Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Can Vegan diet aid vs. COVID?

History could provide us with valuable information about improving our overall health — and perhaps in extension helping us to cope better with COVID-19. World-famous Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, author of “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” explains the following: “World War II provided a graphic example of how the ravages of chronic diseases (coronary, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, etc.) could be totally halted. Norway was one of several western European nations occupied by Nazi Germany during the 1939-1945 conflict. The Germans removed all animal livestock from these countries and the native population subsisted on whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruit. Almost immediately death from heart attacks and strokes in Norway plummeted. With the cessation of hostilities in1945 animal products became available as well as an immediate return to the pre-war levels of deaths from these illnesses.” Similar instances took place in Denmark, even going back to World War I.
Unfortunately, the majority of Americans have intensified their desire to eat the SAD (standard American diet) of dairy products, eggs, meat, chicken, white flour, and processed oils on a regular basis. Thus here we are in 2020 battling for our lives against COVID-19 with growing evidence that a majority of COVID-19 patients and victims may be obese or have some of the same comorbidities that the Norwegian population had. So, is there a productive way forward? Yes, according to most of the Vegan doctors and scientists and definitely Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of the 2006 China Study, one of the most comprehensive works on nutrition ever written. In this carefully written study Dr. Campbell illustrated that a vegan diet was better than an animal diet — and that it indeed was a large factor in preventing cancer.
But also within this study “he investigated the virus hepatitis B (HBV) and collected data on the prevalence of people having antibodies and antigens, multiple disease mortality rates, and many nutritional risk factors. Relying only on statistically significant findings, HBV antibody prevalence was highly correlated with vegetable consumption, dietary fiber, and plant protein. In short, more plant food consumption was associated with more antibodies, and people consuming more animal protein had fewer antibodies.”
In his continued discussion he asks, “Given that COVID-19 is also a viral disease is it possible that this same nutrition, plant-based, could help us improve our immune response?” His answer is Yes. “Even though there is no direct proof, I am quite confident that this nutritional strategy could produce a faster, safer, more comprehensive long-term solution for coping with viral diseases like COVID-19. We already have strong scientific evidence that this diet effectively reduces comorbidities associated with severe cases of COVID-19.”
Fellow Vermonters, as you go forward, think about following the advice of the past with a new animal-free eating plan that indeed may give you greater protection from COVID-19 !
Pat Davies
Middlebury
*Quote from Dr. John McDougall

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