe COVID-19 infection, compared with those who did not have these dietary patterns.

And compared to those who said they ate a plant-based diet, those who said they ate a low-carb diet were nearly four times more likely to have moderate to severe COVID-19 infection.

These associations remained faithful when weight (BMI) and coexisting medical conditions were also taken into account.

But no association was observed between any type of diet and the risk of COVID-19 infection or the duration of subsequent disease.

This is an observational study and therefore cannot establish a cause, only a correlation. It was also based on individual memory rather than objective assessments and the definition of certain ones they may vary by country, the researchers note.

The men outperformed the women in the study, so the findings may not be applicable to women, they add.

But plant-based diets are rich in nutrients, especially phytochemicals (polyphenols, carotenoids), vitamins and minerals, all of which are important for a healthy immune system, according to the researchers.

And fish is an important source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties, they add.

“Our results suggest that a healthy diet rich in nutrient-dense foods can be considered for protection against severe COVID-19,” they conclude.

“Trends in this study are limited by study size (reduced figures with a confirmed positive test) and design (self-reports on diet and symptoms), so caution should be exercised in interpreting the results,” he says. the vice president of NNEdPro Nutrition and COVID-19 Taskforce, Shane McAuliffe.

“However, a high quality diet is important to get an adequate immune response, which in turn can influence the susceptibility to and its gravity “.

And he adds: “This study highlights the need for better-designed prospective studies on the association between diet, nutritional status, and COVID-19 outcomes.”


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More information:
Hyunju Kim et al, Vegetable diets, fisheries diets and severity of COVID-19: a case study and population-based control in six countries, BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health (2021). DOI: 10.1136 / bmjnph-2021-000272

Citation: Vegetable and / or fish diets can help decrease the severity of COVID-19 infection (2021, June 8) recovered on June 8, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06 -plant-based-andor-fish -diets-lessen.html

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