Influence of foods and nutrients on COVID-19 recovery: A multivariate analysis of data from 170 countries using a generalized linear model

Clin Nutr. 2022 Dec;41(12):3077-3084. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.03.018. Epub 2021 Mar 22.


Background & aims: COVID-19 is an emergency public health problem of global importance. This study aimed to investigate the effect of foods and nutrients as complementary approaches on the recovery from COVID-19 in 170 countries, especially considering the complexity of the disease and the current scarcity of active treatments.

Methods: A retrospective study was performed using the Kaggle database, which links the consumption of various foods with recovery from COVID-19 in 170 countries, using multivariate analysis based on a generalized linear model.

Results: The results showed that certain foods had a positive effect on recovery from COVID-19: eggs, fish and seafood, fruits, meat, milk, starchy roots, stimulants, vegetable products, nuts, vegetable oil and vegetables. In general, consumption of higher levels of proteins and lipids had a positive effect on COVID-19 recovery, whereas high consumption of alcoholic beverages had a negative effect. In developed countries, where hunger had been eradicated, the effect of food on recovery from COVID-19 had a greater magnitude than in countries with a higher global hunger index (GHI), where there was almost no identifiable effect.

Conclusion: Several foods had a positive effect on COVID-19 recovery in developed countries, especially food groups with a higher content of lipids, proteins, antioxidants and micronutrients (e.g., selenium and zinc). In countries with extreme poverty (high GHI), foods presented little effect on recovery from COVID-19.

Keywords: Coronavirus; Hunger; Macronutrients; Multivariate analysis; Nutrients.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Diet
  • Linear Models
  • Lipids
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nutrients
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vegetables


  • Lipids