Maintaining a healthy body weight and increasing HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol levels can help reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections, researchers say in a new study.
Previous studies showed that people with type 2 diabetes and a high body mass index are at greater risk of experiencing hospitalizations and other serious complications related to Covid-19.
However, new research from the University of Maryland in the United States has identified certain lifestyle factors such as body weight and cholesterol as new risk factors for Covid-1
“Our findings point to some healthy measures people can take to potentially reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection,” said Charles Hong, a professor of medicine at the University of School of Medicine.
“Controlling body weight is very important during this time, and measures to increase HDL levels such as regular exercise and a diet rich in monounsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil and avocado can also be helpful,” Hong noted.
The team found that people who were Covid-positive were more likely to be overweight or have type 2 diabetes. They also had a greater risk of getting a symptomatic infection in the first place, the researchers claimed.
On the other hand, those who tested negative were more likely to have high levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and have a healthy weight with a normal body mass index (BMI), the study published in the journal PLoS ONE revealed.
“Certain basic cardiometabolic factors appear to either protect a person from Covid-19 infection, while others make a person more vulnerable to infection,” Hong said.
“But this study was not designed to determine the factors that actually cause Covid-19 infections. These are statistical associations that point to the importance of a healthy functioning immune system in protecting against Covid-19 infection,” Hong added.
For the study, the team used data from UK Biobank on 50,000 British volunteers over the age of 40. Health factors were compared between those who tested positive for Covid-19 and those who tested negative.
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