Of course, Merino mentioned, individuals with wholesome diets could also be completely different in some ways from these with less-healthful consuming habits. So his workforce accounted for components like age, race, exercise habits, smoking, body weight and whether or not individuals lived in low- or high-income neighborhoods.
Obesity, for instance, is a danger issue for extreme COVID-19. And physique weight did clarify a superb portion of the connection between food plan and COVID-19 danger, the research discovered.
But food plan itself nonetheless confirmed a protecting impact, the researchers famous.
The hyperlink was really strongest amongst individuals who lived in economically disadvantaged areas, Merino mentioned. The researchers estimated that if a kind of two components was not current — poor food plan or deprivation — nearly one-third of COVID-19 instances within the research group may have been prevented.
Glatt cautioned, nonetheless, that it is rather troublesome to separate any impact of food plan from every part else individuals do of their lives.
“There are just so many variables,” he mentioned.
People who attempt to eat healthfully, Glatt mentioned, are in all probability cautious about their well being normally — and defending themselves towards COVID-19, particularly.
The researchers did ask respondents about their mask-wearing habits, and people responses didn’t clarify the diet-COVID hyperlink.
But, Glatt mentioned, “it’s impossible to account for everything” — together with whether or not individuals labored from residence, used public transportation, or have been prepared and in a position to keep away from different crowded indoor conditions.
Merino pointed to another limitations of the research. While about one-quarter of respondents have been age 65 or older, they have been pretty wholesome as a gaggle — with few reporting continual situations like heart disease and diabetes.
Plus, Merino mentioned, the survey was executed in 2020 — earlier than anybody was vaccinated and earlier than the emergence of the extremely contagious Delta variant.
Whether a healthful food plan may need any further impression in a vaccinated particular person, or throughout a time of Delta dominance, is unknown.
Those caveats made, each Merino and Glatt mentioned that consuming loads of complete, plant-based meals is definitely a sensible thought, since individuals with good diet are typically more healthy and hardier.
“It’s quite reasonable to suggest that a healthy diet will be beneficial,” Glatt mentioned.