Quarterly scientific journal

Original Paper

Pages 24-33

The effect of consumption of legumes and cereals on the immune system, in the "era" of COVID-19: online epidemiological research in a sample of the Greek population

Iliana Zamplakou , Demosthenes Panagiotakos

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Background: Legumes and cereal are unappreciated food groups, when it comes to the defense of the public’s health. The aim of this study was to briefly review the role of the consumption of legumes and cereal on the enhancement of the immune system, as well as to investigate possible changes in their consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: An online, epidemiological study conducted in December 2020, by completing anonymous questionnaires. 2135 men and women, over 17 years old participated from all over Greece.

Results: 25% (n=531) of individuals stated that they increased the consumption of legumes and cereals during the COVID-19 pandemic, 12,54% (n= 265) decreased the consumption and 62,46% (n=1318) did not make any alterations in their habits. The 36,35% (n=776) of individuals stated that they improved their eating habits towards the healthiest. The 40,28% of those who stated an improvement in their diet, also stated that they increased their consumption of legumes and cereal (p<0,001). Data analysis showed no correlation between the change in the consumption of legumes and cereal and the infection of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) (p=0,909).

Conclusions: The fact that just one third of the participants stated that they improved their nutritional habits, is both encouraging and disappointing. Encouraging due to the fact that some took this opportunity to improve their diet, and possibly to further been protected from severely infected, but disappointing as that percentage is not as high as one would expect.

Keywords: Nutritional habits, legumes, cereal, COVID-19, epidemiological study

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