A new Northwestern study reveals that coffee drinking and eating vegetables might offer people some safeguards against coronavirus. This could be the first study to look at the role of specific meals in preventing COVID-19.
“A person’s nutrition can help or hurt their immunity,” said author Marilyn Cornelis, professor of medicine at Northwestern Medical School. “And a person’s immune system has an important role in their response and sensitivity to infectious viruses, this includes coronavirus.”
The paper about nutrition and covid protection was released recently in the Nutrients journal.
One or more cups of coffee each day was linked with around a 10% lowering in risk of getting coronavirus compared to under one cup each day.
Also, consuming 0.67 servings of vegetables each day (either cooked or raw) was also associated with less covid infection risk.
Eating processed meat of up to 0.43 servings a day was linked with a greater risk of getting coronavirus.
So far, most covid research has centered on certain factors looked at after a positive covid test. People with bad immune systems like elderly people and those people with existing illnesses like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and hypertension are more likely to get the severe reactions to the coronavirus.
But other than losing weight, less focus has been put on other changeable risk factors, says Cornelis, who investigates how nutrition and diet lead to chronic disease.
Dr. Huyen, the study’s initial author and a professor at Northwestern, is now pushing for analyses to decide if these protective diet changes are specific to coronavirus or connect to all respiratory infections in general.
The exact connections linking these diet changes to COVID are not known.
“Coffee is a huge caffeine source, but there are some dozens other compounds that might possibly underlie the associations we saw,” Cornelius said. “Connections with processed meat, but not to red meat, point to factors other than meat.”
Researchers have looked at the associations between eating behaviors in the past, and covid infections in the present. They looked at self-reported consumption of coffee, vegetables, tea, fruit, fish, red meat and processed meat.
Author: Blake Ambrose