On more than one occasion we have talked about the importance of feeding and the nutrition in the framework of the pandemic of Covid-19. Affirmations endorsed by experts in the field now ratified by a new scientific study developed in Spain. And is that the Mediterranean diet could reduce to more than half the chances of contagion of Coronavirus.
Specifically, this study has been developed by the university of Navarra, in which 9,677 people have participated. The conclusion of the same indicates that a greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk of contagion of Covid-19 by up to 64%.
It is the first epidemiological investigation in the world that shows in a contrasted way how an adequate diet and its multiple benefits act as a protector against Covid-19.
In this sense, the main authors of this pioneering research work in the world are: Rafael Pérez Araluce, graduated in Pharmacy and Nutrition from the University of Navarra, and Dr. Silvia Carlos, vice-dean of students of the same Faculty, also a professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the Faculty of Medicine.
Thus, Dr. Silvia Carlos points out that in order to carry out this study it was necessary to identify a large number of participants who had a medical diagnosis of contagion together with positive results for Covid-19; in a period between February and December 2020.
“Health professionals were excluded, given the high exposure to the infection that, unfortunately, they had had. If we had included them, the results would have been distorted and it would not be possible to obtain public health recommendations for the entire population ”, explains the doctor from the Faculty of Medicine.
Keys in diet to reduce the risk of contagion
The researchers evaluated the eating habits of the participants by a score of 0 to 9 for adherence to the Mediterranean diet, based on the ‘Trichopoulou score’; This is a nine-item index established by the professor at the University of Athens, Antona Trichopoulou, known as the mother of the Mediterranean diet.
Thus, Dr. Silvia Carlos states that “the ten-year follow-up of these SUN Project participants is what allowed us a few months ago to analyze the hypothesis of whether adherence to the Mediterranean diet could protect against Covid-19 infection.”
He then explains that “we were able to observe that participants with intermediate adherence (= 4 and <7) had a significantly lower probability of developing Covid-19 than those with low adherence. On the other hand, those who had a higher adherence (= 7) had the lowest risk, compared to those participants with 3 or fewer points ”.
It should be noted that adherence to this pattern in the mechanism developed by Trichopuolou is measured according to the existence of a higher proportion of monounsaturated fats, fruits, nuts, legumes, cereals, fish and vegetables; and a lower consumption of meat, dairy and moderate alcohol intake.
The Mediterranean diet as a protection pattern against Covid-19
Therefore, this research work can mark a before and after in the fight against Covid-19, since it is the first time that a large prospective study shows that a healthy eating pattern can reduce risk contagion by Covid-19,
Thus, Dr. Silvia Carlos wants these results to reach as many people as possible, “if not, our research makes no sense, because we are working to try to improve people’s lives.”
On the other hand, the authors of this study point out that “it is often thought that living in a Mediterranean area involves, almost by default, following the eating pattern that bears its name, but this is not always the case.”
In conclusion, Dr. Silvia Carlos comments that it is necessary for the scientific community to replicate research along the same lines, to increase the degree of evidence and achieve changes in the health of the population through adequate nutrition.