Recovering from Covid-19 isn’t the only battle to be won, but maintaining your post-infection health is a tall order as well. Covid is an inflammatory disease that can have lasting effects for up to six to eight months after the discharge affecting different organs, especially the liver and lungs. Covid-19 infection disrupts your immune system, so it is necessary to boost your immunity and regain your strength.
A good diet promotes faster recovery. Nutritional recommendations will depend on physical activity and disease symptoms, as well as other co-morbidities. Muscle wasting is the most common complication of serious illness, occurring in up to 50% of patients, which can dramatically lengthen recovery times, weaken immunity, increase the risk of infection, and lead to the development of wounds. and bedsores. Even those who did not need hospital support were mostly affected by severe weakness even after testing negative for Covid-19 due to a high catabolic state at the time of the virus attack. This infection can reduce our appetite and affect our ability to taste and swallow. It is therefore very important to follow certain dietary rules.
Adequate calories should be provided based on the nutritional status of the patient. Of course, a low calorie diet is great for trying to lose weight, but you want the exact opposite after suffering from a Covid-19 infection. More calories mean more energy to fight infection and the ability to recover faster. So include high calorie foods in your diet, but make sure they contain healthy carbs and not empty carbs. Go for whole grains, potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, milk, avocados, jaggery and roasted chickpeas.
Proteins are indicated as a top priority. Protein requirements are 1.2 to 2.0 g / kg of actual body weight. A diet high in protein can help repair damaged body tissue, compensate for muscle loss, stimulate the production of T cells, agents that promote healthy immune function, and overcome post-Covid weakness. Foods high in protein, such as legumes, legumes, peanuts, milk, yogurt, cheese, custard, rice pudding, soybeans, eggs, fish, chicken, beef and organ meats could be part of the meal.
Total carbohydrate should not exceed 100-150g per day. The use of carbohydrates leads to the production of equal carbon dioxide (called respiratory quotient) which should be avoided to decrease respiratory distress. A person with diabetes should be closely monitored for episodes of blood sugar. Persistent high blood sugar is an effect of the infection and can also delay recovery.
To maintain calories, the proportion of fat can be increased. Favor the use of medium chain fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. They play a major role in immune responses. They reduce inflammation. Butter, ghee, nuts, MCT oil can be used on the advice of a dietitian. Olive oil, rice bran oil, canola oil can also be used for cooking. Keep a jar of mixed nuts and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, jackfruit) by your side for an easy snack, these are powerful sources of essential fatty acids such as omega-3s and healthy fats.
Buy fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables for enough vitamins and minerals. Replenishing the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that the body needs is therefore an integral part of a recovery diet. Include 5-7 servings of plenty of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables each day. Although it can meet the needs of most vitamins, minerals, polyphenolics and phytochemicals. The essential vitamins required during the healing period are C and D. They help prevent oxidative damage to the body and reduce inflammation. So, fill the fridge with guava, orange, malt, peppers for vitamin C and get 15 to 20 minutes of sun each day with foods rich in vitamin D. Make one or two vegetable chutneys and keep them. , so that they can be used every day with rice or rutis.
Immunonutrients are specific nutrients that have a huge influence on immune function. There are several types of immunonutrients, such as arginine and glutamine, which support both the immune system and the digestive system. Our Bangladeshi cuisines are full of powerful anti-inflammatory and antiviral ingredients such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, cumin, cilantro, mint, cinnamon, honey, which are generally and can be used in different combinations. and various articles for the get well together. Curcumin (found in turmeric) is also an important aid for recovery.
Probiotics play an important role in posting Covid for faster recovery. The alteration of healthy gut bacteria is due to increased intestinal permeability. This pushes the inflammation further. Probiotics improve gut bacteria after the heavy antibiotics and steroids used in the treatment and also help restore immunity.
Your body would have lost a lot of fluids due to the infection and fever, so you should have plenty to speed up your recovery. Drink eight to ten glasses of water per day, including diluted milk, soups, coconut water (except potassium restriction), salted lemon water and ORS, herbal teas, non-caffeinated drinks, etc. For heart and kidney patients, the volume of fluid and sodium, as well as other electrolytes may need to be limited.
The frequency and regularity of meals are the most important elements for a speedy recovery. Small, frequent feedings would be preferable if appetite is less, the timing of fluid intake should be between meals and not with meals. The taste and smell may take a while to return to normal, making every bite of food totally tasteless, but it’s important to maintain your appetite with small and frequent meals.
Finally, post-Covid patients may also need support for their mental health. Once the patient is stable and the doctor gives permission, exercise should be slowly encouraged as tolerated and preferably done under control. And a recovery diet would not only help you regain your strength, but also boost your immune system and ward off further infections until you are fully back on your feet. So, eating is the best tool to overcome post-Covid malnutrition and weakness.
Let’s simplify the journey to post-Covid health!
The author is the senior nutritionist at Labaid Heart Hospital. E-mail: [email protected]