India reports surging COVID -19 cases in the last few weeks – alarming numbers of Covid-19 and its new variants spreading across India’s vast population. The extent of infection by covid variants is starting from the person being asymptomatic, mild symptoms as well as the need for hospitalization. The new variant, Omicron is reported to be less severe than the Delta, however, those affected do require supportive care and need to take all the precautions.
Mild flu-like symptoms need immediate attention, isolation, and supportive care. Good nutrition and self-care are key to fastening the recovery phase. Our immunity evolves stronger by previous infection or by vaccination. Therefore, get your vaccine doses completed! Keep your body ready to fight the worst! Today the cases are speeding due to the transmissibility of Omicron having a higher growth advantage.
If you have unfortunately tested positive for covid-19, and show mild symptoms, do not panic. Be in touch with your Doctor and a Qualified dietitian to follow the guidelines for recovery.
Let us understand the way forward in case one is tested Covid Positive…
Mild infections can be dealt with at home with care and being in touch with the health professional digitally.
- Isolate in a room.
- Keep your surroundings sanitized.
- Take good care of your health.
- Stay hydrated
Why immunity boosting is important for COVID 19?
What we must remember is that our body has the ability of natural defense. We have the tools and the weapons and the measures to keep ourselves safe – Our immune system. Any infection disrupts this system especially if it has been weakened. Therefore, we need to support the immune system so that it is equipped to fight the virus better. The cells can phagocytose (engulf and eat up) the virus particles. For this we need numerous cells, we need the cells to divide and be ready to attack the virus. This cell division of the immune cells and its production needs materials – protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals.
How to boost immunity using FOODS ?
Hippocrates said – Let Food be thy Medicine!
In COVID too, food can be that ASRTA(tool) to fight the infection.
Let’s see how nutrition can help to fight against COVID-19
In-home quarantine, an infected individual’s immunity is constantly fighting the virus. Promote your immune response by eating foods rich in nutrients that participate in the immune system. Good nutrition is required to support our immunity and fight the infection better
- Incorporate ingredients rich in immunity building and antioxidant B Complex, Vitamin C, and vitamin E. Sources are Milk, milk products, vegetables like spinach, fenugreek, amaranth leaves, avocados, etc, citrus fruits like oranges, amla, guava, and many more)
- Include minerals like Zinc, selenium, magnesium from sources like Seafood, Black Til, Garden Cress Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Chia Seeds, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Chicken & Eggs, Fishes like Mackerel, Tuna, Salmon, Bombay Duck
These vitamins and minerals promote immunity in numerous ways. These take part in immune-building reactions, promote regulation, and support immunity at a cellular level. Fruits and vegetables like oranges, lemons, and tomatoes are not only rich in vitamins, iron, magnesium, and folate but also have antioxidants that help in fixing the damage to the body. Seafood is rich in minerals that boost immunity, as well as reduce the stress caused by the virus
- Prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods (Bananas, apples, honey, oats, curd.) – maintain your gut health and better immune response.
- Certain functional foods- therapeutic spices, condiments, and herbs. (turmeric, ginger, garlic, cloves, tulsi, etc)
These foods possess antiviral, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Certain common deficiencies or the increased need in infections of these nutrients can be tackled with the help of supplements- Some that your doctor will suggest and those that you can check with him are:
- Vitamin D supplements- The exposure to the sun has decreased due to the lockdown situation. As well a poor protein-rich dairy diet makes vitamin D deficiency very common. Consult your doctor for the dosage. Remember if it is a large dose of 60,000 International Units it is to be consumed once a week only!
- Zinc tablets are suggested due to their ability to improve the health of the immune cells.
- Further Vitamin C chewable tablets are widely suggested as it promotes immune functioning.
Remember all these guidelines cannot prevent you from getting infected with Covid but are important in recovering from the same.
For children infected with covid, specialized care needs to be taken with constant observation and instructions by the physician.
As children are usually fussy about their meals, incorporate the above ingredients in creative recipes.
Fish cutlets (using oily fishes rich in Omega 3 like tuna, salmon, mackerel), vegetable soups with croutons, rainbow fruit salad, etc are possibilities.
Though the Omicron reports being less severe, it is still dangerous for vulnerable groups. People with several comorbidities are at risk to develop serious complications if infected. The elderly population is vulnerable as they have a challenged immunity with progressing age.
Read How to Boost your Child’s Immunity to make your children’s immunity strong.
For the elderly population, the nutritional requirements are difficult to maintain as they may show appetite loss, dental issues, or other difficulties. Here the role of supplements begins, supplements that contain vitamins along with minerals are to be suggested but always guided by a Physician. Care is to be taken to NOT Self medicate.
Cooking techniques to increase the nutritional content in the recipes are to be done- making dough in whey water, adding the nuts powder to milk, soaking chapatis in buttermilk makes them palatable and softer.
What is the importance of a healthy lifestyle during COVID-19?
A healthy lifestyle that incorporates home remedies will go a long way in fighting the infection.
Let’s look at some Astras (tools) to deal with the symptoms – Here’s how to increase immunity by home remedies
Keeping yourself hydrated
The hydration status of your body is important for optimal functioning. Taking frequent warm fluids will help relieve the symptoms like congestion, sore throat. Water losses through a runny nose, diarrhea, coughing, vomiting are symptoms that often lead to dehydration. It is important to keep drinking fluids along with water- soups, herbal teas, buttermilk, fruit juices, etc.
Enough water intake plays a positive role in managing fevers.
Some hydrating beverages suggestions:
- Warm Jaggery water with a pinch of cinnamon.
- Fresh berry sips – As the strawberry season is here, add crushed berry juices to your glass with some lemon zest
- Flower warmth! – Add some rose syrup, cloves, and star anise in your lukewarm water. This gorgeous pink warm drink will make you feel energized and provide the needed comfort to the itchy throat
- Lemon Tea [Avoid ice in drinks as it may worsen the symptoms of cold and cough]
Fresh vegetable soups for this winter season for you!
Steam helps in soothing congestion symptoms- clears nasal passage, relieves headaches due to cold. This home remedy helps in avoiding nasal congestion and difficulty in breathing due to the same.
Gargling with warm water mixed with salt alleviates sore throat and throat pain.
(Keep in mind, you are supposed to be isolated until tested negative. Do these tasks away from other members in the house)
Omega 3 foods to suppress pain
Fatty fishes like sardines, mackerel, salmon. Walnuts, flaxseeds contain omega 3 which has Anti-inflammatory properties. Helps to overcome signs like body aches, discomfort, stiffness, swelling, etc.
Want to learn more? Read our informative blog about Omega 3 foods
S Cube – Sleep, Stress reduction, Stop Toxins
Sleep- Get enough rest and sleep.
Stress– Reduce stress triggers or situations. Meditate, stretch yourself and be comfortable.
Stop Intoxicating your body– Avoid alcohol, as it further dehydrates and impairs normal body functions.
Track your Percents!
The oxygen levels in your blood can be monitored using a feasible device- Oximeter. The amount of oxygen in your blood is displayed in a percentage called oxygen saturation- “SpO2”
Normal Range- 95% – 100%
Anything below this will indicate low levels of oxygen [hypoxemia] and needs immediate care.
We at NutritionwithVibha.com have made you a resource that will help you track your or your loved one’s condition.
Strike the balance!
One way to maintain a healthy diet during the pandemic is by consciously approaching balance.
While preparing a balanced meal, consider including 4 major components:
- Energy sources:- Whole grain Rotis, Rice, Khakhra, Idlis, etc.
- Protein sources:- Dals, Curd, sprouts, Animal products- Milk, eggs, meat, etc.
- Good fats:-Ghee 2 tsp per day, rotating usage of different oils- olive oil, mustard oil, flaxseed oil, rice bran oil, etc.
Also, invisible fat sources like Nuts, Milk, and Milk products are to be consumed as per requirements.
- Fibers (soluble and insoluble forms):- Whole grains, pulses, fruits, and vegetables.
What to eat during a Covid infection?
Let the meals be a mic of the simple – but nourishing and a few that can be made to specifically boost immunity,
Vegetables are a wonderful source of disease-fighting chemicals as well as fiber. There are various ways to incorporate them as soups that are easy to prepare and easy to have even in case of low appetite.
Some Quick meal options can be:
- Vegetable Ragi Soup
- Vegetable Dal khichdi with curd.
- Roti topped with ghee [add boiled dal while preparing the dough] along side sauteed veggies with crushed paneer.
Quick snacks can be:
- Boiled sprouts with turmeric and pepper
- Boiled eggs.
- Warm milk with powdered nuts.
- Avla and nuts nibbles
Check out our specially curated recipes by Dr. Anuradha Mitra for fighting the COVID infection:
- Healthy Beetroot Poha
- Palak- Methi- Panner Bhurji
- Lentil & Tomato Saar
- Sweet and Spicy Muraba
- Coconut- Date & Garden-Cress Nibbles
- Fresh Turmeric Root & Mango Ginger Pickle
Connect with a qualified dietitian for your very own personalized plan.
Precaution is always better than cure!
The worsening health of the citizens equals the worsening state of the country. We are all in this battle with the pandemic. To avoid getting infected, simply follow the norms- Wear a mask, avoid visiting crowded places, follow social distancing, keep sanitizing.
Lastly, we hope that the pandemic ends soon, and things go back to normal. Till then, nourish your health, hop on your hobbies and spend time with your loved ones.
Write to us at [email protected] for more information or a resolution of queries or to share your recipes and what worked for you in these times.