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New Study Highlights Plant-Based Diet as a Key to Combating COVID-19 and Its Long-Term Effects

A new study published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health has revealed a plant-based lifestyle could be a significant factor in preventing severe COVID-19 outcomes.

The research suggests individuals with diets high in vegetables, legumes, and nuts, and low in dairy and meats, have reduced odds of contracting the virus.

Thryve Plant Burger

Source: Thryve Plant Burger

This recent study echoes previous findings in healthcare workers, indicating a correlation between plant-based diets and a decreased risk of COVID-19 infection and its severe manifestations.

The quality of diet plays a crucial role, emphasising the importance of nutritious plant-based foods.

Researchers are delving deeper into the mechanisms of 'long COVID', a prolonged battle with the virus's effects.

One hypothesis is COVID-19 infections may reduce serotonin levels, the chemical often associated with happiness, for an extended period. Diets rich in carbohydrates, common in plant-based eating, are known to elevate serotonin levels.

Moreover, a review of studies has shown plant-based diets can alleviate long COVID symptoms like anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and musculoskeletal pain.

Source: Various PFN

Another critical aspect of the plant-based diet's relevance in the COVID-19 context is the survival of coronaviruses on meat products. A study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology found coronaviruses, similar to SARS-CoV-2, can survive on various meats at refrigerated and frozen temperatures for up to 30 days. The study, which examined beef, pork, chicken, and salmon, highlights the potential for virus transmission in meat processing environments.

Emily S. Bailey, PhD, co-author of the study, will present these findings at the upcoming International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine in Washington, D.C.

This revelation adds to the growing body of evidence supporting plant-based diets not only for their health benefits but also as a strategy in the fight against COVID-19.

Source: Physcians Committee For Responsible Medicine

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  1. Wong A, Devason A, Umana I, et al. Serotonin reduction in post-acute sequelae of viral infection. Cell. 2023;186:1-17. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2023.09.013 

  2. Wurtman R, Wurtman J. Brain serotonin, carbohydrate-craving, obesity and depression. Obes Res. 1995;Suppl 4:477S-480S. doi: 10.1002/j.1550-8528.1995.tb00215.x 

  3. Storz M. Lifestyle adjustments in long-COVID management: potential benefits of plant-based diets. Curr Nutr Rep. 2021;10(4):352-363. doi:10.1007/s13668-021-00369-x



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