India's COVID-19 recovery rate has surged past 93 per cent, and the active case curve seems to be flattening for the first time since the outbreak was announced. However, amid the vaccine news and progress, post-COVID complications have also seen a steady rise for recovered patients. Apart from more complicated conditions such as lung fibrosis, patients have also been complaining about chronic fatigue after returning home.
While monitoring your diet may seem like the simplest way to tackle it, it is crucial to make some changes to your lifestyle to get there faster. The Bridge Chronicle spoke to Bhairavi Pandit, a nutritionist, on what it takes to regain your energy post-COVID recovery. Here are some tips she recommends for the same:
"COVID-19 is a direct attack on our immunity, and it also damages tissues, causes muscle loss and in general takes away the feeling of well-being," she said. "However, there are a few measures you can take after you've been discharged, which will help you gain back your lost energy," she added.
"Eating adequate amounts of proteins will help restore all of the above, though gradually," said Bhairavi. "Including proteins like legumes, nuts, soy, milk, cheese or paneer, yoghurt. eggs, fish or chicken in each meal can be a great way to replenish your energy," she continued. If you're not someone who prefers meat, she also mentions how protein powders can do the trick. "The gist is to include proteins in all your meals in some way or the other. At least 75-100g per day," she said.
And by that, we don't mean edible colours! "It is important to refill all the vitamins and nutrients lost while fighting an illness, which is why we need to eat foods that are rich in vitamins minerals and anti-oxidants to recover well," Bhairavi stated. She also suggested adding more fruits and vegetables to your meals every day. "Remember to eat colour. The more you consume differently coloured fruits and vegetables, the better it gets!" she added.
She also recommends adding at least five servings of raw and cooked veggies, fruits in a day. "Make sure to include nuts and seeds in your meals, and then you will be filling upon your requirements of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and polyphenols," she explained. "Strawberry, blueberry, mulberry oranges and citrus fruits as also broccoli, cauliflower carrots are foods that are rich in antioxidants," she added.
Apart from making sure your dietary requirements are fulfilled adequately, she also mentioned how it is essential to spend some time in the sun to get your dose of Vitamin D.
Post COVID-19 recovery, it is of great importance to make sure that you're not compromising on calories. "A low-calorie diet is not what you should be aiming for, because your body requires energy to fight off the impact of infection apart from having some energy for your daily chores," she mentioned.
She also stated how eating the right nutrient-dense foods, including whole grains, potatoes, rice, jaggery and roasted chana or sprouts like mung helps combat the fatigue. "Combine cereals and dals or any other source of protein, to make it a complete meal. Don’t go for foods that are empty calories," she continued.
Apart from consuming water, Bhairavi asserted how staying hydrated helps avoid dryness of the mouth. "Water is a must, but along with it drink herbal tea, soups, broths or kadha to give you the required hydration," she said. "Drinking milk also helps. Fewer fluids will not only make you tired but also makes you feel irritable," she remarked.
Eating home-cooked food and staying safe is perhaps the key to building up your immunity post-recovery, Bhairavi mentioned. Sleeping adequately also plays a vital role in bringing back the body’s immunity levels to be able to resist infections. "It is not necessary to stick to mealtimes. Eat whenever you feel hungry. Eat small portions to avoid discomfiture," she added. "Exercising is an important factor in building back immunity and also in releasing energy. Try jogging, jumping rope, cycling. Be slow, to begin with. These exercises can be done on your own. Yoga and workouts also help. Breathing exercises help in fighting off stress as also walking or meditation," she concludes.