Nutrition & COVID Recovery
Nutrition can impact recovery from COVID-19 infection and is important for return to normal activities of daily living. When patients have been in the intensive care unit (ICU) because of difficulty breathing or being on assisted ventilation, it is hard to get all the nutrients the body needs. Being in a hospital for a prolonged period of time, or having respiratory issues, or other complications of COVID-19 in or out of the hospital, results in loss of lean muscle tissue, and can result in impaired immunity, increase risk for other infections, affect wound healing, and increase the time it takes to recover from illness.
Patients who have underlying health conditions such as hypertension, chronic respiratory illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, obesity, tobacco use, or who are elderly, are especially vulnerable. It is really important to get plenty of rest and eat well-balanced meals for recovery.
Some guidelines for eating well include drinking plenty of water -at least 64 ounces a day unless your physician says otherwise. Aim for at least 5-7 servings of non-starchy vegetables a day (that means eat less of the potatoes and corn and more of your greens!), lean protein such as chicken and fish, and plant-based proteins such as beans and chickpeas. Use healthy fats such as avocados, or olive oil which have antioxidants including omega-3 fatty acids.
Taking care of your body by eating healthy, staying hydrated, getting enough rest, and practicing mindfulness and meditation, will go a long way in recovering from COVID-19.
Connect with others recovering from COVID in the online COVID-19 support group.