Obesity, high blood pressure, and type two diabetes may raise the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, research suggests.
Eating a whole foods diet and monitoring blood sugar may help maintain metabolic health.
Diet and metabolic health can strengthen the immune system to fight COVID-19 and other viral infections.
No diet can reduce your risk of catching COVID-19. Viruses can’t reproduce without you, so if they find you, they’re going in. However, we are not passive Petri dishes. The human body is armed with a sophisticated security system for identifying and eliminating intruders of all kinds. Therefore it is largely the health of your immune system that ultimately determines your fate. So, is there a diet that strengthens your immune system?
Some advocates of Mediterranean, vegan, and low-carb lifestyles claim that following their diet of choice can help you fight off COVID-19, but no diet has been scientifically tested against this virus.
Yet even with a grand total of zero dietary studies available thus far, it would be a mistake to conclude that diet doesn’t matter in a pandemic. In fact, a pandemic should motivate all of us to double down on dietary quality, because the majority of people who suffer serious consequences from COVID infections have something in common: poor metabolic health.
The Link Between Metabolic Health and Severe Cases of COVID-19
A new study of over 900,000 COVID-related hospitalizations in the U.S. confirms that people are at far higher risk for complications and death from this virus if they have obesity, high blood pressure, and/or type two diabetes.
While these conditions may seem unrelated, often they are simply different tentacles of the same underlying beast: insulin resistance, aka pre-diabetes. The bad news is that at least one-third of American adults have pre-diabetes—and 80% of us don’t know it, because most doctors still don’t test for it.
In people with insulin resistance, insulin levels tend to run too high. The problem with high insulin levels is that insulin is not just a simple blood sugar regulator—it is a master metabolic hormone that orchestrates the behaviour of every organ system in the body. High insulin levels shift us into growth and storage mode, making it easy to accumulate excess body fat. Insulin also plays a major role in controlling blood pressure, blood sugar, and the immune system—all three of which are intimately involved in how we respond to COVID-19 infections."
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