Low-sodium plant-based diets may prevent COVID-19 better

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Scientists from the University of Waterloo suggest that low-sodium plant-based diets may prevent COVID-19 more effectively.

An omnivorous diet is a type of diet wherein energy and nutrients are obtained from both animals and plants.

Compared with an omnivorous Western diet, plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants.

This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn’t mean you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy.

Previous research has found that plant-based diets are linked to lower risk and lower severity of COVID-19.

Additionally, past studies have shown that excessive dietary intake of sodium in diets is linked to inflammatory immune responses and severe respiratory symptoms of COVID-19, including shortness of breath, fever, and nasopharyngeal infections.

High dietary intake of sodium is also linked to increased risks of diseases and health conditions that can coexist with COVID-19, including chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.

In the current study, researchers presented evidence that low dietary intake of sodium may influence the association of plant-based diets with COVID-19 prevention.

They found that processed meats and poultry injected with sodium chloride contribute considerable amounts of dietary sodium to the Western diet.

The avoidance or reduction of these and other processed foods in whole-food plant-based diets could help lower overall dietary sodium intake.

Moreover, high amounts of K in plant-based diets increase urinary sodium excretion, and preagricultural diets high in plant-based foods were estimated to contain much lower ratios of dietary Na to K compared with modern diets.

The researchers suggest that further research should examine low sodium in whole-food plant-based diets for protection against COVID-19 and related health conditions.

The research was published in The British Journal of Nutrition and conducted by Ronald B Brown.

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