What to eat while recovering from Covid

Proteins, vitamins and minerals are needed to speed up recovery process

nutrition rep Representational image | Shutterstock

When Geethika Vijay, a single mother from Bengaluru, was down with Covid, her friends supported her. “They took turns and cooked for me and my children,” recalls Vijay.

The 45-year-old had fever and loss of appetite. Her neighbour, a nutritionist, would send her chikku almond milkshake and fresh juices, which helped her recover faster.

Good nutrition is very important before, during and after Covid-19 infection, says Anam Golandaz, clinical dietician, Masina Hospital, Mumbai. “The road to complete recovery from Covid-19 is tiring as many people experienced fatigue, weakness and the loss of energy, appetite, strength, muscle mass and weight. During the recovery phase from Covid-19, we need more proteins, vitamins and minerals to speed up the recovery process and rebuild our immunity. Having a good intake of protein and energy-rich foods supports rebuilding muscles, maintaining immune system and increasing our energy levels to allow us to do usual activities,” says Golandaz.

Eat right while recovering from Covid. Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. They provide vitamins and minerals, which improve immunity. Do not overcook the vegetables as it leads to loss of nutrients. “Add probiotics such as Kefir, Tempeh, buttermilk in your diet; it will improve the gut bacteria after the heavy antibiotic and steroid used in treatment. Simply add a bowl of lentils, beans, or chickpeas in every meal,” suggests Golandaz.

Never complete your meal without a protein source as well, says Edwina Raj, senior dietician, Aster CMI Hospital, Bengaluru. Include eggs, nuts, soya, seeds, dals, beans, chicken, fish, mutton, peas, dairy and others in each meal. Covid causes loss of muscle mass. So it is important for Covid survivors to have a protein-rich diet.

For vegetarians, soyabean, pulses, sprouts and milk products are highly recommended, says Debjani Banerjee, head of dietetics, PSRI Hospital, New Delhi.

Eat small and frequent meals rather than large meals at longer intervals. Eat healthy snacks like nuts and sprouts. Also, keep your body hydrated. Drink 8-10 glasses of water.

“The key is consuming food rich in Vitamin C like lemon, citrus fruits like orange, kinnow as these have strong anti-antioxidant property specific to lung health. Further food like ginger, garlic, tulsi, almonds that help support the immune [system] should also be taken,” says Banerjee.

Always switch to whole grains instead of refined grains like maida and white bread, says Saheli Biswas, clinical dietician, Kauvery Hospitals, Electronic City, Bengaluru. “Also, add fresh curd in your diet. It helps to boost gut health.”

For some, recovery from Covid could be a long and arduous journey. A balanced diet can help the patient bounce back faster.