Does living a plant-based lifestyle help people fight the effects of COVID-19 better than others? The answer is YES and not a surprise to Dr. Neal Barnard, President of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, who states, “if your diet is really good (plant-based), these conditions are going to be better.” He is referring to two recent studies published comparing what people eat and their ability to fight off the risks of COVID-19.
Here I’ll share highlights of the two studies he references and additional insight from Dr. Joel Fuhrman on the power of eating whole plant foods and regularly exercising on reducing the effects of COVID-19 or any other pandemic and chronic illness.
- Healthcare workers in six different countries
- Those eating a mostly plant-based diet were at 73% less risk of severe COVID-19
- Just think if this group was 100% plant-based…how high could this number be?!?!?
- Those on Keto diets not only were worse than those on the mostly plant-based diet but they had a 48% increased risk of severe COVID-19 than than those not on the mostly plant-based diet
- Low carbs once again are not the answer to overall healthiness
- 592,571 participants in UK and US in COVID-19 Symptom Study
- Those eating a mostly plant-based diet were at 41% less risk of severe COVID-19
- Again, think what this number could be if they were fully plant-based…
On an episode of the Switch4Good Podcast in October, 2020 Dr. Joel Fuhrman noted the power of eating whole plant-foods and it’s effects that result in what we find in these studies. Dr. Fuhrman is a board-certified family physician, seven-time New York Times best-selling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing. He specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Here are a few highlights from what he shared in this context:
- “We’re seeing people get sick and we’re seeing people die (COVID-19). Of course it effects the most sickly and overweight people…you can’t keep the flash light turned on all the time and want it to work when there is an emergency.”
- “There is no such thing as a healthy person on an American diet..with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 23 as the demarcation line…89% of Americans are overweight.” The standard classification of overweight is a BMI greater than 25 and that would give us over 72% of Americans overweight. Dr. Fuhrman cites this number is too high and compares it to the healthiest societies where BMIs are below 22 for a male and 21 for a female. In many instances standards that are set are too low to be truly healthy…not a surprise we are so unhealthy as a country.
- “Only 2.4% of Americans are at a normal weight because they eat healthy and exercise regularly.”
- “If a person was truly healthy they would not be vulnerable to COVID. It’s a nothing thing for a healthy immune system to fight off.”
This sounds like a broken record from what I have learned over the years. Consuming animal products cripples the immune system every time it goes down. So whether it’s heart disease, cancer, strokes, Alzheimer’s, Type 2 Diabetes, and the list goes on with chronic illnesses, if we make our body vulnerable to these illnesses it’s going to be much worse than if we fuel it with foods that allow our bodies to fight like champions and exercise our butts off.
I continue to learn during COVID-19 that being overweight in itself can cause so many issues unrelated to COVID-19. It’s not only that eating unhealthy will make you overweight but being overweight in itself will promote illness and chronic illnesses. This is something Dr. Fuhrman really hammers home in all of his education. I’m going to write about what I have learned here in the near future.
A few take-aways:
- Eat a whole plant food lifestyle and if you are not 100% eat as many plant foods as you can to promote overall health, fight pandemics like COVID-19, and to prevent, stop, and/or reverse chronic illnesses
- Focus on getting body weight and body fat % (also Dr. Fuhrman fundamentals) in healthy ranges
- Exercise regularly
- Not only will fueling your body this way help in this and future pandemics but you will have more energy than ever and feel so good about what you are doing for your heath, the planet’s sustainability, and reducing the cruelty and slaughter to millions of animals
– Add Health to Your Life
Study 1 – Kim H, Rebholz CM, Hegde S, et al. Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case-control study in six countries. BMJ Nutrition. Prevention & Health 2021;0. dol:10.1136bmjnph-2021-000272 (this is covered at 1:36 of the video)
Study 2 – Merino J, Joshi AD, Nguyen LH. Diet quality and risk and severity of COVID-19: a prospective cohort study. medRxiv 2021.06.24.21259283; dol: https ://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.24.21259283 (this is covered at 3:00 of the video)