It’s no secret that a clean diet containing nutrient dense foods is optimal for one’s health and the body’s overall ability to function. Due to the mass spread of COVID-19, health and wellness has become more relevant to daily life and more present in the mouths of the general public than ever. A study done by a team of researches at Massachusetts General Hospital provides information that supports the idea that not only can individuals lower their risk of contracting COVID-19 by following a healthy (and primarily plant-based diet), but they can also significantly lower their risk of having severe COVID-19 or further complications from the illness if contracted.

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While the researchers still consider cooperation amongst the public in regards to getting vaccinated and wearing masks when in public spaces, they can’t help but notice a significant link between the dietary status of the people partaking in their nearly year long study and their susceptibility to COVID-19. To be precise, those that were considered to be eating healthiest had a 9% lower risk of contracting the virus, and a 41% lower risk of the virus and its complications becoming severe.

Though the primary intention of running this study was to address the global public health issue that is the COVID-19 pandemic, the acknowledgement of diet being an important factor in the defense against COVID-19 brought attention to an important social issue as well: food insecurity and a lack of access to healthy foods for many people. There was a direct correlation found in the study between the participants with the least healthy diets and “socioeconomic deprivation”. It’s absolutely necessary to consider that in order for people to eat healthy, they need access to healthy foods. Due to the rampant income inequality worldwide and lack of social safety nets in the United States in particular, it is very difficult for many, many people to get foods that allow them to achieve optimal levels of nutrition.

More often than not, even if certain unhealthy foods do have adequate macronutrients (most commonly they are high in fat and carbohydrates), they severely lack in micronutrients, thus causing them to earn their “unhealthy” status.

Nevertheless, this link between diet and COVID-19 acts as further proof that maintaining a healthy lifestyle (so long as one is financially capable of doing so), in the midst of a pandemic or not, is absolutely necessary for the body to effectively function whether it be for defense or performance.