Covid-19 and a Plant Based Diet

Okinawa, one of the blue zone regions, is highlighted due to its extreme longevity, plant-based diet, and now, the population’s resistance to COVID-19.

People in Okinawa, for example, consume a predominantly plant-based diet rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants… They also consume abundant green leafy vegetables and soy products, with minimal fat (about 6% of the total energy intake). In addition to their high life expectancy and low mortality from cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers, Okinawans have enjoyed a remarkable resistance to COVID-19 mortality. As of June 16, 2021, the COVID-19 mortality in Okinawa, Japan, was 0.08% (163 deaths out of 19,782 cases), which is one-sixteenth that of Tokyo (mortality rate 1.3%; 2183 deaths out of 167,416 cases).

Can a Plant-Based Diet Mitigate the Risk of Severe COVID-19? — https://www.bluezones.com/2022/02/can-a-plant-based-diet-mitigate-the-risk-of-severe-covid-19/#

Journal Reference: Kahleova, H., Barnard, N.D. Can a plant-based diet help mitigate Covid-19?. Eur J Clin Nutr 76, 911–912 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-022-01082-w

The State of Obesity 2021

Oklahoma tied for 9th

Nationally, 16 states now have adult obesity rates at or above 35 percent.  Reaching the 35 percent or higher level this year were Delaware, Iowa, Ohio, and Texas. The twelve states that continue to have adult rates above 35 percent are: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.  (See rates chart for data on all 50 states and the District of Columbia).

State of Obesity 2021: Better Policies for a Healthier America — https://www.tfah.org/report-details/state-of-obesity-2021/

In 2012, no state had an adult obesity rate above 35 percent.

In 2000, no state had an adult obesity rate above 25 percent.

The full report can be downloaded from the link above. My post on the 2020 report is here: The State of Obesity 2020

As a former 370 pound human my experience and knowledge can help those struggling with their weight.

Meanwhile work continues on my Future Best Seller.

Childhood Obesity Impacts Midlife Cognition

A new study of the impact of childhood fitness and obesity on cognition in middle age, followed over 1200 people who were children in 1985 for over 30 years, has found that better performance on physical tests is related to better cognition later in life and may protect against dementia in later years.

Monash University. “30-year study links childhood obesity and fitness to midlife cognition.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/06/220616121556.htm (accessed June 17, 2022)

We’re doomed.

More on Vitamin D and Covid-19 – 02.06.22

The records of 1,176 patients admitted between April 2020 and February 2021 to the Galilee Medical Center (GMC) with positive PCR tests were searched for vitamin D levels measured two weeks to two years prior to infection. Patients with vitamin D deficiency (less than 20 ng/mL) were 14 times more likely to have severe or critical case of COVID than those with more than 40 ng/mL. Strikingly, mortality among patients with sufficient vitamin D levels was 2.3%, in contrast to 25.6% in the vitamin D deficient group.

Bar-Ilan University. “Pre-infection deficiency of vitamin D is associated with increased disease severity and mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients: Study affirms that sufficient vitamin D levels may positively influence the outcome of infection.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/02/220203161135.htm (accessed February 6, 2022).

Links to a few older posts on the same topic.

Vitamin D Treatment and Covid-19 Related Outcomes – Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Raise COVID-19 Risk? – JAMA

Vitamin D Deficiency Is Inversely Associated with COVID-19 Incidence and Disease Severity in Chinese People

More on Vitamin D and Covid-19 Vitamin D and Mortality Risk in People With CVD

The App That Helps Me Be a More Patient Centered Physician — A Country Doctor Writes:

One of the most rewarding things I do in my clinic happens on my iPhone. When I sit down with a middle aged patient to talk about their cardiovascular risk, I open the risk calculator created by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. I talk my way through as I enter […]

The App That Helps Me Be a More Patient Centered Physician — A Country Doctor Writes:

The risk calculator is quite useful but I re-blogged this post for its link to the Hale study, which was news to me. This study published in 2004 showed older people between the ages of 70 and 90 who followed a Mediterranean diet have 50% lower rate of all-cause and cause-specific mortality than people who dine on the SAD Western diet. The four primary risk factors were diet, moderate alcohol intake, physical activity, and non-smoking.

Lifestyle matters.

Scary Charts (the scariest chart of 2021)

https://wolfstreet.com/2021/12/23/oops-americans-big-pay-increases-got-run-over-by-even-bigger-price-increases/

This week I made a donation to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma https://www.regionalfoodbank.org/. If you live in Oklahoma please consider a year end gift. There is a $500,000 dollar for dollar match until year end. If you live elsewhere there will be a similar charity you can give to.

End of post.

Diet Quality and Covid-19 Risk/Severity

Poor metabolic health and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors have been associated with higher risk and severity of COVID-19.

A dietary pattern characterized by healthy plant-based foods was associated with lower risk and severity of COVID-19.

We found evidence of a synergistic association of poor diet and increased socioeconomic deprivation with COVID-19 risk that was higher than the sum of the risk associated with each factor alone.

Merino J, Joshi AD, Nguyen LH, et al
Diet quality and risk and severity of COVID-19: a prospective cohort study
Gut 2021;70:2096-2104. — https://gut.bmj.com/content/70/11/2096

In six countries, plant-based diets or pescatarian diets were associated with lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19. These dietary patterns may be considered for protection against severe COVID-19 In 2884 front-line healthcare workers from six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, USA), individuals who reported following plant-based diets and plant-based diets or pescatarian diets that were higher in vegetables, legumes and nuts, and lower in poultry and red and processed meats, had 73% and 59% lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19, respectively.

Kim H, Rebholz CM, Hegde S, et al. Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case–control study in six countries
BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health 2021;4:doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2021-000272 — https://nutrition.bmj.com/content/4/1/257

Eat your vegetables!

MIND Your Diet

MIND diet is associated with better cognitive functioning independently of brain pathology, suggesting that the MIND diet may contribute to cognitive resilience in older adults.

Dhana, Klodian et al. ‘MIND Diet, Common Brain Pathologies, and Cognition in Community-Dwelling Older Adults’. 1 Jan. 2021 : 683 – 692. — https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad210107

So, what is the MIND diet?

The traditional Mediterranean dietary pattern includes mainly whole, minimally processed plant foods including cereal grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and fish with small amounts of meat, milk, and dairy products and a regular modest amount of alcohol.4 The DASH diet emphasizes fruit, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and includes whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and is reduced in fats, red meat, sweets, and sugar-containing beverages.4 Combining the two diets, the MIND diet emphasizes natural, plant-based foods, specifically promoting an increase in the consumption of berries and green leafy vegetables, with limited intakes of animal-based and high saturated fat foods.

What Are the Components to the MIND Diet? — https://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(15)01251-4/fulltext

I became aware of the MIND diet earlier this year. It’s nice to know my dietary pattern has a name.

Trends in Consumption of Ultraprocessed Foods (not good news)

The calories that children and adolescents consumed from ultraprocessed foods jumped from 61% to 67% of total caloric intake from 1999 to 2018, according to a new study from researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University. Published August 10, 2021, in JAMA, the study analyzed dietary intake from 33,795 children and adolescents nationwide.

Tufts University. “Ultraprocessed foods now comprise 2/3 of calories in children and teen diets.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/08/210810110955.htm (accessed August 10, 2021).

The largest spike in calories came from such ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat dishes as takeout and frozen pizza and burgers: from 2.2% to 11.2% of calories. The second largest spike in calories came from packaged sweet snacks and desserts, the consumption of which grew from 10.6% to 12.9%.

Frozen pizza and burgers? Is this a problem?

Findings  In this serial cross-sectional study of nationally representative data from 33 795 US youths aged 2-19 years, the estimated percentage of total energy consumed from ultraprocessed foods increased from 61.4% to 67.0%, whereas the percentage of total energy consumed from unprocessed or minimally processed foods decreased from 28.8% to 23.5%.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2782866

We are doomed.