You can obviously be vegan and not be healthy. Pre-made frozen vegan pizza and ice cream are delicious, but not always the healthiest. However, if you’re a ‘healthy’ vegan who mainly follows a whole foods plant-based diet, you might be protected from a serious coronavirus infection. A study has found that a good diet protects you from getting sick, including getting sick with severe coronavirus.
Published in BMJ, Prevention and Health, the 2021 study Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case looked at healthcare workers from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The study wasn’t looking at vegan diets specifically, but rather how different diets affect the “severity of symptoms, and duration” of coronavirus infection. This was the first look at the connection between diet and coronavirus. The study concluded that plant-based diets could be good protection against severe virus infection, but not the infection itself.
The higher volume of nutrient-dense foods consumed by vegetarians and vegans deserves all the credit. Sara Seidelmann, the assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, explained, “We found that individuals who reported following plant-based diets had a 73 percent lower odds of moderate to severe Covid-19. Plants are packed with micro-nutrients. In prior studies supplementation with some of these nutrients decreased the risk of respiratory infections. These nutrients can support the immune system.”
On the other hand, high-protein (specifically animal protein) low-carbohydrate diets are associated with a higher risk of severe infection. The World Health Organization’s advice for adults during the COVID-19 outbreak supports these findings. They recommended that people “eat fresh and unprocessed foods every day.” While the WHO doesn’t specify cutting out any animal products, there is a clear focus on whole produce and grains. Their suggested snacks include raw fruits and vegetables. Processed meats and other foods like fast food or frozen pizza should be eaten in moderation, if at all.
Other Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
There is evidence that a plant-based diet has short to moderate-term positive impacts on weight, metabolism, and systemic inflammation compared to a conventional diet that includes animal products. This is true for healthy individuals, as well as those suffering from obesity and type-2 diabetes.
Plant-based diets are also great for the gut microbiome, and keep it full of a variety of important bacteria species.
Eating vegan or vegetarian is also better for the planet and all the other animals that live on it with us. So while eating more fruits and veggies is a great way to stay healthier, it’s also a great way to show your environment that you care about it.
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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