Can A Plant-Based Diet Help Heal You From COVID-19?

December 9, 2020

As research continues around the coronavirus, interesting connections between a plant-based diet and infections are emerging.  We know people at any age are especially vulnerable to the virus with underlying conditions: Diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, liver, heart, to name a few.  It seems COVID-19 attacks our weakest points not just through our immune system but also through compromised organs. The exact mechanisms of COVID-19 are still being uncovered.

But recently, there are reports of the virus wreaking havoc with endothelium cells. Endothelium cells aren’t normally in the spotlight: These little-known cells protect our blood vessels and vital organs, playing a vital role in our health. The cells cover our vital organs, lungs, blood vessels, heart, liver, kidney, and more, and are the first to defend our organs when underlying tissues become compromised.

Inside our blood vessels, endothelium cells coat our veins and arteries, ensuring our blood moves smoothly and efficiently throughout our body. A good analogy may be a bobsled racer on an Olympic track. When the ice is inconsistent, rough, irregular, or contains bumps or obstacles, it slows the sled. Endothelium cells are the ice, and our blood is the sled.  Most people know plaque is dangerous because it obstructs blood flow, but what about when damage is to the track itself? COVID-19 seems attack the endothelium cells themselves, damaging the integrity of the organs they protect.

Blood vessels

The virus also affects blood vessels and, in general, our cardiovascular system. Endothelium cells line our blood vessels to regulate the flow of blood and regulate and maintain vascular tone.  Without them, we would die of either low blood pressure or high blood pressure.  COVID-19 seems to be creating clots, obstructions, and rashes all on its own.

Lungs

Endothelium cells are critical in maintaining oxygen in our lungs as the alveolar depends on their function. Apparently, the virus invades the lungs using endothelium cells, causes havoc, then moves on to other cells and organs. 

Can a Plant-Based Diet Help Heal?

Whole food plant-based diets are known to benefit endothelium health. Progressive damage to the endothelium cells come from a diet high in fat and meat. The polyphenols of plants act as a protective factor and can mitigate and start to heal blood vessels forming plaque in our vessels.  Other benefits are a higher concentration of nitrates in plants helps maintain good circulation and an abundance of antioxidants that directly benefit the immune system.

If you do have symptoms of COVID-19, immediately see a doctor even if you are plant-based.  But it is worth noting as we learn more about the disease that a plant-based diet strengthens one of the key parts that it attacks. Perhaps, it’s time to make an effort to put more plants on your plate, as at the very least, it cannot hurt.

Also by Diana: 3 Profound Ways Plant-Based Eating Changes The Brain

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Photo: Sarah Gualtieri via Unsplash

Diana Telfair
Diana Telfair is a professional, freelance writer living in Portland, Oregon. She uses her background and knowledge in Behavioral Psychology to craft thoughtful, articulate content. Her specialty is writing for vegan websites, blogs, and companies. She is a master level personal trainer and currently works as a wellness director with the elderly in a senior living facility. When she is not writing her next article, she is creating unique and delicious plant-based recipes, kayaking, biking, weight-training, reading, and exploring ideas that connect people to health. Follow Diana's work on her website.

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