Can your diet affect your chances of contracting COVID-19? Experts weigh in

An associate restocks fresh vegetables at a Walmart Supercenter.
An associate restocks fresh vegetables at a Walmart Supercenter. Photo credit Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images

Can what you eat and drink can affect your risk of contracting COVID-19?

The answer is yes. Fitness expert Mackie Shilstone weighed in to WWL-TV on how the right diet can keep you safe from coronavirus amid the surge of the Delta variant.

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Shilstone points to research from the Departments of Preventive Medicine, Research, and Information Services and the School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. Researchers used publicly available data to examine the participants’ eating habits.

Their review found “consuming more coffee, vegetables, and being breast fed, as well as, consuming less processed meat intake were independently associated with lower odds of COVID-19 positivity.”

“Habitual consumption of 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/day,” while “consumption of at least 0.67 servings a day of vegetables (cooked or raw, excluding potatoes) was associated with a lower risk of COVID-19 infection.”

Researchers found that participants who ate processed meats (e.g., salted, cured, smoked) had a higher risk of contracting the virus but did not find any increased risk related to red meat consumption, “suggesting meat per se does not underlie the association we observed with processed meats.”

“Our results support the hypothesis that nutritional factors may influence distinct aspects of the immune system, hence susceptibility to COVID-19,” researchers concluded.

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