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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


LENO-DURAN, Ester et al. Influence of diet in COVID-19 infection and severity risk: a systematic review. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2023, vol.40, n.2, pp.444-456.  Epub June 05, 2023. ISSN 1699-5198.


the risk and/or prognosis of COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, have been related to chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular diseases, with poor-quality diet being a predisposing factor for these diseases.


to synthesize the scientific evidence on the effect of diet on the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19.


a systematic review was carried out following the PRISMA guidelines. The bibliographic search was made in the databases Web of Science, Scopus and Medline (through the PubMed search engine). Risk of bias analysis was performed using the Newcastle-Ottawa and Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Checklist for Analytical Cross-Sectional Studies scales.


14 studies were included. Good adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a decreased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection (OR = 0.44; 95 % CI, 0.22-0.88, for high versus low adherence, and significant ORs of 0.88 and 0.95 in studies that analyzed adherence quantitatively) but not with the severity of COVID-19. A plant-based diet also had a protective association against both COVID-19 infection and severity. Specifically, a high consumption of vegetables, legumes and cereals, and a low intake of dairy products and red meat showed a protective effect against infection and/or COVID-19 severity, depending on the study. Vitamin and probiotic supplements also lowered the risk of infection.


the available evidence suggests that a healthy diet, based on a Mediterranean or plant-based diet, with moderate consumption of dairy and red meat, exerts a protective effect against COVID-19.

Keywords : Diet; Mediterranean diet; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Nutrients.

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