As a practicing Clinical Nutritionist, I suggest everyone should have a good nutrition diet for maintaining good health post COVID-19. A balanced diet can help to combat your nutritional needs and aids in faster recovery. Therefore, post COVID nutrition will help your body fill these gaps to make your body healthy like before.
When infection is there, we all know the importance of taking good protein and micronutrients in fighting infection, but it is more important in patients recovering from post COVID illness. It is very important to meet the increased nutritional requirement of your body for replenishing your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Here are eight tips for post COVID nutrition you can follow.
Tips For Post COVID Nutrition
1. Eat Meals Regularly
Regular meal intake provides essential nutrients to the body. These nutrients are responsible for boosting the body’s immunity. Try eating meals 4-6 times a day, every 2-3 hours. Eat food even if you don’t feel hungry. You can control your portion size and plate size to avoid overeating.
2. Consume More Calories
Avoid low-calorie diet foods, skipping meals, and fasting to recuperate your body. Calories are needed to protect muscles from breakdown for energy. With the increased stress of COVID-19, you need more calories than your normal diet.
3. Proper Protein Intake
Try to have a high protein diet of 75-100 grams per day. The essential amino acids help in building immunity and antibodies. Include protein-like 2-3 servings/day of thick dal, milk & milk products, nuts, and seeds. Besan, sattu, lentils, peanut, paneer, cheese, mushrooms, white sesame seeds are the best options non-vegetarians can include all of these along with a lean meat diet. Protein supplements can help to meet increased protein needs.
4. Eat Fruits And Vegetables
Seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables give nutritional add on such as dietary fiber, micronutrients, and antioxidants. They help to build immunity. Have 2-3 servings of fresh fruits and 3-4 servings of vegetables daily. Fruits like oranges, kiwis, strawberries, guava, papaya, and other citrus fruits are with vitamins include green vegetables, carrots, and gourd varieties in the diet.
5. Consume Herbal Drinks
Include herbal drinks like kadha, haldi/turmeric milk, ginger/sunth tea, green tea, and other herbal drink teas to uplift your energy levels and strengthen the immune response. Herbal drinks do not contain caffeine. Although caffeine has many benefits for the body, post COVID nutrition will advise you to consider herbal drinks.
6. Hydrate Your Body
Hydration is needed; infection can dehydrate your body, so it’s important to hydrate yourself. Consume other fluids like hydrating fruits, saar, soup, and herbal teas. Intake of caffeine should also avoid consuming sweetened fruit juices, syrups, packaged fruit juice carbonated beverages. Drink 10–12 glasses of water daily.
7. Use Healthy Fats
Use healthy fats like unsalted nuts in moderate amounts as midtime snacks instead of chips nachos. Consume omega 3 rich foods, e.g., flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Have low-fat milk and dairy products. Do use skimmed milk powder in vegetable gravy. Soups can increase the nutritional value. Avoid eating fried foods that contain trans-fat. Practice healthy cooking methods like steaming or boiling instead of frying food. Avoid fast food, deep-fried snacks, cookies, bakery foods, etc.
8. Limit Salt And Sugar Intake.
Doctors recommend limiting the salt intake to less than 5 g per day and use Iodized salt. While cooking, limit the added salt amount and avoid using high-sodium condiments. Avoid high sugar snacks like cookies, cakes, and chocolates; instead, choose fruits and nuts.
- Include food items like lotus seeds (makhana), Ragi/nachni, soybean, milk and milk products, calcium-fortified food, figs, raisins, almonds are good sources of calcium in an Indian diet.
- Germination and fermentation of grain and pulses increase zinc content and helps in bowel movement.
While recovering from corona, a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes proteins, whole meals, fruits and vegetables, and hydration can help build immunity and regain strength, limit fat, salt, and sugar in the diet. Qualified clinical nutrition can help you to achieve this as per individual needs.