Follow A Plant-Based Diet to Reduce COVID-19 Severity

Posted January 2024
smashed avo, kale chips, sprouts and EVOO on Corn Thins slices

There is no denying that COVID-19 is going to be a part of the world we now live in. There are strategies you can take to help minimize your risk of contracting this virus such as social distancing and proper hygiene practices. A strategy which you may not have considered is your diet choice.

New research has found that following a plant-based diet may reduce COVID-19 severity. This study was a cross-sectional, multicentral study. Researchers used 141 people who had been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. The diet intake of these people was evaluated using a food frequency questionnaire tool.  The impact of those following a plant-based diet was then compared between people who were needed to be hospitalized due to symptoms, this was considered severe cases. These cases were compared to those who were able to manage their symptoms at home, considered non-severe COVID-19 cases.

Researchers found that there was a lower chance of hospitalization in the people who had a greater number of plant-based foods in their diet. The researchers suggested it was the nutrients in plant-based foods which help promote optimal immune system function in helping reduce the severity of COVID-19.

Plant based foods are rich in many nutrients which support the immune system to function optimally. This includes vitamins A, C and E. Also, zinc and iron to name a few examples. Plant based foods also support a health gut microbiome. 70% of your immune system function is in your gut. These gut microbes need to be fed to stay healthy and thrive. Plant based foods are the primary fuel source of health promoting gut microbes by providing different prebiotic sources.

By including both enough and a variety of plant-based foods you will give the range of different prebiotic sources needed to feed the range of health promoting gut microbes in your gut. As different varieties needed different prebiotic sources as their fuel source. This is why aiming for 30 different plant-based foods a week is a smart strategy to promote a healthy gut microbiome.

Good sources of plant-based foods include fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, and wholegrains & wholegrain containing foods such as Corn Thins slices. Aim to include half to three quarters of your meal a plant-based food and half of your snacks and you will be well on your way to achieving both your dietary fiber needs and prebiotic sources required to keep your gut microbiome thriving.

Take home message: The world we live in has changed since COVID-19 but you do have power through lifestyle choices to help keep your health at its best.



Soltanieh S, Salavatizadeh M, Ghazanfari T, et alPlant-based diet and COVID-19 severity: results from a cross-sectional studyBMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health 2023;e000688. doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2023-000688

Ashleigh Felth…
Accredited Practising Dietitian
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    • Ashleigh Felth…