Post-Covid-Recovery Foods and Lifestyle

We are still amid the Covid-19 pandemic with different strains emerging all the time. The question here is what makes us more susceptible and then how do we recover once we have had the virus.

What makes you a high-risk person when it comes to Covid-19??

  1. Comorbidities: You could also come under ‘comorbidity’ (co-occurring disorders) which is the prevalence of 2 conditions at the same time; which could be body or mind-related. For example, you could have diabetes and a malfunctioning thyroid; or dementia and anxiety at the same time. Another cause for concern is the ‘inflammation’ that people suffer from; I see this a lot in my profession.
  2. Gut issues: People with gut issues, leading to inflammatory markers being a high and autoimmune disease.
  3. Metabolic syndrome: Long-standing or unknown metabolic syndrome which is a cluster of conditions (biochemical and physiological abnormalities) that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes (also referred to as cardiovascular disease-CVD or heart disease). The conditions that come under metabolic syndrome are high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal triglyceride and cholesterol levels. The WHO defined metabolic syndrome as impaired glucose intolerance or diabetes mellitus and/or insulin resistance together with one or more of the following conditions: raised arterial pressure, raised triglycerides, central obesity (i.e., a waist circumference of fewer than 40 inches in men and 34.6 inches in women). Having any 3 of these together puts you at a slightly higher risk for Covid-19.
  4. Cardiovascular Disease: It has been estimated that CVD or cardiovascular disease will be the largest cause of death in India this year (hindawi.com: Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome in Urban India).

As a nutritionist, I worry about all the people out there who are at a greater risk of falling unwell from Covid-19; and would recover faster if their dietary habits were better. This is why COVID-19 emerges as a public health problem. When you land up at the doctor, he is treating underlying symptoms; but not what’s putting you at risk.

It is, however, disappointing to see that even the Government is not focused on outlining parameters on healthy nutrition; especially in a country like India subsidizing good food for low-income groups (those larger in numbers in India). In my opinion, it’s extremely important to strengthen the gut, immunity and treat metabolic syndrome; and educate our poorer populations.

Check the following health parameters to make you less susceptible

  1. What is your glucose tolerance test telling you?
  2. What is your Hb1Ac? – average blood sugar over the past 3 months
  3. Do you have consistently high blood pressure?
  4. Central obesity: If you are a man is your waist circumference under 40 inches, and if you are a woman is it under 34.6 inches?
  5. What are your triglyceride levels?
  6. What are your cholesterol levels?
  7. What are your CRP levels (C-Reactive protein)?
  8. Do you suffer from candida? (Read my books The Beauty Diet or The Detox Diet)
  9. Check liver markers: ALT (appears as SGOT) AST (SGPT), ALP, albumin and bilirubin

On a food-front, you can do the following that will start helping you after you recover

  1. Stay away from sugar (including jaggery)
  2. Stay away from dairy products
  3. Stay away from white refined carbohydrates
  4. Eliminate all sweeteners
  5. Eliminate all processed foods
  6. Eliminate food that has additives and food colours
  7. Minimize meat consumption
  8. Eliminate refined oils
  9. Eliminate xenoestrogens these are endocrine disruptors (these are compounds that mimic estrogen, especially in plastic, solvents used at home, makeup, toxins around from industrial sites, insecticides, parabens [used in foods as preservative], lots of other preservatives in foods)
  10. Quit smoking

Add the following foods (closer to nature and that are more natural)

  1. Whole grains like brown rice and millets
  2. Lentils/whole beans/tofu/tempeh
  3. Lena protein if non-vegetarian in small amounts
  4. Vegetables all kinds: round and root and specially coloured, leafy greens and greens
  5. Fruits all seasonal local
  6. Fermented foods (pressed salads, quick pickles, sauerkraut, kanji: lots of recipes on my Instagram page @soulfoodshonali on IGTV)
  7. Good fats: through foods and cold-pressed oils (and ghee)
  8. Nuts and seeds

Top it up with

  1. Turmeric (with some pepper)
  2. A natural Vitamin C shot of lime daily
  3. Green algae: spirulina

Regularize your lifestyle

  1. Exercise: do both cardiovascular training and strength training (weights, pilates, yoga)
  2. Sleep get your 8 hours of sleep
  3. Do not skip meals – always eat on time
  4. Do not skip breakfast
  5. Stop snacking at night after dinner
  6. Chew your food
  7. Do a body scrub daily (there is a video on my Instagram @soulfoodshonali IGTV)
  8. Have plenty of plants around, if possible
  9. Meditate: Cultivate this important habit to be peaceful

In conclusion, you can recover from anything (including the Coronavirus) by working on your risk factors and strengthening your immunity and gut. This is entirely in your hands, something you have absolute control over, let’s take control of our post-Covid lives!

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