You probably already know what to do in the event of a mild case. Isolate, monitor your symptoms and seek medical attention if they get severe. You might not be aware of what to eat to get well again if you are positive for COVID-19.
Although research into how certain foods may impact your recovery from SARS-CoV-2 is still in its infancy stages, it is well-known that a healthy, balanced diet is crucial to maintaining an immune system. Here’s everything you need to know about COVID-19.
What we know about diet and COVID-19
Health says there is no evidence that certain foods can make COVID-19 symptoms less severe. Amidor states that there is no scientific evidence linking healthy eating habits and a shorter duration of COVID-19. However, some foods and more specifically the nutrients in them appear to be more effective in helping the body respond to invaders.
Vitamin D is an essential component of the immune system. A 2017 review and meta-analysis published in The BMJ found that vitamin D supplementation–especially in participants who were deficient–was found to protect against acute respiratory tract infections. Other micronutrients, such as vitamin A, Vitamin B6, and vitamin E among others, have also been linked to better immune health. Some macronutrients such as fiber or protein have also been associated with stronger immunity.
It is possible that fermented foods can also play a part in immune health. A 2021 study published by the journal found that fermented foods lead to greater microbiome diversity, which can affect immune response.
However, much of the research on diet and immunity is based on how people eat before they get sick. This means that your immune system cannot become a powerhouse overnight.
Many people think that eating while suffering from COVID-19 is about eating well and feeling well. If you or someone in the family has COVID-19, here are some foods that you can add to your grocery list.
Fruits and vegetables
A great way to improve your general health and immune status is to eat a lot of fruits and veggies. Vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables rich in immune-supporting micronutrients such as vitamins A, C, and D, as well as zinc, are:
- Citrus fruits
- Sweet potatoes
- Bell peppers
These foods provide key micronutrients and many of them also give you complex carbohydrates. These foods can help you maintain a steady energy level throughout your day, which could be helpful when dealing with COVID-19 fatigue.
Blend fresh fruits in a smoothie if you have a sore throat or scratchy throat. If you are looking for something warm and comforting, soup is a good option. “Soup is a great way of sneaking in vegetables and is light on your stomach,” said Health dietitian Ana Reisdorf MS, RD.
Whole grains contain prebiotic fiber, which is “food” for healthy bacteria. A healthy microbiome is linked to a more functioning immune system. This is likely because beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract reduce inflammation.
You might also try barley and oatmeal if COVID-19 is putting you off. Both are rich in beta-glucan fiber, which is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Both have a smooth texture so they won’t cause a scratchy or itchy throat. Quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice are all high in fiber.
You may have heard the myth about dairy triggering excess phlegm production. This is why it should not be consumed if you are sick. Experts recommend it, even if you have COVID-19. Amidor stated that yogurt is a great place to start. Yogurt contains active cultures, which act as probiotics. Some probiotic strains have been shown to boost immunity and improve digestive health.
You’ll tolerate yogurt and yogurt-based foods such as smoothies and shakes well even if you are ill.
If yogurt isn’t your preferred choice, milk can be used to support a healthy immune response. Amidor stated that one cup of milk contains 13 essential nutrients including vitamins A, D, protein, selenium, and zinc. These are all important for normal immune function.
Foods to Avoid
Foods high in sugar and processed foods, such as fast food, fried food, and soda, can cause inflammation, which makes it more difficult for the body to fight sickness. Avoid these foods if you want to feel your best.
As your body recovers from COVID-19, you’ll need to be careful about how much alcohol you consume. Amidor stated that excessive alcohol consumption can make it more difficult for your body to protect itself against foreign invaders. Alcohol can also cause inflammation in your gut, which can have a negative effect on the good bacteria that keeps your immune system healthy.