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Diet In Covid

Nutrition is a critical determinant of immune response and the most common cause of immunodeficiency globally. With so many whatsapp forwards and sales gimmicks it’s important to point the facts and ignore the fads. The most important fact one needs to know is that there is no one single magic food that will boost your immunity and protect you from covid. A complete balanced diet will enhance your immunity and while on one hand will reduce your chances of getting Covid and at the same time help you recover faster if at all you do contract it.

While a balanced diet is of prime importance, the protein rich diet needs to be consumed for a fasterrecovery. Below are the common guidelines that need to be followed by a person who has Covid:The diet must consist of the following groups:

A) Macronutrients:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Fats

B) Water

C) Micronutrients:

  • Vitamin A, E, C
  • Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium etc
  • Carbohydrates - Include whole meal flours- ragi, jowar, bajra etc.Avoid refined flours like Maida and bakery product. Ensure carbohydrates are included in the three main meals of the day. A simple poha, upma, idli, dosa, oats, dalia or ragi porridge for breakfast can be consumed. Roti made from whole meal flours or rice can be included for lunch and dinner.
  • Proteins - it is important to ensure that the protein intake is stepped up to 1.5gm/ kg body weight. This can be done by including the following foods:
    • A) Pulses, Legumes and Soya bean - it is important to include at least 4-5 servings of these during the course of the day. Simple dals, sprouts,usal and snack items such asdal chila , dal dhokla or chana chat can be incorporated in the diet.
    • B) Milk and Milk products - include at least 3-4 servings (1 Serving = 100 ml /gm) during the course of the day. This can be consumed in the form of simple milk and curds. Please note its safe to consume curd at room temperature for a person who has a cough or soar throat as long as its not served chilled but at room temperate. Milk and milk products provide a good quality of protein for vegetarians.Haldiwaladoodh is only a good option if you enjoy the taste
    • C) Non Vegetarian food - Egg whites provide complete and easy protein so while the yellow may be restricted to one a day, an average person can safely consume 4-5 egg whites a day to step up the protein intake. Fish and Chicken – can be included as a part of the meals as long as its cooked well. Raw meats or eggs are not advised. Opt for lean meats like fish and chicken over red meats such as pork, mutton or beef as they are lighter on the system.
  • Fats- the body needs fats and must be consumed daily in moderation while excess may be avoided. An approx. of 3-4 tsp oil of which ½-1 tsp can be a saturated fat consumed in the form of butter or ghee. (1 tsp=5ml) can be used daily.Omega-3 fatty acids can be incorporated in the diet in the form of walnuts, flax seeds, flax seeds oil and fish or fish oils.
  • Water- Hydrate yourself. At least 2.5-3 Litres of water per day. While warm water may be soothing for the throat, lemon or Mint flavored water can also be consumed.
  • Micronutrients:Vitamin C can be added to the diet naturally by including foods such as Amla, Guava, Orange, Raw Mango, Red Amaranth and capsicum. Squeezimg lime over foods is a great way of enhancing iron absortion by the body in addition to Lime juice being a great source of Vit C.
  • Vitamin E rich food sources are Almomds, Sunflower Seeds, Flax seeds, Safflower seeds and Garden cress seeds. All of these can be easily added to a kheer or porridge.
  • Zinc is present in most of the cereals and dals. They are also rich in fods such as Eggs, chicken, soyabean,blacktil and nuts and oil seeds.
  • Magnesium is commonly found in Ragi, Jowar, Pulses, almonds, Cashews, Green leafy vegetables and Sunflower seeds.

Most importantly consume simple home cooked meals and include all the above foods for a smoother recovery. Refrain from eating highly salted packed or processed foods and ensure hygienic practices while cooking. Avoid excess of any food group. Aim at including a simple fruit daily instead of opting for juices.

While you may be discharged from the hospital or your home quarantine period will be over the body will still take a while to regain its complete strength.it is advised to continue the balanced diet with higher proteins for the next couple of months. The protein servings can then be gradually reduced.

Eat healthy and stay healthy