Nutrition: Why good nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices are key to recovering from the virus

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IF YOU are struggling to recover from a Christmas, Covid or other virus, there are many nutritional tools that can help you recover and get back on your feet.

When our immune system is down, the body needs extra support to help us recover. While Omicron continues to grab headlines, there is little mention of how crucial good nutrition is in the recovery process from Covid and other viruses.

Our immune system is a complex network that includes white blood cells (like T cells), chemicals (like histamine), and organs (including the digestive tract). When we are hit with an infection, our immune system needs extra nutrition to help it function effectively and efficiently.

White blood cells need extra protein – often the body draws on our muscle stores to meet this extra demand, which can lead to muscle loss and weight loss when we are sick. As we recover, we need to get this protein back into our diet.

The immune system also needs a lot of energy, so our demand for calories increases. However, choosing the right kind of calories is important. Whole-grain carbs like oats, brown rice, and whole-grain pasta, along with a good source of protein like eggs, plain yogurt, fish, or nuts, can help rebuild your energy and aid recovery.

Vitamins and minerals are essential for recovery, so include plenty of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, some dairy products, nuts, seeds, legumes and fish as a starting point. Look at the fundamentals of the Mediterranean style diet with all its colorful plant foods, herbs and spices, fish and meat for inspiration.

Consider reheating foods like casseroles, curries, chili, and soups to help rebuild and get you back on your feet.

Essential fats like omega 3, found in oily fish, have anti-inflammatory properties and are important for the proper functioning of the immune system. If you can’t cope with the idea of ​​fatty fish like mackerel and salmon, then a fish oil supplement might be more appealing: just be careful if you’re in mediation and consult your GP or pharmacist before taking a supplement.

Here are some other things you can do to speed up your recovery.

GET FRESH AIR INTO YOUR LUNGS: If you are not feeling well, you have probably been locked indoors with limited access to fresh air. Even if it’s cold outside, open the windows and help freshen the air in your home. Wrap up and venture outside for a while each day and breathe in some fresh air.

STAY WELL HYDRATED: Dehydration can give you dizziness, headaches and fatigue. If you don’t like cold water, try herbal teas with soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, such as cinnamon or turmeric.

AVOID ALCOHOL: it will dehydrate you and may make you feel worse.

AVOID CAFFEINE: especially if you have headaches.

AVOID SUGAR: it can deplete immunity, energy and mood.

EAT PROTEIN: Pack protein with every meal to aid in the production of immune cells and help your body repair and heal. Eggs, lean meat, fish, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, plain yogurt are all good sources.

EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: Eat a rainbow of colorful, seasonal fruits and vegetables to help get more antioxidants into your diet.

SLEEP MORE: Go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep.

Keep it simple. If you recover, you will probably still feel tired. Give yourself rest to help you recover.

:: WHAT ABOUT EXTRAS?

Much work has been done on how nutritional supplementation can help support recovery from viruses, including Covid-19. Most studies recommend taking a combination of vitamin D, vitamin C, and zinc as a baseline to support immunity during an active infection.

For most adults, it is recommended that you take these supplements for two to three weeks or until you recover. Here is what is recommended:

:: Vitamin D3 –3000iu per day.

:: Vitamin C – one orange a day is not enough. Adults can take 1,000 to 2,000 mg of vitamin C three times a day.

:: Zinc – can be very useful if you have lost your sense of taste or smell. Go for around 15 mg per day.

:: Quercetin – this one is especially important if you suffer from allergies. The recommended dose is at least 500 mg twice a day.

Hope this helps you recover soon.

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