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Study Says: What You Eat Matters to Survive the Coronavirus

Diet-Related Diseases Put You Most At Risk

A brand new study out of Italy suggests that what you eat may be the most important factor to help you survive the coronavirus. The study looked at 18% of deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Italy and found that nearly all—99.2%—of those who died had other serious health issues. Half of those who died had 3 or more preexisting illnesses. Most of those who died had heart disease, and more than 1/3 of those who died had diabetes. Both heart disease and diabetes are preventable disease largely caused by eating an improper diet for a healthy human.

Survive the coronavirus, and other viruses, by eating right and staying well everyday. Eating a whole food plant based diet is shown to prevent the most common diseases plaguing humanity.
Source: Bloomberg

What People Who Died “From Coronavirus” Had In Common

Even before the Italy Study, the CDC acknowledged that most people who were at serious risk of death were already at serious risk of death. Their “Situation Summary” states:

“Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.”

CDC, Situation Summary.

Some key takeaways from the Italy study should help calm irrational fears and help us shift our focus back to the true underlying cause of most of these deaths: a poor diet. Here’s some key facts that shed light on why many Italians didn’t survive the coronavirus:

  • 99% of those who died had a preexisting condition.
  • Almost 50% had 3 or more preexisting conditions.
  • 75% had high blood pressure (the first symptom of heart disease).
  • 33% of were officially diagnosed with heart disease.
  • 35% had diabetes.
  • The average age of death was 80 years old.
  • All deaths of people under 40 years old had serious preexisting medical conditions.
Table of Italy coronavirus death study.

The fact that 99% of deaths have a preexisting condition begs the question: what’s the real cause of death? Is it fair to blame these deaths on the coronavirus, or should they actually be attributed to heart disease and diabetes—preventable diseases which are already among today’s leading causes of death.

Keeping This Virus In Perspective

In a time when panic is spreading fast and our world is changing in unprecedented ways, it’s important to put this virus and risk in perspective. Here’s what we know about the damage this virus has caused so far.

  • As of March 18 there were 214,00 confirmed cases globally and…
  • Almost 9,000 people around the world have died “from the coronavirus.” This virus was first detected in December 2019, but even if we divide the total deaths by just 60 days, this adds up to 150 deaths worldwide per day.
  • More than 83,000 people so far have recovered from the virus.

What’s Really Killing People Today That No One Is Talking About

  • Heart disease is today’s leading cause of death, responsible for 1 of every 3 deaths worldwide and 1 of every 4 deaths in the United States.
  • 17 million people die from heart disease every year around the world. That’s 46,575 deaths worldwide every single day of the year.
  • Every year 647,000 people in the United States die of heart disease. Thats 1,773 deaths in the U.S. every single day of the year. Every 37 seconds, another person in the U.S. dies from heart disease.
  • In 2018 34.2 million Americans had diabetes. Every year 1.5 million Americans are newly diagnosed with diabetes. 4,110 people every day receive a diabetes diagnosis in the U.S.
  • An estimated 83,564 people die of diabetes every year in the U.S., where diabetes is the main cause of death on the death certificate. In 2017 270,000 death certificates mentioned diabetes. This is between 229-740 diabetes-related deaths in the U.S. every day of the year.
  • The CDC estimates that between 9 million – 45 million people contract the flu virus every year in the U.S. Between 140,000 – 810,000 of these people are hospitalized for some time. Between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths have been attributed to the flu annually since 2010. That’s between 33 and 167 deaths from the influenza virus every day in the U.S. every single year. Most of these deaths are the elderly or people with preexisting conditions putting them at greater risk.

How Nutrition Can Save You

Heart disease appears to be a major risk factor for those dying from the current pandemic and science has made clear that this disease is caused by eating the wrong foods for too long. Not only can eating right for a human being prevent heart disease 100% of the time, but eating a whole food plant-based diet has been shown to reverse heart disease at almost any age. Diabetes is another disease that science has shown is caused by eating a fat-rich diet of animal foods and processed foods. Like heart disease, most diabetes cases can be prevented and reversed by simply eating whole plants.

We all want to see our loved ones protected from sickness and in good health. The best way to do this, hands down, is with proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Eating a diet centered around whole plant foods will protect you and your loved ones from high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes, which put you at a greater risk when a new virus strikes.

Coronavirus isn’t the first new virus, and won’t be the last. New viruses are evolving all the time and the human body is, thankfully, an expert at protecting us from these invaders. Help your immune system stay strong by staying well in the first place. Eating right for your heart is eating right for your body is eating right for your brain is eating right to protect you from an early and untimely death.

1. Bloomberg, "99% of Those Who Died From Virus Had Other Illness, Italy Says."
2. (Italy Study) Report sulle caratteristiche dei pazienti deceduti positivi a COVID-19 in Italia Il presente report è basato sui dati aggiornati al 17 Marzo 2020.
3. Washington Exmainer, "99% who died from coronavirus in Italy had previous medical conditions: Study."
4. U.S. CDC, "Heart Disease Facts."
5. American Diabetes Association, "Statistics About Diabetes."
6. U.S. CDC, "Disease Burden of Influenza."
7. U.S. CDC, "Situation Summary."

Reya Steele Andrews

Reya (Steele) Andrews is a holistic health writer, educator, and publisher at Healing With Plants. Reya is a certified Holistic Nutritionist (AFPA), is certified in Plant-based Nutrition, and teaches nutrition science and healthy food preparation. Find her book, The Frugivore Diet, on Amazon.

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