Impact of COVID pandemic on attitude and prevalence of plant-based food products consumption in Serbia
COVID pandemic influence on eating behavior and dietary habits with respect to various plant-based foods in Serbia were estimated by an anonymous questionnaire. Most examinees agree that fruits and vegetables contribute to strengthening immunity and that herbal medicines and natural products have beneficial effects on health. Around 55% of examinees consider their diet balanced, and 4% have started to drink herbal teas more often when the pandemic started. Garlic and ginger were the most frequently reported newly included plants in examinees’ diet. The attitudes toward plant-based food products are not strongly dependent on the education level. The age and previous dietary habits of examinees have great influence in the current frequency of consuming fruits, vegetables, herbal teas, spices, and dietary supplements. There was a significant shift toward greater use of herbal teas and dietary supplements, especially among the population that has already consumed them occasionally. Somewhat concerning is the fact that around half of respondents use dietary supplements without the recommendation of an expert. People with good dietary habits and the elderly were most prone to improving their diet. Roughly 15% of all respondents now have the same habits as before the pandemic, although they improved their diets temporarily at the beginning of COVID pandemic.
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