We are going through a very tough time with everyday monster surges in COVID-19 cases all over the country, excluding a few districts. It almost seems like each and every household has one or more members down with this infection. Thankfully, we have a good number of people getting well too! Food plays a key role in any form of recovery. So which kind of food should a person infected with COVID-19 eat?
A Balanced Diet Is Key To COVID-19 Recovery
Each day, the combination of food should include:
- Whole Grains: Millets, oats, wheat, brown rice, white rice, all this as roti, khichdi, upama, Pulao, Daliya, Chilla etc.
- Proteins: Eggs, Lentils, Legumes, Dairy Products, Soy Products, can be taken as besan cheela, Dal Soup, Sprouts Chat, Moong dal Khichdi, Paneer Bhurji, Omelette, Dosa, chickpea bowl, rajma, etc.
- Fats: Good fats have anti-inflammatory acids like omega 3 fatty acids. So include flax seeds oils, extra virgin olive oils and safflower oil. Good fats can also be added from almonds, avocado, laddu with a mix of nuts, white sesame seeds, kalonji, ajwain all roasted in desi ghee helps provide essential minerals like zinc and magnesium for fast recovery.
- Fiber: Fresh fruits and vegetables are great sources of dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. So try to include two fruits a day, along with 2-3 cups of vegetables. This requirement can be met by adding soups mashed vegetables and fruits as small mid meals.
Apart from these main macros, here are a few things you need to consider:
- 2-3 liters of water should be included daily as infections dehydrate the body. Infused water, coconut water, water with honey can help meet the requirement.
- Immunity boosters like a herbal concoction, turmeric milk, soups and broth should be included at least one or two times a day.
- As far as possible, make sure that all fruits, vegetables are fresh and meals are home cooked.
- Always eat small and frequent meals as the body will not tolerate big meals at a time.
- Avoid alcohol as it is highly dehydrating and may inhibit your immune system.
- Limit salt and sugar
- Avoid packaged processed food.
Given all the dietary guidelines, a question may still come up as to how to manage adequate calorie intake when the infection has robbed you of your taste buds and sense of smell.
- Try adding lemon juice or vinegar in food, soups and water. The flavor of acids from them comes through even when smell or taste is impaired.
- Try going a bit heavy on spices like cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, garlic and ginger, which could add flavor back to food.
To make things a bit more clear, here is a sample diet chart, although it will be more customized as per symptoms.
- Early morning: 5 to 6 soaked almonds, two dates and lukewarm lemon cinnamon water or tulsi lemon honey water.
- Breakfast: Besan cheela or moong dal cheela or stuffed omelette sandwich or paneer paratha or idli sambar or vegetable uttapam with coconut chutney.
- Mid meal: Coconut water or any one fruit with one tsp mix seeds
- Lunch: Rice with dal and subzi or Ajwain roti with rajma and any green leafy vegetable
- Evening: Any herbal concoction (kadha or green tea) and chana/ sprouts/ sweet potato chat and any one fruit
- Pre dinner: mix veg soup or moong dal soup or chicken broth or boiled egg
- Dinner: Khichdi or vegetable daliya or oats cheela or oats with milk or Garlic roti with any dal and mixed veg
- Post dinner: One cup milk with turmeric and pinch of black pepper
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