The most common side effects while recovering from COVID is fatigue, body ache, and muscle weakness. After fighting the tough battle against the virus, your immune system is likely to be exhausted. We had a word with Lavleen Kaur, a dietitian and clinical nutritionist based out of Chandigarh, and she enlightened us that recently recovered patients need to feed the body with essential proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients to boost the recovery process.
Here are the detailed diet suggestions:
- If you are experiencing fatigue or weakness-Take one dry fig (anjeer), two dates, and three to four soaked black raisins first thing in the morning. These dry fruits consist of Iron content which helps with a good supply of oxygen to your cells.
- Chew clove or small cardamom or jaggery with 1 tsp of fennel seeds to sedimentary or lethargic feeling, especially after meals. These foods will keep your blood sugar level stable.
- Try to avoid caffeine during your recovery process. It might give you that kick-start, and you may feel energized, but it will be temporary. It slows down your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). You might also end up relying on the caffeine too much, and not in a healthy way.
- Stay hydrated. We cannot emphasize the importance of this simple step. There is no fixed number of glasses or liters; just check the color of your urine to determine dehydration. Dehydration can also lead to headaches, fatigue, and general irritability.
- Take a break from your usual gadget-filled routine and try to activate your brain functions conventionally. Spend time with your friends and family and switch off the dullness that occurs due to blue light.
- Add pulses, legumes, sprouts, dairy, soya, cottage cheese, eggs, and chicken to your diet, which will supply the required protein to your body. Remember, protein intake is essential and requires extra attention to recover from any muscle tissue loss and regain strength. Soak pulses and legumes for a few hours before cooking to reduce the amount of phytic acid content (an anti-nutrient), which will aid in digestion.
- About 70% of the immune system is housed in the gut, so ensuring our digestive system is in good shape will ensure a healthy immune system. Probiotics are the colonies of good bacteria which live in our gut and determine the gut’s health. Therefore, rejuvenating probiotics through food items like curd, kanji (fermented drink of black carrot/ beetroot), buttermilk, fermented dishes like idli, dhokla, and good old pickles, and fermented chutneys should be an essential part of your daily routine.
- Micronutrients play a crucial role to help your body recover from this virus. Add nutrient-dense foods such as fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds to your daily routine.
- Take anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods that can strengthen your gut and boost immunity. This includes Amla (gooseberry), coconut either in solid form or just its water, Jaun Sattu (barley sattu) in buttermilk, lemon, raw seasonal vegetables, and fruits.
- COVID-19 and other viruses cause the body to lose water due to fever and infection. Add a variety of fluids to your diet like coconut water, herbal teas, soups, and kaadha with traditional Indian spices and herbs to keep the hydration intact.
- Milk with a pinch of turmeric before bed will help with body pains and relax your muscles. Do not forget to add a dash of black peppercorns to improve your digestion.
- You may need to continue your multivitamin supplements such as Vitamin C, Zinc, and Vitamin D for a few days until your dietary intake is insufficient. However, consult with your doctor before taking or stopping any kind of supplement or medicine.
Things to avoid: –
In addition to taking a healthy diet, it is essential to avoid harmful products while recovering from this deadly virus. Avoid caffeine, refined and processed foods such as bread, white flour, sooji, biscuits, packaged foods, fast food, and fried food. Take a break from alcohol and smoking as they can negatively affect your health. Also, remember excess of anything is dangerous; this includes over-exercising too. Straining your body more than it can handle can end up with you feeling weak for the rest of the day, so take it easy.