An important part of Covid-19 recovery involves hydration and nutrition, as well as the avoidance of sugar and processed foods.
With many vaccinated and boosted people contracting the latest wave of Covid-19, catching it twice or even a third time has turned into quite a high possibility. It’s important to remember that being in the endemic phase simply means we’ve learned how to live with the risks posed by the disease, not that the risks have vanished.
With herd immunity largely doing its thing, people are now treating Covid as you would other viral infections, although isolation still plays a big part in recovery. And a very important part of recovery involves the right nutrition.
Here are some of the best foods you can eat to help boost your immune system if you are recovering from Covid-19, regardless of which variant.
The lack of taste and smell as a result of the virus contributes to a diminished appetite, so consuming something that’s warming, comforting, and packed with vitamins is the most popular recommendation from nutritionists.
A hearty vegetable soup with a side of protein like chicken or tofu is a top choice, because vegetables provide plenty of essential vitamins and minerals needed for a compromised immune system.
Warm fluids are necessary for sore throats and congestion, and a nice bowl of soup is just what you need to soothe the respiratory system.
Another soup that makes a smart menu addition for those grappling with Covid-19 is bone broth. Most people experience a poor appetite when they get Covid-19, so soup is an excellent way to get nutrients in.
Making your soup with bone broth adds valuable nutrients, such as a higher protein content, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and other minerals. Many of these nutrients are needed for the immune system to function properly.
This is all made considerably easier to do here in Malaysia, as you seldom have to go far to find someone selling hot, fragrant bak kut teh!
When looking for vitamin-rich foods to eat during Covid-19 recovery, it’s best to go for berries, which are packed with antioxidants such as quercetin and vitamin C. These are necessary to reduce inflammation and provide resistance to infection by boosting immunity.
Berries contain powerful antioxidants called flavonoids that are responsible for providing immune-boosting benefits such as reducing free radical formation and oxidative damage with anti-viral properties.
Oatmeal is an excellent source of fiber, which “helps nourish the good bacteria in our microbiome and [sends] anti-inflammatory and virus-fighting signals to the immune system. Plus, it’s easy to zhuzh up oatmeal in healthy (and kid-friendly) ways by adding a handful of berries, a scoop of whole-fat yogurt, maple syrup, or even peanut butter.
Many of the symptoms associated with Covid-19 infections resemble those of the common cold or influenza, from congestion to coughs to sore throats. Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges are often recommended for such patients.
This is purely because they’re a great source of vitamin C, a helpful antioxidant commonly known to boost the immune system. On top of working to reduce and even prevent catching a cold virus, Vitamin C helps fight off the infections faster, as well as prevent any complications that these viruses might cause.
Salmon has consistently been a popular fish due to the fact that it’s packed full of healthy fats. However, to make sure you’re getting the best nutrients from salmon, it’s preferable to buy wild salmon instead of farmed. (They both typically have contaminants, but wild salmon tends to have lower levels.)
Rich in omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, wild salmon also has potent anti-inflammatory properties that play a key role in treating respiratory illnesses.
For adults and children dealing with Covid-19, hydration proves crucially important. Water performs many vital functions in the body, and being even slightly dehydrated can lead to or make worse any feelings of fatigue.
A fluid loss of just 1% to 3% can impact mental sharpness, focus, and energy — all of which are likely already compromised by a virus. If drinking water on its own is not up to your liking, try adding a slice of lemon for some zest and remember to keep sipping throughout the day in order to stay well-hydrated. For most people, a couple of litres a day is a good target.
Finally, the best thing you can do during Covid-19 recovery is to avoid all processed, sugary foods and liquids as they lead to systemic inflammation and a compromised immune function.
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