Plant-based diet and COVID-19 severity: results from a cross- sectional study

Year Published: 2023


BMJ Nutrition, Prevention, & Health


Samira Soltanieh, Marieh Salavatizadeh, Tooba Ghazanfari, Soodeh Razeghi Jahromi, Zahra Yari, Mohammad Ali Mansournia, Maryam Nazemipour et al.


Although previous findings have shown the beneficial role of healthy eating pattern on the human immune system, the association between plant-based diet and COVID-19 severity has not yet been elucidated. This study aimed to determine the possible role of plant-based diet index (PDI) in COVID-19 severity. This cross-sectional, multicentral study was conducted on 141 patients with confirmed COVID-19. Dietary intakes of the patients were evaluated using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Then, PDI was compared between patients who needed to be hospitalised (considered severe cases), and those who got treatment at home (considered non-severe cases).

Key Findings

Key Findings: After adjustment for confounders including age, sex, energy intake and body mass index, lower odds of hospitalisation were found for participants having a greater score of overall PDI (OR per 10 units increase: 0.42; 95% CI 0.22 to 0.80) and healthy PDI (OR per 10 unit increase: 0.45; 95% CI 0.26 to 0.78). In conclusion, our data presented that there is a relation between PDI and lower risk of hospitalisation in COVID-19 patients, possibly through boosting the immune function. (*In this study, peanuts were listed as part of a healthy plant-based dietary index)