“We know that there are certain pathologies that worsen the rate of the disease and obesity and diabetes are two of them. This has been seen for several reasons, firstly because people who have these diseases have a worse diet, with higher consumption of saturated fats and refined carbohydrates and in general this type of diet, let’s say cafeteria, is more harmful to the immune response ”, says Lluís Serra Majem, a doctor in Nutrition and a specialist in Preventive Medicine and Public Health who is also the spokesperson for the scientific committee against Covid-19 in the Canary Islands.
This is because the abuse of saturated fatty acids as occurs in Western diets can lead to “chronic activation of the immune system and the inactivation of the body’s defense response,” says the Endocrinology specialist at Perpetuo Socorro Hospital, Julian Tamayo. A fact that is aggravated when a person contracts an infectious disease since “the permanent stress of the immune system due to inflammation prevents the adequate production of antibodies and can even contribute to a depression or immunosuppression of the organism”, says the doctor before recalling that precisely SARS-CoV-2 causes an inflammatory storm that affects the entire organism.
Hence, it is suggested to bet on foods typical of the Mediterranean diet “since it has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects”, Tamayo comments. Vegetable fats from avocado or nuts, among others; Whole-grain cereals like oats are the foundation for good nutrition, where protein is also vital. And it is that “to produce antibodies requires a good protein state.”
Faced with the latter, Serra explains that one of the main problems that has been observed in Covid-19 patients who have complications and have to be in intensive care is that “they can lose a large amount of proteins and this in turn is it translates into a loss of muscle ”, and the muscles of the thorax or diaphragm may become weak. “And having low muscle mass, which is a symptom that is mostly associated with obesity or old age, is a factor that reduces immunity.”
That is why both doctors recommend taking care of physical activity and diet, since this will allow a better response to diseases such as the new coronavirus, although we still have to wait for studies that link culinary habits to the possible evolution of the virus. Even so, Julián Tamayo remembers that “eating well is not going to prevent it from infecting me, but it does mean that in case of contracting the disease, a good nutritional status prior to and during the process can reduce the risk of complications.”