Additionally, a balanced diet is related to a decreased risk of acquiring COVID-19 and its catastrophic complications, according to a study published online Sept. 6, 2021, in the journal Gut. The researchers questioned approximately 593,000 participants (mainly middle-aged and older) in February 2020 about their eating habits and then observed their health through September.
The researchers discovered that those who consumed the most fruits, vegetables, and legumes had a 9% reduced chance of contracting COVID and a 41% lower risk of acquiring severe COVID over the study period, compared to those who consumed the least fruits and vegetables. Additionally, researchers discovered a connection between COVID and a poor diet or socio-economic hardship. "If you could eliminate just one of those factors — diet or disadvantage — we believe nearly a third of COVID-19 cases could have been prevented," notes Jordi Merino, the study's lead author and a research associate at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital's Diabetes Unit and Center for Genomic Medicine. The study was observational in nature and cannot conclusively demonstrate that a good diet protects against COVID. The researchers emphasize that vaccination and wearing a mask indoors remain the most effective ways to ward off the disease.