Just recovering from COVID-19? Add these foods to your diet
Nutritionist and author, Suman Agarwal shares tips to tackle the COVID-19 infection better
Good nutrition is critical for health, especially at a time when your immune system has taken a beating and is in a weaker state than before. What you eat and drink now will play a huge role in boosting your immune system and that, in turn, will determine how quickly you're able to get back on your feet.
The next most important thing is protein, as antibodies are made of proteins. Thirdly, don't forget vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc and iron (to maintain hemoglobin level). Last but not the least, it's essential to keep one's fitness levels high. So, if you are wondering about the ways you can increase your immunity through your diet and the best ways to recover from the COVID-19 infection, here's where you can start:
1. Get your proteins
A protein-rich diet can help repair damaged body tissues, make up for the muscle loss that occurred while the infection lasted and boost the immune system too. Protein is also one of the best sources of energy and eating enough of it can help you overcome post-disease weakness. Agarwal recommends including a portion of protein-rich foods, like pulses, legumes, peanuts, milk, yoghurt, cheese, soy, eggs, fish and chicken, in each meal.
2. Choose nutrient-dense foods
Having COVID-19 , or any other infection for that matter means that your immune system has taken quite the beating. Replenishing the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your body needs is, therefore, an integral part of your recovery plan. Include plenty of fresh and seasonal fruits and veggies, as well as nuts and seeds in your diet, and have three to five servings of them every day. While this can provide for your requirement of most vitamins, minerals, polyphenolic compounds and phytochemicals, you'll also need to get 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight every day for vitamin D.
3. Don't neglect calories
Sure, a low-cal diet is great for when you're trying to lose weight, but you want the exact opposite after suffering from COVID-19 infection. More calories mean more energy to fight off the infection and the ability to recover faster. So, include calorie-dense foods in your diet but make sure they're healthy carbs. Opt for whole grains, potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, milk, avocados, jaggery and roasted chana.
4. Boost your mood
The COVID-19 infection affects not only your physical health but also leaves everyone anxious and feeling moody. Look towards foods that can have a positive effect on your mood and include them in your diet consciously. Agarwal's top picks include turmeric, chickpeas, walnuts, apples, pumpkin seeds, dried figs, and bananas. Eat at least two of these every day.
5. Stay hydrated
Your body would have lost a lot of fluids due to the infection and fever, so you should get plenty of them to speed up your recovery. Drink eight to ten glasses of water every day and include soups, broths, herbal teas, kadha, coconut water, and non-caffeinated drinks in your diet.
Here are two recipes designed by Agarwal that promise to keep you hydrated while making things fun:
1. Miracle Juice
A miracle juice that helps manage many ailments. It's also rich in iron–making it perfect for healthy hair and skin too.
½ beetroot, boiled
2 small carrots
1 amla (if available)
Juice all ingredients together and consume immediately.
To strengthen our immune system, kadha, an ancient Ayurvedic drink, serves as an excellent remedy. The drink is prepared in many variations and it's mostly a concoction of commonly found kitchen spices and herbs.
10 tulsi leaves
3-4 peppercorns, lightly crushed
1/2 inch ginger, grated
1 pinch cinnamon
Boil water. Add tulsi leaves, peppercorns, ginger and cinnamon.
Cook till the concoction reduces to half.
Add honey and consume throughout the day.