Lifestyle factors such as getting enough sleep, maintaining proper hygiene when eating animal foods, or limiting exposure to animal foods altogether can both improve our immunity and reduce our chance of contracting a virus. Swapping meat for veggies and grains seems to help avoid viral infections (including having lower HPV rates in vegetarians), and choosing organic will reduce one’s risk of being exposed to noroviruses, which have been found in conventional pesticides.
Butchers, slaughterhouse workers, and livestock farmers have higher-than-average cancer rates; this is likely caused by animal-to-human viruses or antigenic stimulation via contact with animal protein. Up to 10% of retail pork in the United States was found to contain hepatitis E virus.
One in five humans tested positive for a virus that causes obesity in chickens. Those who had the virus weighed an average of 33 pounds more than those who did not. Furthermore, studies on children suggest that this family of viruses may play a role in causing obesity in humans.
Bovine leukemia virus infects the majority of cattle herds in America and could explain the correlation between contact with livestock and risk of diseases thought to be induced by viral agents (see multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and “butcher’s warts”). Poultry, diet soda, fried foods, and pickled vegetables are associated with multiple myeloma, so those who have already have MGUS should avoid these foods. On the other hand, people who live with cats, dogs, and even household rodents may be less likely to develop these same diseases.
Topic summary contributed by Selena.