Home Health Are vegetarians really at lower risk of contracting coronavirus?

Are vegetarians really at lower risk of contracting coronavirus?

Earlier in May 2020, a viral post claimed that no vegetarian was affected by coronavirus because it requires animal fat in the body to survive. However, India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) debunked the myth saying that there is no scientific evidence yet to prove that vegetarians are safe from coronavirus. But now, a pan-India serosurvey conducted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has suggested that vegetarians might be at a lower risk of contracting coronavirus.

The survey found that smokers and vegetarians have lower seropositivity — indicating that they may be at a lower risk of getting infected by the novel coronavirus. The survey was conducted across nearly 40 institutes of CSIR.

“Use of private transport, lower-exposure occupations, smoking, vegetarianism, and ‘A’ or ‘O’ blood groups appeared to be protective, using seropositivity as a surrogate for infection,” the survey revealed.

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At a time when coronavirus, bird flu, and other viral diseases seem to trigger a sense of scare and panic, the first precautionary measure people tend to take is to stop eating meat and go vegetarian. But can the diet help fight any such diseases?

A study published in 2016 said that “vegetarians have low rates of viral diseases.”

“There is evidence that vegetarians have lower rates of coronary heart diseases because of low LDL cholesterol, lower prevalence of obesity, lower rates of hypertension and diabetes mellitus,” it said.

However, an answer to this question cannot be ascertained as of now as more research is needed in the area to hop on to a conclusion.

But as in a plus to the vegetarian diet, earlier research revealed that a plant-based diet can help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease — because of which a diet focused on plant foods is more important.

“Vegetarian, especially vegan, diets are associated with better cardiovascular health, according to a new review published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.

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Another review published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggested that vegetarian diets support healthy blood pressure and that they “were associated with lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures, compared with omnivorous diet”.

As one of the symptoms of coronavirus included breathlessness, a review found that plant-based diets may help prevent and treat asthma.

However, in the end, the blog read, “While a plant-based diet can’t prevent Covid-19, it can treat the underlying conditions that can exacerbate its severity.”

(Photo: Getty Images)


The WHO never asked people to stop consuming non-vegetarian food during the pandemic. In fact, it recommended animal protein as nutrition advice for adults during the Covid-19 outbreak.

In its “nutrition advice for adults during the Covid-19 outbreak”, the WHO asked people to “eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants your body needs; and drink enough water”.

It also recommended foods from animal sources — like meat, fish, eggs and milk. “160 g of meat and beans [red meat can be eaten 1-2 times per week, and poultry 2-3 times per week,” it said.

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