Five ways to manage Covid-19 symptoms through a healthy diet

Johannesburg- With countries taking on stronger measures, trying to curb the spread of COVID-19, a healthy diet is particularly important for people showing signs of the virus or those who are recovering from the virus.

While good nutrition is vital  for boosting the immune system, there are other healthy ways to ensure that one’s health is not compromised.

“COVID-19 increases your body’s requirements for energy and protein. Sometimes, the COVID-19 symptoms may cause loss of appetite. To maintain your mental and physical well being, it is very important to eat well and stay active,” says Registered Dietician, Omy Naidoo.

A recent study by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization shows that diets vary widely around the globe. They are influenced by access, incomes, habits and culture.

However, there are some common truths about how to maintain a healthy diet regardless of where people live.

“Those who have COVID-19 often have respiratory symptoms, such as cough, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath. Even with all viral infections, from the flu to COVID-19, basic nutrition is important to support your body’s immune system and help with recovery,” adds Naidoo.

Nutrition plays a very important part in the recovery phase when infected with COVID-19, here are five tips to use to get the nutrition that you need.

  1. Maintain your weight

Many people lose a lot of weight and muscle when they are infected with the virus, which makes it harder for them to recover. It is important to try to maintain your weight so you are able to do your daily activities.

2. Eat more calories and protein

A small increase in protein and calories can help you to maintain or even gain weight and strength. It is important to try and eat every 2-3 hours and include protein in your food.

3. Nutrition supplements

If you are unable to maintain your weight by eating the right food, you may need to take a nutritional supplement drink. These drinks add calories, protein, vitamins and minerals when you cannot eat food.

4. Drink enough fluids

Continue to drink water even if you are not thirsty, check if alcohol is permitted with your doctor. Water, however, is the best choice, but you can also consume other drinks, fruits and vegetables that contain water, such as lemon juice (diluted in water and unsweetened), tea and coffee.

5. Eat fresh and unprocessed foods every day

Eat fruits, vegetables, legumes which are lentils or beans, nuts and whole grains (e.g. unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat, brown rice or starchy tubers or roots such as potato, yam, taro or cassava), and foods from animal sources (e.g. meat, fish, eggs and milk).

“Having poor nutrition may compromise your immune function and increase your chances of getting infected with COVID-19. Good nutrition is vital for the delivery of energy sources and ensuring that you have a strong immune system,” concludes Naidoo.

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