The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on us. Every one of us has been affected in many ways – lockdown, economic slowdown, mental health deterioration and more. While we are trying to adapt to the ‘new normal’ way of life, experts across the world suggest there might be a rise in the cases soon. Which is why they suggest vaccination and healthy diet to immune us from within. A recent study, conducted by experts at Northwestern University in Illinois, found that drinking coffee may offer protection against Covid-19. Healthy vegetables also played a significant role in this study. The findings were published in the journal Nutrients.
As per the researchers, it is the first of its kind study using population data to examine the role diet in preventing COVID-19. For the study, researchers analysed data of 37,988 participants from the UK Biobank. The participants’ dietary behaviours between 2006 and 2010 and Covid-19 infections in March to December 2020 were measured. The study focused on the participants’ diet, their self-reported intake of coffee, tea, vegetables, fruit, fatty fish, processed meat and red meat. It was found that among the 37,988 participants tested for COVID-19, 17% were tested positive.
According to an official release, here’s what the researchers inferred from the study:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Processed meat consumption of as little as 0.43 servings per day was associated with a higher risk of COVID-19.
4. Having been breastfed as a baby reduced the risk 10% compared to not having been breastfed.
“Coffee is a major source of caffeine, but there are also dozens of other compounds that may potentially underlie the protective associations we observed,” said senior author of the study Marilyn Cornelis, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
The authors further state that while the study shows diet’s contribution in fighting Covid-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccines to be the most effective way to prevent the virus. Hence, most of the researches related to Covid-19 focus on individual’s immunity. Dr. Thanh-Huyen Vu, the study’s first author, is now analysing weather this diet behaviours are “specific to COVID or respiratory infections more broadly”.