Poor Diet and Food Choices Links to a Higher Risk of COVID-19, Says Study

·2-min read
Photo credit: FilippoBacci - Getty Images
Photo credit: FilippoBacci - Getty Images

Here at Men's Health, we're known to extol the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet. By recalibrating your plate and dietary choices, you'll hit your body composition goals easier, sleep better, have more energy and live a healthier life.

On the flipside, however, we recognise the need to enjoy the finer things in life — life's not all about chicken, rice and broccoli cooped into plastic containers, after all — and to treat yourself when you've been putting in the work.

Go too far with an unhealthy diet, warns a new ZOE study, and you could be putting yourself at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. The study used data from 600,000 participants who logged the food they ate during February 2020 and, by cross-referencing the data with PCR test results, 19 per cent of respondents were found to have caught the virus.

By looking at the results, the study suggested that participants with a high-quality diet were 10 per cent less likely to catch COVID-19 and were 40 per cent less likely to become seriously ill.

The diets deemed to be 'high-quality' were found to contain fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, oily fish, olive oil and low amounts of processed foods. Conversely, low-quality diets were found to be high in processed foods and low plant-based foods.

Considered the first of its kind, Professor Tim Spector, ZOE lead scientist and professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said of the study: “You don’t have to go vegan, but getting more diverse plants on your plate is a great way to boost the health of your gut microbiome, improve your immunity and overall health, and potentially reduce your risk from COVID-19.”

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