Recovering from COVID? This anti-inflammatory diet plan will help

Recovering from COVID? This anti-inflammatory diet plan will help

May 24, 2021 0 By admin


COVID-19 has taken the world by storm. Many countries across the world have been severely impacted by the virus and currently, India is trying to shake off this nightmare. For those recovering from coronavirus, Dr Vishakha Shivdasani, a Mumbai-based physician, has put together a handy book with eating tips and meal plans to help fasten the process of recovery. 

In her book, COVID and Post-COVID Recovery, DoctorVee’s 6-Point Plan, Dr Shivdasani says that understanding inflammation is the key to knowing how your body is likely to respond to COVID-19. Inflammation is the process by which the body alerts the immune system, letting it know that it needs to heal and repair the body’s tissues or fight an invader. She breaks it down and provides a detailed anti-inflammatory diet plan:

An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Plan 

A good anti-inflammatory way to start the day is to begin it with turmeric (haldi) and black pepper. (Piperine, present in black pepper, enhances curcumin absorption in the turmeric by up to 2,000 per cent. Combining these spices therefore magnifies their anti-inflammatory effects.) Can either mix both and drink; you can also add other anti-inflammatories like basil (tulsi) and ginger to a glass of water, boil, and drink. 

Meal plan: Non-vegetarian

Breakfast 

Two full eggs—protein and good fat—is a great way to begin the day. Don’t worry about cholesterol; you need the good fats to balance the sugars and insulin. Protein will increase antibodies. 

Note Do not begin your day with a carbohydrate. Have it at the second meal of yogurt, which is rich in probiotics, for gut health.

Lunch
Any carbohydrate with a non-vegetarian dish and portion of leafy vegetables (in the ratio of 1:2 carbohydrate: protein). You can add a bowl of yogurt, which is rich in probiotics, for gut health.

Evening snack 

A low glycaemic index fruit (apples, oranges, berries) and a handful of nuts or avocado or cheese and olives or hummus. Have it with a cup of green/white/matcha tea for its antioxidants and polyphenols. Avoid coffee if you have a racing heart rate or are anxious. 

Dinner

Avoid carbohydrates; only protein and vegetables. 

Note Include at least one portion of a green leafy vegetable a day as it is a good source of magnesium which will not only help with insomnia but also with anxiety, stress, and cardiac problems. It is also a rich source of iron. Make sure you squeeze some lemon on it to help the absorption of iron; it will also help with fatigue and hair loss.

Meal plan: Vegetarian 

Breakfast
Sprouts/a sprouted lentil pancake/almond milk smoothie (no sugar/honey/agave, but you can use berries). 

Lunch

Rice and a lentil (this combination completes the amino acid profile and makes it a good quality protein) or any carbohydrate with leafy vegetables and protein. Some yogurt too. 

Evening 

A low glycaemic index fruit (apples, oranges, berries) and a handful of nuts or avocado or cheese and olives or hummus. Have it with a cup of green/white/matcha tea for its antioxidants and polyphenols. Avoid coffee if you have a racing heart rate or are anxious. 

Dinner

One or more protein source like cottage cheese/sprouts/mushrooms/tofu with one non-cereal carbohydrate i.e., vegetables in any form (soup/salad/stir-fry/ cooked veggies). Again, avoid cereals. Either cottage cheese/tofu with veggies/salad with cheese or soup and stir-fry/sprouts. 

Sprouts contain zinc, which is important for gut health and for COVID-19 patients experiencing loss of smell. 

Dr Shivdasani also stresses the importance of gut health

“Feed the good bacteria, starve the bad ones ! Consider this: 70 per cent of our immune system is in our gut. That’s why taking care of our gut health is essential. Both good and bad bacteria live inside the gut, and what we eat predominately determines which of the two will flourish. My diet protocol promotes the feeding of good bacteria and starving of bad bacteria which, ultimately, promotes immunity.

 Good bacteria strengthen immunity as they aid in fighting pathogens (like COVID-19). They also release toxins to counter the effects of the pathogens gut—where 90 per cent of serotonin, the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter, is produced. So, how do you promote a healthy gut? 

Eat prebiotics…

Feed the good bacteria already in your gut prebiotics, a type of fibre that helps them thrive. Garlic, berries, onions, and apples are great examples of prebiotics. 

…and probiotics
You can consume good bacteria, known as probiotics (either fermented or cultured). Probiotics are present in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi. 

Include good fats

Increase the consumption of good fats such as Omega-3, an anti-inflammatory found in cold water fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel. When eating meats, choose grass-fed over grain-fed as the former is higher in Omega-3. For vegetarians, nuts and seeds are a great source of Omega-3; flax and chia seeds, and walnuts contain high amounts.

Eat the rainbow
Another beneficial change that can help strengthen the gut is to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in the diet. 

Say goodbye to sugar
Sugar feeds bad bacteria which, in turn, depresses our immune system and weakens our ability to fight COVID-19, and other diseases. It promotes inflammation, which is the root cause of most comorbidities that are associated with worse outcomes of COVID-19, irrespective of age. So, stop eating sugar and foods that our bodies rapidly change into sugar.

Excerpted with permission from COVID and Post-COVID Recovery, DoctorVee’s 6-Point Plan by Dr Vishakha Shivdasani, Harper Collins. Paperback edition out soon.