What to eat when Covid-19 comes calling

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What to eat when Covid-19 comes calling

What to eat when Covid-19 comes calling
© Provided by India Today It’s a no brainer that when down with Covid-19, the body needs to fight the virus, and in doing so, what goes on your plate matters. As the infection brings down energy levels drastically and as muscle loss causes weakness and fatigue, eating a balanced and nutritious diet is key.

Load up on vitamin C

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Vitamin C can help keep infections at bay, form antibodies, and enhance overall immunity. “If you include vitamin C in your diet, you will be able to fight the free radicals present in the body,” says Dr Bipin Jibhkate, consultant, critical care medicine and ICU director, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, Mumbai. “So, have oranges, red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomatoes, guavas, broccoli and even kiwi.”

Increase protein intake

Ideally one should have a protein-rich diet in order to deal with muscle loss and maintain metabolic functions. So, pulses, soya, milk products, nuts, seeds, khichdi, paneer, curd, eggs, chicken and fish should be included in the diet. Instead of frying any food, grill, steam or sauté it. Says Dr Jibhkate, “Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables or add them to smoothies or shakes. Try to have milk, kadhas after consulting the doctor and drink enough water. You can also have coconut water, kimchi and kombucha as they are loaded with probiotics and can boost immunity.” For snacking, chickpeas, paneer, seeds and nuts, and makhanas are good options. Try to include eggs and boiled sprouts in breakfast and have at least one fruit a day.

Modify your diet plan

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Diet modification is important when down with Covid-19 as what you eat and drink during the infection will play a huge role in determining how quickly you are able to get back on your feet. According to Shruthi G, dietician and nutritionist, Manipal Hospital, Hebbal, Bengaluru, “Proper nutrition and hydration are vital and your meal plan should take cognisance of that. Remember to eat small portions of nutrient-rich diet as frequently as every two hours and drink fluids/ water after every hour.” While ginger tea/ coffee/ skimmed milk can be taken early morning, for breakfast, it could be a toast with omelette, idli with mint chutney, oats porridge, or millet upma. For lunch, ensure to have chapatis or rice with sabji, dal and veg/ chicken/ paneer/ egg curry and for dinner, daliya khichdi with veggies. At bedtime, have skimmed milk with a pinch of turmeric.

Fluids and more fluids

Drinking water or liquids is important to replace the body’s fluid losses and thin respiratory secretions. About two to three litres of water, soups such as vegetable soup or chicken broth soup, help. As do herbal teas. The digestive system goes for a toss when you have Covid. Fresh orange juice prepared at home helps boost the immune system, removes toxins from the body, and also aids in digestion. Buttermilk, rich in iron, calcium and magnesium, also helps in hydration, eases digestion and acidity, and prevents dehydration.

Must-eat while recovering

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You need to include each and every nutrient in the diet. “Try to eat selenium-rich foods that can help improve cell health. Eat whole grains and even pumpkin seeds. Have herbal teas and turmeric milk to strengthen the immune system and try to include soups like carrot, broccoli. tomato and even rasam,” advises Dr Jibhkate.

Stick to these post-recovery

A well-balanced diet is equally needed post recovery and should include liquids such as lassi and amla juice, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, lettuce and kale to boost immunity. Salmon and tuna are rich in vitamin A and vitamin B, which help lower inflammation. “Restoring immunity is important after Covid-19 infection as it damages the body and slows the digestion process,” adds Dr Jibhkate.

Remember to avoid alcohol, smoking and passive smoking post-recovery as alcohol will damage the liver and smoking takes a toll on the lungs, which have already been adversely impacted by Covid. Cut down on sweets, desserts, ice creams, candies, chocolates and outside food. Home-cooked food is the best option while recovering.

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