The evidence mounts – plant-based diets protect against covid

| 22 February 2024
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Vegan and vegetarian diets are associated with a lower risk of suffering severe covid symptoms, according to a new study. Those with higher intakes of vegetables, pulses and nuts, and lower intakes of meat and dairy, also had a lower risk of covid infection.

Previous research in health care workers also found that plant-based diets were linked to a lower risk of catching covid and a lower risk of suffering moderate to severe disease. An even earlier study also found diet quality is important, with an emphasis on healthy plant-based foods.


Acosta-Navarro JC, Dias LF, de Gouveia LAG et al. 2024. Vegetarian and plant-based diets associated with lower incidence of COVID-19. BMJ Nutrition and Preventative Health. e000629.

Kim H, Rebholz CM, Hegde S et al. 2021. Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case-control study in six countries. BMJ Nutrition and Preventative Health. 4 (1) 257-266.

Merino J, Joshi AD, Nguyen LH et al. 2021. Diet quality and risk and severity of COVID-19: a prospective cohort study. Gut. 70 (11) 2096-2104.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
Justine joined Viva! in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. After working as a campaigner, then researcher and writer, she is now Viva!’s head of research and her work focuses on animals, the environment and health. Justine’s scientific training helps her research and write both in-depth scientific reports, such as White Lies and the Meat Report, as well as easy-to-read factsheets and myth-busting articles for consumer magazines and updates on the latest research. Justine also recently wrote the Vegan for the Planet guide for Viva!’s Vegan Now campaign.

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