Plant-based Diets and COVID-19

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The plant-based diet produced positive results and perceived to be a safe strategy to prevent infection with the COVID 19 virus and help the body build stronger immune systems to combat the disease's severe symptoms.
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Is there a recommended diet during the pandemic?

According to the World Health Organization, eating a healthy diet is vital during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is because the foods and beverages we consume have an impact on our body’s ability to prevent, fight, and recover from diseases.

Healthy diets are important for maintaining immune systems, even if no foods or dietary supplements may prevent or cure COVID-19 infection. In addition, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer can all be prevented with good nutrition.

People are beginning to investigate elements related to nutrition that play an essential role in building advanced immunity against COVID-19 infection, as prevention is more important and certainly more cost-effective than cure. In a recent BMJ study on June 2021, researchers found that plant-based diets have been suggested to protect against severe COVID-19 symptoms.

What is a plant-based diet?

Plant-based diets consist of foods that are primarily made up of plants. The diet contains both fruits and vegetables, seeds, whole grain, beans, legumes. Plant-based diets have been demonstrated to minimize risks such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and some malignancies, as well as lead to better physical and mental health.

Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has recently been hypothesized that a plant-based diet can aid the body’s immune system in fighting the disease. Thus, as some researchers suggest, a person’s diet may be a critical factor in the different manifestations of the disease.

Is a plant-based diet effective in preventing COVID?

In a study, 2884 Health professionals and medical frontliners from several countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and the USA) who have high exposure to patients with COVID-19 are surveyed to discover if there was a link between diet and the severity and duration of COVID-19 infection symptoms. According to the findings, health care professionals who ate a plant-based diet had a 72 percent lower risk of experiencing intermediate COVID-19 severe symptoms. Those who ate a fish-based or plant-based diet had a 53 percent lower chance of being seriously ill. Minerals, Vitamins A, C, and E, and phytochemicals such as carotenoids and polyphenols led to a stronger immune system.

Aside from eating fruits and vegetables, what are other tips for maintaining a healthy diet?

1. Reduce your salt intake.

  • Use iodized salt and limit your daily salt intake to less than 5 g (about 1 teaspoon).
  • Limit salt and high-sodium condiments when cooking and preparing food (like soy sauce and fish sauce).
  • Read food labels and choose goods with reduced sodium levels.

2. Consume fats and oils in moderation.

  • Avoid saturated fats by eating unsaturated fats (such as fish, avocados, almonds, olive oil, soy, canola, sunflower, and maize oils).
  • If you can’t eat a plant-based diet, stick to white meat (such as poultry) and fish, which are lower in fat than red meat.
  • Limit your intake of processed meats and cut visible fat from meat.
  • Choose milk and dairy products that are low-fat or reduced fat.
  • Instead of frying food, try steaming or boiling it.

3. Reduce sugar consumption.

  • Avoid sugary drinks and fizzy drinks, as well as liquid and powder concentrates, flavored water, sports drinks, tea, coffee, and flavored milk drinks.
  • Instead of sweet treats like cookies, cakes, and chocolate, opt for fresh fruits.
  • When choosing other dessert options, make sure they’re low in sugar and serve small servings.

4. Every day, drink 8 to 10 glasses of water.

Hydration is essential for good health. It distributes nutrients and chemicals through the bloodstream, controls body temperature, eliminates waste, and lubricates and cushions joints. In addition, drinking water is a straightforward approach to reduce your sugar and calorie intake.

5. Avoid consuming dangerous and toxic amounts of alcohol.

Alcohol is not recommended as part of a balanced diet. Alcohol use does not protect against COVID-19 and can be harmful. Frequent or excessive alcohol intake raises your chance of injury in the short term and has long-term consequences such as liver damage, cancer, heart disease, and mental illness. There is no such thing as a safe amount of alcohol consumption.

Role of Healthcare Providers

Nutrition and hydration are beneficial to health and immunity, but they are not magic bullets. In addition, people with chronic illnesses who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 may require assistance with their mental health and diet to maintain their health. In these challenging times, health care professionals can provide support through digital platforms with continuous health education and remote patient health monitoring.

Takeaway

A balanced and nutritious diet can help build a strong immune system that can withstand the virus’s attack. The plant-based diet produced positive results and looked to be a safe strategy to prevent infection with the COVID 19 virus and help the body build stronger immune systems to combat the disease’s severe symptoms.

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