Fermented vegetables increase resistance to COVID-19

Fermented vegetables increase resistance to COVID-19

A European study shows that the consumption of fermented vegetables is related to a lower mortality from COVID-19. The relationship is not appreciated with fermented dairy.

Fermented vegetables increase resistance to COVID-19

It has occurred to a European research team to check whether the regular consumption of fermented foods offers any protection against the new COVID-19 coronavirus. And indeed, the results of their study indicate that eating fermented vegetables is associated with lower mortality.

The work, which has been carried out by scientists from universities and research centers in Spain, Portugal, France and Germany, and published on medRxiv.org shows that mortality rates are lower in countries where the consumption of traditionally fermented plant foods is common.

According to the researchers, the protection may be due to the beneficial effect of fermented foods on the intestinal microbiota, which collaborates with the immune system in defense against viruses and other pathogens. Furthermore, fermentation increases the antioxidant capacity of plant foods.


The scientists compared data on fermented food consumption in different countries (collected by the European Food Safety Authority, EFSA) with COVID-19 mortality statistics, obtained from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The EFSA data includes statistics on the consumption of probiotic foods (with live microorganisms) such as fermented vegetables, pickled or marinated vegetables, fermented milk, yogurt and fermented sour milk.

When analyzing the data, they found that for each daily gram of increase in the average national consumption of fermented vegetables, the risk of mortality from COVID-19 decreases by 35.4%. In contrast, fermented dairy products do not appear to have an effect on mortality. Vegetables pickled in vinegar but not fermented have also not shown an effect. Therefore, the beneficial action is limited to fermented vegetables.

To establish the relationship, the researchers ruled out the possible influence of the economic level of consumers, age, unemployment and obesity.

The study authors believe that the consumption of fermented plant foods may be one of the factors that explain the difference between the high mortality rates in countries such as Spain and Italy, where less fermented plant foods are consumed, and the low rates in Germany and Italy. Other European countries, where consumption is higher.

Of course, the researchers consider that other variables, such as the different measures taken more or less quickly by each government, or the quality of medical care, have also contributed to the differences.

The authors affirm in the study that if their conclusions are confirmed, COVID-19 may be the first pandemic whose mortality is related to a “loss of nature”, that is, with the least presence in modern diets of a type of food that has been common in traditional food models.

Fermentation was introduced in the Neolithic, shaped the human gut microbiota, and was essential for the survival of humanity in different climates. The modern diet is scarce in this type of food, which may have contributed to the spread and severity of the infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.


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