In a new study led by Northwestern University, experts have investigated various foods that may protect against severe COVID-19 infection. The researchers found that drinking at least two to three cups of coffee per day lowers the risk of falling ill with COVID-19 by about one-tenth.
“Nutritional status influences immunity but its specific association with susceptibility to COVID-19 remains unclear. We examined the association of specific dietary data and incident COVID-19 in the UK Biobank (UKB),” wrote the study authors.
The team analyzed the records of 40,000 British adults in the UK Biobank. They looked at baseline diet factors including daily intake of coffee, tea, oily fish, processed meat, red meat, fruit, and vegetables.
“Individual COVID-19 exposure was estimated using the UK’s average monthly positive case rate per specific geo-populations. Logistic regression estimated the odds of COVID-19 positivity by diet status adjusting for baseline sociodemographic factors, medical history, and other lifestyle factors,” explained the researchers.
The study produced evidence to suggest that the consumption of coffee provides protection against the virus, even among some individuals who were known to have been exposed. The researchers believe that coffee contains health-boosting plant chemicals that may turbocharge the immune system.
The results of the analysis indicate that eating vegetables also lowers the risk of developing COVID-19, as well as being breastfed as a baby. By contrast, the regular consumption of processed meat like bacon and sausage appears to increase the risk of severe COVID-19 infection. In addition, the experts found that tea and fruit did not have a significant effect.
“Although these findings warrant independent confirmation, adherence to certain dietary behaviors may be an additional tool to existing COVID-19 protection guidelines to limit the spread of this virus,” concluded the researchers.
The study is published in the journal Nutrients.