More than 80% of individuals infected with the COVID-19 virus experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without any special treatment. There is no single food or natural remedy that has been proven to treat COVID-19 infection as declared by WHO1. Nevertheless, learning from recent research in relation to COVID-19 infection, it is obvious that nutritional status plays a significant role in patient outcomes2. Balanced nutrition helps the immune system fight infections, so delivering adequate nutrients through healthy food and fluids is essential for individuals to recover from the infection. Due to its safety and ease of application, nutrition is well-placed to have a key role in the challenge of “keeping healthy people healthy”.
In order to help improve the nutritional status, our team of clinical dietitians at Clearcals has designed a general diet plan for individuals infected with COVID-19 and people attending to such individuals. It could also be followed by healthy individuals without any comorbidities to reduce the severity of illness if infected with the COVID-19 virus.
This plan consists of nutrients that positively impact immune function such as adequate amounts of protein, low saturated, trans fat, and omega-6 fatty acids, high omega-3 fats, fiber, whole foods, and micronutrients including vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, selenium, iron, and other phytonutrients. In order to compensate for the increased calorie requirements of fever, the number of meals in this plan has been increased to seven by adding four small meals of snacks and beverages along with the three major meals. To provide relief from coughs and sore throat, various options of hot beverages such as green tea, lemon tea, ginger tea, and immunity booster tea were included in the diet plan. For improving the antioxidant levels in the body, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables is recommended.
Other general guidelines to help reduce the severity of the infection and accelerate the recovery were suggested at the end of the diet plan. Individuals with existing chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, obese or overweight individuals, and the elderly are reported to develop a serious illness due to COVID-19. Nutrition recommendations for such individuals with comorbidities are described here
- WHO COVID-19 advice for the public: Mythbusters
- COVID-19: Role of Nutrition and Supplementation