Many COVID survivors are confused in regards to what food is good and bad. Given below is an expert’s advice, on the best post-COVID diet. Eating the right way will help your healing process & recovery.
Nutrition and COVID recovery:
To have good health proper nutrition is important. Holistic Nutritionist, Shikha Mahajan, says that our food intake, helps us grow, mend, develop. The NHS suggests more proteins, minerals, vitamins, energy; for the people who overcame COVID. This aids with fast recovery, reclaim stamina & fortify immunity.
Post-COVID symptoms & their impact:
Some common effects are weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, and brain fog. There are over 200 symptoms, ou of which a few more are mentioned below: chest pain, difficulty speaking, anxiety/depression, muscle aches, fever, loss of smell, loss of taste, etc.
Post-COVID symptoms, impact the person’s life greatly. Even simple work is tiresome. They are unable to continue with their day-to-day activities. The recovery time varies for each. It depends on the physical & psychological state. However, in some individuals, the recovery is rather slow.
Eating the right food:
The body needs more energy, while & post fighting a virus. A balanced diet is a must for COVID recovery. Carrying on with dal, pulses, legumes, milk and its products, lean meats, egg whites, chicken, and fish; which are great protein sources. Keep away from fried, sugary items and packaged food. Fruits & vegetables in the form of salad, juice & soups.
Don’t desert gluten/ dairy products; unless they don’t suit you/ if your doctor says so. No intermittent fasting, your body requires nourishment often, i.e. every couple of hours. Remember not every fact you hear or come across is correct. So verify these facts with your dietitians. Before you start using that product/remedy ask whether it is suitable for your body and if it’s true.
Healthy snack ideas:
A bowl of salad, low-fat curd at room temperature, figs and dates, a spoonful of pumpkin, chia/flax seeds, boiled peanuts or chickpeas, a fistful of nuts (including almonds, walnuts), sweet potato chaat / seasonal fruits.
Don’t forget your fluid intake:
For our lung health, warm fluids are essential. While fighting an infection, the microbes are killed in the body. White blood cells ingest it and die. The dead cells are removed along with inflammatory molecules produced by body. This is done by detoxification with the aid of fluids.
The body becomes tired during COVID infection. Adequate fluid intake is necessary for the nutrients to reach cells, muscles and other tissues. It is also a must for heart health, endocrine balance and keeping the blood pressure normal.
Water (every two hours), coconut water, buttermilk with a dash of cumin and mint, chaach, and fresh juice with seasonal fruits (without adding sugar), chicken or vegetable broth soup.
Here are a few health drinks recommended by nutritionists, to make at home. This will improve hemoglobin levels.
- Blend one small amla, half a carrot & apple, 1 tomato, 1/4th of a boiled beetroot and half cup pomegranate; dilute it with little water to suit your taste.
- Kadha – To 300 ml boiling water add 10 basil (tulsi) leaves, four lightly crushed peppercorns, half inch grated ginger and one pinch cinnamon. Reduce the concoction to half and add one teaspoon honey.
- Concoction of coriander, cumin and fennel seeds (saunf) or lemon and barley water is good for general well-being.
How to go back to eating healthy meals as usual?
• Start increasing your calorie intake gradually. This helps your body to absorb the nutrients slowly.
• Take small & frequent meals. Three major meals and two – three light snack breaks are good.
• Get energy from good fats
• Drink more water and other liquids. Unsweetened fruit juices, herbal teas and tisanes. Herbal teas : mint tea, licorice decoction ( powerful anti viral drink).
• Avoid junk foods and excess spices , masalas.
• Include 10 gm nuts in your daily diet.
• Restrict oil intake to 3 tsp /day.
• Avoid rice-based dinner; include two cereal groups from wheat, ragi, jowar, bajra, and oats).
Some healthy drinks :
• Turmeric Tea – Ingredients are ground turmeric, ground cinnamon, black pepper and ginger powder.
• Barley Water – made by boiling barley seeds with carom seeds, cardamom, black pepper, cloves and turmeric.
• Pomegranate Smoothie – made with 2 cups pomegranate / 1 cup pomegranate juice, 1 cup almond milk (plain, vanilla, or cocoa-flavored), and 1 to 2 tbsp unrefined cane sugar or stevia as required. Inputs by dietitian Lakshita Jain.
Simple diet plan for you:
After waking up : 4 to 5 almonds, 1 date and a cup of green tea
Breakfast: 2 slices of multigrain toast with two eggs (boiled, omelette etc) along with with vegetables
Mid day snack: 1 bowl of fruit chaat
Lunch: 2 chapatis, 1 cup dal/chicken, 1 cup palak sabzi and cucumber-beetroot salad
Early evening: A smoothie made with coconut water, 1 kiwi or pear, 30 ml aloe vera and 1 tsp chia seeds
Late evening: A handful of makhanas
Dinner: 2 chapatis, 1 Katori paneer bhurji, 1 Katori gobhi aloo, and tomato carrot salad
Bedtime: 1 glass milk (boil with 3 anjeer + 1 tsp poppy seeds + 4-5 almonds + Haldi)
Surviving the pandemic is just the beginning, taking an appropriate diet is key for complete recovery. Get your own customized diet plan suiting your needs. Increase your fluid intake. Contact your physician if you have other symptoms. Don’t follow remedies from baseless sources.
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