The Post-COVID Recovery Diet
5 best foods to help you bounce back
Beating back the SARS-CoV-2 virus is no mean feat, but the process of regaining your full health can be a long, arduous journey too. Due to lingering after-effects that vary in intensity from person to person, COVID-19 can continue to make you feel poorly, even after testing negative.
Fatigue, inflammation, pulmonary fibrosis—scarring on the lungs leading to shortness of breath, chronic fatigue and dry cough—hair loss, joint pain, insomnia and feelings of depression and anxiety, are just some of the symptoms you might be feeling. Here are some foods that can help a speedy recovery.
High bioavailability of nutrients in chickpea sprouts makes this an ideal dietary element during recovery. Not only do sprouted chickpeas have an amino acid profile that is better suited to digestion than unsprouted ones, their phytic acid content is also low thereby enhancing our ability to easily absorb its vitamins and minerals. Chickpeas are also a great source of fibre. Studies reveal that a high-fibre diet is related to lower levels of inflammatory cytokines and enhanced levels of short chain fatty acids—a key factor in maintaining healthy gut microbiota, which plays an important role in better immunity. Sprouts are also rich in critical B and C vitamins, which supports our energy production and tissue-repair abilities.
Muscle wasting, body aches and exhaustion are commonly seen due to hypermetabolism and excessive nitrogen loss during the COVID infection. To overcome this, try amaranth which offers good quality protein, iron, selenium and magnesium. Protein and selenium are also needed for the antibodies we make as an immune response. This pseudo-cereal also provides a balance of nutrients that reduces hair loss after COVID.
Antioxidant-Rich Pomegranates can help restore respiratory strength after COVID-19.
Pomegranates are rich in punicalagins and punicic acid both of which have high antioxidant properties. This nutrient-packed fruit helps restore respiratory strength by boosting the concentration of nitrates in the blood and its powerful anti-inflammatory compounds aid in reducing joint pain and swelling.
Healthy fats in almonds are a rich source of oleic acid, which helps stabilize high blood-sugar levels and fights inflammation—one of the most harmful long-term effects of the COVID virus. Just about 20 almonds a day can provide 37 per cent of vitamin E and 20 per cent of magnesium requirements, both essential for recuperation. Vitamin E helps protect our cells from oxidative damage while magnesium increases energy and muscle strength, boosts restful sleep and reduces stress. Higher magnesium intake is also linked to reduced symptoms of depression.
Packed with potent metabolites including gingerols and shogaols, ginger is traditionally used as a flu fighter and has been found to help control high blood sugar post-COVID. Ginger juice helps in reducing mucous and soothing a sore throat. It improves blood circulation and cell oxygenation and is a natural prebiotic, meaning it acts as food for good gut bacteria.
Lovneet Batra is a clinical nutritionist and natural remedies expert.