Proper Nutrition Can Reduce the Severity of Coronavirus Infections

There are currently daily reports of record-breaking incidents of coronavirus worldwide. As the Coronavirus epidemic escalates, it is important to recognize a generally overlooked possibility of taking steps now to reduce the severity of symptoms, should one have the misfortune of getting the disease.

     According to T. Colin Campbell, PhD, director of the China-Cornell-Oxford study, deemed the Grand Prix of epidemiology by the NY Times, shifting to a nutritious, well-balanced, plant-based diet can greatly reduce the effects of COVID-19. 

     Based on his extensive research, he stated, “antibody prevalence was highly correlated with vegetable consumption, dietary fiber, and plant protein. In short, more plant food consumption was associated with more antibodies . . . In our research, we also found that people consuming more animal protein had fewer antibodies, even in those consuming a very low amount of animal protein.” Therefore, he  concluded, “switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet should lessen the severity of disease symptoms [if you become a victim of coronavirus] while simultaneously increasing COVID-19 antibodies.”

     An extremely important factor during the deadly growth of coronavirus infections is that, according to Dr. Campbell, the positive effects could “begin within days,” possibly providing “enough time for people not yet infected by COVID-19 to strengthen their immunity,” yielding, “a faster, safer, more comprehensive long-term solution.” At a time when many hospitals and medical professionals are severely stressed, reducing the number of people whose symptoms require hospitalization is essential.

    Other medical experts agree that whole food plant-based diets can reduce the severity of coronavirus infections. Michael Greger, MD, author of  How Not To Die, How to Survive a Pandemic, and  Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching also believes that well-balanced plant-based diets can play a preventive role. In an exclusive interview with the magazine Plant Based. News, he asserted, “A plant-based diet offers protection against COVID-19 because we have so much lower rates of the pre-existing conditions that increase your risk: hypertension, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes. These are the diseases that are dramatically lower among those who eat a healthy, whole food, plant-based diet.” 

     Dr. Kim Williams, Chief of the Cardiology Division at Rush University, who treats coronavirus patients, said, “there is actually good medical evidence that viral illnesses are less severe if you have lower levels of inflammation and higher levels of interferon, which is typically what happens when you have a good, vitamin and mineral plant-based diet.”

     Professor K Srinath Reddy. President of the Public Health Foundation of India, said, “people who are taking a lot of fruits and vegetables as part of their natural diet have better innate immunity, and they may be able to fight the infection much better,”

     Nutrition experts recommend fiber-rich foods to reduce respiratory infection symptoms, including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, flaxseed and seaweed. Also recommended are green tea, white mushrooms, garlic, and fresh ginger. These foods are loaded with nutrients that can improve immune function, another factor that can reduce the impact of viral diseases.

    In addition to reducing the severity of COVID-19 impacts and the risks for heart disease, several types of cancer, diabetes, and other life threatening diseases, shifting to healthy plant-food diets has many additional advantages:

  • It reduces the risks of future pandemics. The widespread mistreatment and consumption of animals caused many past pandemics, including SARS, MERS, bird flu, swine flu, and Ebola. The ability of plant-based diets to lower risks for future pandemics is stressed in a recent UN report, “Preventing the next pandemic–Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission.”
  • It reduces climate change and other environmental threats. A 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization report, “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” showed that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases, in CO2 equivalents, than all the cars, planes, ships, and other means of transportation combined worldwide. A 2009 cover article, “Livestock and Climate Change,” by two World Bank environmentalists, stated that the livestock sector is responsible for at least 51% of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. This is especially significant regarding coronavirus, because climate change increases the frequency and severity of wildfires, and smoke inhalation worsens the symptoms of viral infections.
  • It reduces the current widespread, severe mistreatment of farmed animals.
  • It reduces the current very wasteful use of land, energy, water, and other increasingly scarce resources.
  • It is most consistent with basic Jewish teachings on preserving our health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, reducing hunger, and pursuing peace and justice, 
  • It reduces chances for violations of the kosher laws due to scandals involving inadequate supervision or accidental mixing of meat and dairy products in kitchens.

     So, if you want to protect yourself against a Covid catastrophe, help improve your general health and save the planet at the same time–please evolve your diet to a plant-based one. The sooner the better.

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