So many people seem to have come down with Covid over the festive period so I decided to put together this guide in how to support your body to a speedy recovery.
If you haven’t already got Covid, try to stay prepared in case you do come down with it. Keep stocked up with paracetamol, supplements and healthy foods. Could you batch cook some vegetable soup and put portions in the freezer? Don’t forget if you get ill you may not be up to cooking so it’s a great idea to keep stocked with easy to prepare healthy meals.
Covid-19 is an inflammatory disease; inflammation in the cells of the lung can cause coughing, breathlessness and may eventually lead to pneumonia.
An anti-inflammatory diet is one high in vegetables, low in sugar and processed food.
Meat and dairy products are also inflammatory since they contain large amounts of inflammation producing omega 6, so keep these low.
Omega 3 promotes a reduction of inflammation in the body, if you eat fish have 3 portions of oily fish a week or alternatively take a fish oil supplement or vegan equivalent— ensure it has EPA and DHA in it which is the active form of omega 3.
Many herbs and spices also have anti-inflammatory properties including chilli, ginger and rosemary.
Boost your immune system with essential nutrients
Important nutrients for the immune system include vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D.
Vitamin C and zinc
These both have anti-viral, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The body doesn’t store vitamin C so ensure you are getting some every day. Some good sources are:
- Oranges or clementines – try making your own freshly squeezed juice which not only tastes better than shop bought but also has a higher vitamin C content. Or just eat them.
- Lemons – try squeezing into hot or cold water.
- Vegetables – tomatoes, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and peppers are all a good source of vitamin C, especially if you can have them raw. If you are cooking them, gently steam to minimise vitamin loss.
Zinc is found in many foods including meat, fish, chickpeas and beans. Pumpkin seeds are a particularly good plant source – try adding a spoonful to your breakfast each day.
A vitamin C and zinc supplement would also be beneficial if you are suffering from Covid, to give yourself an additional boost.
Vitamin D has numerous roles in the body, including supporting the immune system.
A deficiency in vitamin D has been associated with more severe Covid illness.
We mostly obtain vitamin D from the sun which is an issue in Scotland as we are unable to get any at all during winter months even on a sunny day, due to the angle of the sun to the earth.
Therefore a supplement is essential, I like the Better You sprays like this one, which are easy to take and well absorbed.
A flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables including berries, onions, apples and citrus fruit and capers. Querciten is beneficial to the immune system.
Beta-glucans from oats and mushrooms are also beneficial to the immune system.
Reduce infection in the nose and throat
This is where infections start so try to nip it in the bud by gargling with salt water.
Inhaling steam with a tea towel over your head can hep clear the lungs
Ginger and honey can help relive coughing – try making a tea with fresh ginger and honey or vegan equivalent
Other things that may help
Cherry juice is a source of melatonin which aids the sleep cycle – this is helpful in any illness. I like this Cherry Active concentrated cherry juice – dilute it with hot or cold water and drink in the evenings.
Give your body a chance to heal, take time to rest and don’t rush back to work or other activities too quickly.
Bit of a tricky one if you are isolating, but if you have a back garden or private balcony you can spend time on that would be great, or even ensuring windows are open for some of the day will help get fresh air into your home.
Covid meal and supplement daily plan
Here is a suggested daily plan which incorporates all of the above suggestions.
Porridge or overnight oats made from oat milk with berries and pumpkin seeds.
Vegetable and lentil soup with onions, mushrooms, kale and broccoli, or whatever other vegetables you have. For a simple recipe click here.
OR sardines on toast
Vegetable stew or curry with chickpeas, beans or lentils and whole grain rice
Or salmon with potatoes and broccoli
- Hot water with lemon (and optional honey)
- Hot water with ginger (and optional honey)
- Cold water with lemon
- Freshly squeezed orange juice
- Tomato juice
- Cherry Active cherry juice in the evening
- Vitamin D – 2,000 to 5,000 IU daily
- Vitamin C – 1000mg 3x daily
- Zinc – 50mg 1 or 2 x daily
- EPA and DHA from fish oil or vegan equivalent if not eating oily fish
- World Council for Health Early Covid-19 Treatment Guidelines
- National Institute of Health: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets.