Following a COVID-19 infection, you may have various symptoms that linger for three months or even longer. When this occurs, it is called ‘Long Covid’. Long Covid impacts everyone differently, but it eventually resolves over time and doesn’t appear to be linked to the severity of your illness when you first contracted COVID-19. Many of the symptoms of Long Covid affect your ability to eat well.
How to Help Your Recovery
Eating when you’re unwell can be a challenge. Your body needs a wide range of energy, protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and fluid to assist with recovery. Eating well increases your energy levels, helps your muscles rebuild and maintains your immune system.
- Choose carbohydrate foods such as potatoes or whole-grain bread, long-grain rice and wholemeal pasta that release energy more slowly and are high in fibre: these are known as low glycaemic index foods and are helpful when struggling with fatigue.
- Aim for five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit each day. Remember that frozen, tinned or dried varieties all count and are a good alternative to fresh produce.
- Opt for protein sources like beans, pulses, nuts and seeds, fish, eggs and white meat. Choose red meat and processed meat less often and in small portions only.
- Include fish twice a week, especially oily types such as salmon and sardines. Oily fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for our brain and cardiovascular health.
- Milk, cheese, yoghurt and fortified dairy alternatives are good sources of protein and calcium, which help keep muscles and bones healthy.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, milk and other sugar-free drinks.
- Plan ahead, keep easy, quick snacks, meals and nourishing drinks on hand.
- Eat regularly and avoid restrictive diets.
- Opt for a nutritious, balanced diet and a diverse range of plant-rich foods.
- Aim to keep a stable, healthy weight.
- Be kind to yourself. Eating can be difficult when you are unwell. Small changes work best.
Nik Adamson and Kate McDermott
Accredited Practising Dietitians,
Anglican Care Day Centres,
Alkira & ELMDS