Good diet, good sleep and exercise are essential for post-Covid recovery
Posted 05.06.21, 21:37
Many have recovered from Covid but the experience has left them weak, tired and fragile. What you eat or drink will facilitate the recovery process and help you get back to everyday life faster.
Importance of diet
Lack of appetite, loss of taste and smell, anxiety and fear prevent us from eating. If we don’t get adequate nutrition, our body will use up its natural energy reserves and you will experience muscle loss and weakness. In addition, when our body is fighting an infection, it needs more energy and fluids. Therefore, you will need to eat and drink more than usual.
Road to recovery
Increase calories: An adequate calorie intake is essential to regain energy. Eat foods that are nutritious and at the same time high in calories. Eat foods high in calories, such as whole milk, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, cheese, red meat, oily fish, and nuts. For those who cannot force themselves to eat more, the suggestion is to eat small amounts but frequently. You can eat every two hours. Drink meal replacements or protein shakes between meals. Increase the amount of oil in the cooking or pour a little extra ghee on your chapattis or dal. You can also include a dessert, such as custard or rice pudding, with your meals to increase the calorie quotient.
Eat slowly, take small bites, and breathe deeply as you chew. Eat sitting down and choose foods that are easier to chew. If you feel full too quickly, try drinking fluids between meals, not with meals.
Protein pack: Eating foods rich in protein should be the priority. Protein is the lifeblood of our body. Adequate protein intake is essential for cell growth and regeneration. It will help repair our bodily tissues during recovery and also support our overworked immune system to fight infection. If you are feeling weak and short of breath, increase the amount of protein in your diet to prevent muscle loss and improve respiratory muscle strength. So add things like lentils, legumes, milk and dairy, soy, nuts, seeds, chicken, fish, and eggs. If you have a poor appetite, eat foods high in protein. People with chronic kidney disease should consult a doctor before adjusting their protein intake.
Restore the gut: Infection and treatment with antibiotics can affect your healthy gut bacteria. It can increase inflammation in the body. Probiotics can also help restore immunity. Include foods rich in probiotics, like yogurt, buttermilk, and our traditional pickles. Some cheeses like cheddar, gouda, and mozzarella also contain probiotics.
Fluid filling: Even a mild fever can make you dehydrated. Water not only regulates body temperature, but also removes toxins. Try to drink 2.5 to 3 liters of water each day. You can also drink fruit juices, coconut water, light buttermilk, and lemon water with a pinch of salt. You can even try the chicken or vegetable soup. Patients with kidneys should avoid coconut water and fruit juices (if there is a potassium restriction). Diabetics should avoid fruit juices. Try to drink fluids at the end of a meal – drinking before or during a meal can make you feel overly full.
Move: Physical activity can exhaust you and take your breath away. However, being active and increasing your mobility can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health. The toxicity of the virus makes you lose your appetite and you may find that your muscles have weakened. In addition, prolonged illness means a longer stay at home, which in turn leads to reduced physical activity and leads to significant muscle loss. Patients in intensive care suffer from enormous muscle loss. Once your doctor gives you the go-ahead, exercise should be encouraged to gain stamina, strength, and for a better mood. Simple exercises, such as stretching, balance and control activities, strengthening exercises, should be started gradually under the guidance.
Deep breathing: During the recovery phase, breathing exercises will strengthen your diaphragm and bring vital oxygen into your bloodstream. It can increase lung capacity, subsequently strengthening your lungs. Deep breathing will also help you stay calm and ease symptoms of anxiety and fear. You can lie down or sit down to do breathing exercises. Belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing is a technique that has been shown to be beneficial in improving lung capacity and function. However, if at rest you experience shortness of breath or chest pain, stop exercising; it can make your symptoms worse.
To sleep: Many people during the recovery phase find it difficult to sleep well. They have trouble falling asleep / staying asleep, some wake up too early. It may have been triggered by anxiety, fear, and loneliness while in isolation. Get enough sleep, about eight to ten hours a day, because when you sleep your body speeds up the recovery process. Avoid using gadgets at least an hour before sleeping to minimize exposure to blue light.
Coverage of supplements: Consider a multivitamin supplement if you are eating too little. Whey protein supplements are a great choice for increasing protein intake. It is a convenient option for those who are alone and find it difficult to prepare meals. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. They will help reduce inflammation and may improve your immune response. Probiotic supplements can be used to restore gut health and immunity.
You have to remember, however, that the fire has not yet been put out, the battle is far from over, so put on a mask and get vaccinated.
Hena Nafis is a consultant nutritionist and owner of Nutrience Nutrition and Lifestyle Clinic and Eat Good Food Health Café. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram @nutriencebyhenanafis