Study Shows That A Healthy Diet Including Lots Of Vegetables and Black Coffee May Protect Against COVID-19! Avoid Processed Meats
Researchers from the Department of Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University-Chicago have in a new study found that healthy diets rich in vegetables and more than one cup of black coffee per day might actually help protect against COVID-19.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Nutrients. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/6/2114
According to the study team, this was the first ever study using population data to examine the role of specific dietary intake in the prevention of COVID-19.
Senior author Dr Marilyn Cornelis, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine told Thailand Medical
news, "A person's nutrition impacts immunity and the immune system plays a key role in an individual's susceptibility and response to infectious diseases, including COVID-19."
The study team examined the association of specific dietary data and incident COVID-19 in the UK Biobank (UKB). The team considered UKB participants in England with self-reported baseline (2006–2010) data and linked them to Public Health England COVID-19 test results ie performed on samples from combined nose/throat swabs, using real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)—between March and November 2020.
Baseline diet factors included breastfed as baby and specific consumption of coffee, tea, oily fish, processed meat, red meat, fruit, and vegetables. Individual COVID-19 exposure was estimated using the UK’s average monthly positive case rate per specific geo-populations. Logistic regression estimated the odds of COVID-19 positivity by diet status adjusting for baseline socio-demographic factors, medical history, and other lifestyle factors. Another model was further adjusted for COVID-19 exposure.
Eligible UKB participants (n = 37,988) were 40 to 70 years of age at baseline; 17% tested positive for COVID-19 by SAR-CoV-2 PCR. After multivariable adjustment, the odds (95% CI) of COVID-19 positivity was 0.90 (0.83, 0.96) when consuming 2–3 cups of coffee/day (vs. <1 cup/day), 0.88 (0.80, 0.98) when consuming vegetables in the third quartile of servings/day (vs. lowest quartile), 1.14 (1.01, 1.29) when consuming fourth quartile servings of processed meats (vs. lowest quartile), and 0.91 (0.85, 0.98) when having been breastfed (vs. not breastfed). Among the 37,988 participants tested for COVID-19 and included in the study, 17% tested positive.
Associations were attenuated when further adjusted for COVID-19 exposure, but patterns of associations remained.
The study found that in the UK Biobank, consumption of coffee, vegetables, and being breastfed as a baby were favorably associated with incident COVID-19; intake of processed meat was adversely associated.
Although these findings warrant independent confirmation, adherence to certain dietary behaviors may be an additional tool to existing COVID-19 protection guidelines to limit the spread of this virus
Hence the study team advocates sipping a venti dark roast and eating a salad often as the study
shows coffee consumption and eating lots of vegetables may offer some protection against COVID-19.
The study also found that being breastfed may also offer protection as well as eating less processed meats.
Dr Cornelis added, "Besides following guidelines currently in place to slow the spread of the virus, we provide support for other relatively simple ways in which individuals can reduce their risk and that is through diet and nutrition.”
In the study findings, one or more cups of coffee per day was associated with about a 10% decrease in risk of COVID-19 compared to less than one cup per day.
Also consumption of at least 0.67 servings per day of vegetables (cooked or raw, excluding potatoes) was associated with a lower risk of COVID-19 infection.
Alarmingly however, the study showed that processed meat consumption of as little as 0.43 servings per day was associated with a higher risk of COVID-19.
The study also showed that having been breastfed as a baby reduced the risk 10% compared to not having been breastfed.
Although the study shows diet appears to modestly reduce disease risk, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccines as the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death. COVID-19 vaccines also reduce the risk of people spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
Most COVID-19 research has focused on individual factors assessed after a positive COVID-19 test. Individuals with suppressed immune systems such as the elderly and those with existing comorbidities including cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes and obesity, are more likely to experience severe outcomes of COVID-19.
However other than weight management, less attention has focused on other modifiable risk factors preceding COVID-19 infection, said Dr Cornelis, who studies how diet and nutrition contribute to chronic disease.
The study's first author Dr Thanh-Huyen Vu, a research associate professor of medicine at Northwestern, is now leading analyses to determine whether these protective diet behaviors are specific to COVID or respiratory infections more broadly.
To date the exact mechanisms linking these diet factors to COVID are unknown.
Dr Cornelius added, "Coffee is a major source of caffeine, but there are also dozens of other phytochemical compounds that may potentially underlie the protective associations we observed. Associations with processed meat, but not red meat, point to non-meat factors."
Dr Cornelis also added that the observational nature of the UK Biobank research limits the extent to which mechanisms of protection can be tested. However, much of the nutrition research uses genetics, and with all UK Biobank participants currently genotyped. Dr Cornelis hopes to use this information to gain better insight into how diet and nutrition offer protection from the disease.
Thailand Medical News would like to add that there has been studies that show that Chlorogenic compounds
found in coffee exhibit antiviral properties against certain respiratory viruses. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27806409/
Numerous studies have shown that coffee does possess antiviral constituents and also antiviral properties. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18314244/
Another point to also consider and look into more deeply is the fact that bats that are carriers of various coronaviruses also include coffee beans in their diets!
For more on Diet and COVID-19 Protection
, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.