ROAD TO RECOVERY- FOOD AND COVID
With all of the medications and multivitamins that one may be taking, it is also important to include a nutritious meal in one's diet when recovering from COVID-19 in order to revive the weakened immune system. A well-balanced and healthy diet helps strengthen the immune system and speed up recovery. It is widely known and scientifically proven how contagious the virus is and how quickly the symptoms can escalate if not treated at the earliest. The body needs energy and fluids to battle the infection and prevent it from spreading to the lungs, so it's important to eat nutrient-rich foods.
Those recovering from the coronavirus, according to the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom, need more proteins, vitamins, and minerals to speed up their recovery and restore their immunity. With this in mind, and social media being the connoisseur for spreading information promptly, a number of well-known nutritionists and influencers took to Instagram to share a diet plan for COVID-19 patients.
Covid is now known to be an inflammatory disease that can last up to eight months after discharge, affecting various organs, especially the liver and lungs.
All nutritionists, celebrity dieticians and social media influencers are sharing tips daily, educating people about what to consume and what to avoid, as well as tips to benefit people during their recovery from covid.
Few common points are:
High Calorific Value
A lot of energy is expended battling the virus that is present within the body, making us feel exhausted and tired. At this stage, calorie-dense foods must be added to the diet in order to regain shape. Sweet potato, along with whole-grain cereals such as millets, oats, and rice, as well as starchy vegetables such as potato, can help to raise calorie intake and energise one.
Protein is an important nutrient for cellular growth and regeneration. It is the foundation of life, and our bodies need it for faster recovery. M Sowmya Binu, a Senior Nutritionist with Netmeds.com, recommends 75-100 grams of protein per day. Adding more lentils, milk and milk items, soy, nuts, seeds, meat, chicken, fish, and eggs to the diet will help a patient recover faster.
Vitamins and Minerals
Micro-nutrients with the strongest evidence for immune support are:
Other nutrients that may help include:
Plant Phytonutrients (from plant-based foods) may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects
Fresh fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, all of which help to improve immunity. These are a great addition to the diet in order to speed up recovery and improve the immune system. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which aids in the production of antibodies and the battle against infection, while green and root vegetables aid in the immune system's strengthening. Experts also recommend spending time outdoors, following proper social-distancing norms to get adequate vitamin D.
Water is needed for survival. It transports nutrients through the bloodstream, controls body temperature, and removes toxins from the body. Furthermore, an infection may cause the body to become dehydrated, Doctors recommend drinking at least 2-3 litres of water a day. To get added nutrients with water, people can drink herbal concoctions, coconut water, milk, and fresh juice. Packed juice, caffeine and fizzy drinks are not recommended by professionals.
Apart from the basics, internet hacks, out of the box research and experimentation has made experts all over the world come up with abstract yet helpful solutions to beat Covid and post-Covid weakness.
We're all aware of the various advantages of eating an alkaline diet, but can it also help with COVID? In his book "Survive Covid: By Staying Alkaline," Dr. Eapen Koshy claims that "acidic food consumption, electromagnetic radiation, and an immune-lowering lifestyle" have all contributed to a weakened immune system, leaving humans susceptible to diseases such as Covid and cancer. Apart from leading an alkaline lifestyle, the author advises readers to adopt "a higher change in thought, and the need to transition to a simpler earth-synchronous way of life." Our body's pH balance, according to Koshy, "determines our health status more than any other parameter." The "white blood cells, which are on the frontline of our immune system and protect us from infections, become lethargic and depleted" in a body with an acidic pH balance. "An alkaline pH of 7.4 is the ideal balance for a human body to stay healthy and free of disease." A well-oxygenated, alkaline-balanced body has sufficient immunity to combat diseases successfully.
A viral video of an Instagram reel by influencer Lakshita Sehgal showed how she got her smell and taste back post-covid. She showed burning an orange on the stove till its skin is charred, followed by smashing it with brown sugar.
She ate the mixture hot and confirmed it works. Although many people might be skeptical about it, her comment box was filled with people claiming it worked and helped in regaining smell and taste.
So, to boost the immune system and achieve faster recovery from Covid, following is a meal plan by WHO (World Health Organisation) :-
Include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains and foods from animal sources (e.g., meat, fish, etc.).
Daily portion recommendations:
2 cups of fruit (4 servings).
2.5 cups of vegetables (5 servings).
180 g grains.
160 g meat and beans (red meat 1-2 times/week and poultry or fish 2-3 times/week).
Snack on raw vegetables and fruit, rather than foods that are high in sugar, fat or salt.
Avoid overcooking vegetables and fruit - to avoid the loss of important vitamins.
If using canned fruit or vegetables - choose wisely, avoid varieties with added salt and sugar.
Drink 8 - 10 cups of water daily.
Bottom line- good nutrition and proper hydration accompanied with a well-balanced diet keeps you healthy, strengthens the immune system, and reduces the risk of contracting diseases.
It is recommended that a diet with a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods is followed daily, to provide the body with the necessary vitamins, minerals, roughage, protein, and antioxidants.
The best chance for ending the pandemic is to merge the three methods to work as a team, rather than to pick between masks, social distancing, and vaccinations accompanied with proper food habits.
(Written by Siddhipriya Chatterjee)