The Role of Nutrition in COVID-19: Taking a Lesson from the 1918 H1N1 Pandemic
American journal of lifestyle medicine
COVID-19; H1N1 influenza; nutrition; plant-based
In looking for solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, important lessons come from the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. During the H1N1 influenza pandemic, the soldiers had better outcomes than the civilian populations, but the best outcomes were reported by a Seventh-day Adventist seminary, where a plant-based diet was provided. The diet has been described as including grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. A few clinical trials have also assessed the role of nutrition in COVID-19. One study with almost six hundred thousand participants showed that those with a high consumption of fruits and vegetables had a reduced risk of COVID-19 of any severity by 9% and a reduced risk of severe COVID-19 by 41%. Another study in healthcare workers who were frequently exposed to COVID-19 in their clinical practice has demonstrated that those who reported being on a plant-based diet had a 73% lower risk of moderate-to-severe COVID-19. Based on the lessons from 1918 and the recent nutrition research in COVID-19, it seems plausible that a healthful plant-based diet may be a powerful tool to decrease the risk of severe COVID-19 and should be promoted as one of the public health safety measures.
Kahleova, Hana and Barnard, Neal D., "The Role of Nutrition in COVID-19: Taking a Lesson from the 1918 H1N1 Pandemic" (2023). GW Authored Works. Paper 2318.