Plant-Based Diet May Help Ward Off COVID

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In San Diego, we’re heading into Fall and while California has the lowest Coronavirus rate in the nation, the pandemic is not over. But there’s good news a plant-based diet, may ward off COVID, or at least help to prevent catching it say researchers of the largest study in this space.

Plant-Based Diet May Ward Off COVID

Why? Plant-based eating creates a healthier gut. Researchers said having healthy gut bacteria that feed off plant foods keeps the immune system strong. It’s actually pretty straight-forward a bad diet or Standard American Diet is not only “SAD” but also makes you more susceptible to catch COVID and other diseases.

So, how much more prevention might you get on a plant-based diet? Well, according to the researchers press release, “People with the highest quality diet were around 10% less likely to develop COVID-19 than those with the lowest quality diet, and 40% less likely to fall severely ill.”

Plant-based eating and COVID study

The study used data from nearly 600,000 ZOE COVID Study app contributors. The participants completed a survey about their pre-pandemic (February 2020) food they ate. Of those studied, 19% of these contributors contracted COVID-19. Other factors included in the study were: age, body mass index (BMI), ethnicity, smoking, physical activity and underlying health conditions as well as mask-wearing habits, and population density.

For the first time we’ve been able to show that a healthier diet can cut the chances of developing COVID-19, especially for people living in the more deprived areas. Access to healthier food is important to everyone in society, but our findings tell us that helping those living in more deprived areas to eat more healthily could have the biggest public health benefits.
– Dr Sarah Berry, study co-lead and Reader in nutritional sciences at the School of Life Course Sciences (from Press Release)

What type of plant-based foods may help prevent COVID

Following a whole-food plant-based diet will help your gut produce healthier bacteria. That doesn’t mean you can never eat processed foods, in fact, I use brands like Beyond Meat in my meals just not all the time. But I really do love this plant-based sausage pasta on occasion. However, the most benefit will come from eating a less processed, plant-rich diet.

That includes things like vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts, legumes eaten in their most natural form. Often processed plant-based foods quickly take the place of meats when someone first becomes a plant-based eater. But those foods are frequently high in sodium and other unhealthy ingredients. So, make them a treat rather than a staple of your plant-based diet.

Plant-based eating to lose weight

Maybe you gained the dreaded COVID-19 (pounds) or you’re just ready for a healthier lifestyle. That weight gain has more people looking to lose weight and, according to the Plant Based Foods Association, in 2020, 57% of all U.S. households purchased plant-based foods (that’s over 71 million households), up from 53% in 2019.

If so, join hundreds of others who have pledged to create a better lifestyle by going plant-based. Check out The Plant-Based Challenge, when you sign up, you’ll get my free jump-start guide to plant-based eating. It just might help you as we head into flu and cold season.


Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia brand journalist who consults and writes on wellness, all things plant-based, fitness, lifestyle, and travel. She is yoga certified and earned her certificate in Whole Food Plant-Based Eating in 2010 through eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. She's also a top podcaster for her marketing/storytelling podcast, The Brand Journalism Advantage at

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