Eating a nutrient-dense diet can help someone recover from COVID-19 by supporting their immune system and managing inflammation. This may be particularly important if they lose their sense of taste or smell and have the temptation to eat stronger tasting, less nutritious foods.
People can support their bodies in recovery at home by eating a nutritious diet. This article looks at what experts advise to eat when individuals have COVID-19.
This article also details the symptoms of COVID-19, how the loss of taste and smell affects diet, what to do if vomiting occurs, and some frequently asked questions.
Eating a nutritious diet is an essential consideration in recovering from COVID-19.
The following foods and nutrients may help a person recover from the disease.
According to a 2022 review, experts associate a diet involving healthy, plant-based foods with a lower risk and severity of COVID-19. In addition, the study found that a healthy, plant-based diet may particularly benefit people with higher socioeconomic deprivation.
A diet high in saturated fat
Therefore, eating the following foods can provide fiber, essential vitamins and minerals, and phytochemicals, which are helpful compounds that plants produce.
Learn more about the Mediterranean diet.
According to a
Learn more about tips and tricks to eat more protein.
The review also notes that dietary fiber consumption correlates with lower mortality from infectious and respiratory diseases. Consuming fiber can also lead to more favorable gut bacteria, which lowers inflammation. People can consume beneficial fiber in:
Learn more about high fiber foods.
Omega-3 fatty acids, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), may have beneficial effects on COVID-19. These
Oily fish is a high source of omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, plant-based foods, such as flaxseed, walnuts, and hemp, contain alpha-linolenic acid, which the body can convert to EPA and DHA. People can also take an omega-3 supplement from fish or algae.
Learn more about omega-3-rich foods.
However, people can include vitamin C-rich foods in their diet when they have COVID-19 to help support their immune system. These
Learn more about foods high in vitamin C.
Vitamin D plays an important role in the body’s immune system.
People get vitamin D from exposure to the sun and foods such as beef liver, egg yolks, cheese, and fortified breakfast cereals.
Learn more about foods high in vitamin D and other sources.
However, zinc is an essential mineral for immune function, and eating foods that contain the substance may support recovery from illness.
Foods containing zinc
Learn more about foods high in zinc.
A 2020 meta-analysis of research estimates that
Learn more about how COVID causes loss of taste and smell.
People who experience a loss of smell or taste may go off foods they usually eat or prefer foods with more salt, sugar, or fat, as they may be able to taste these more. However, individuals need to ensure they eat plenty of fruit and vegetables for their vitamin and antioxidant benefits. Avoiding too many high sugar or high fat foods is also advisable, as these can be inflammatory.
Additionally, people can try adding more robust flavors such as citrus, herbs, and spices.
Some people experience nausea or vomiting as symptoms of COVID-19. They may not feel like eating but should ensure they hydrate with fluids.
Individuals should consult a doctor if they have excessive vomiting or go off food for longer than expected.
Here are some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and food.
According to the CDC, most people with mild to moderate COVID-19 can spread SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease, no more than
However, most individuals with more severe to critical illnesses are likely to be able to spread the virus no more than 20 days after their symptoms began.
However, people can wipe down food packaging with an antibacterial wipe as an extra precaution.
When someone has COVID-19, they should aim to eat a nutritious, balanced diet that supports their immune system.
Nutrients, such as vitamin C, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, can help the process of recovery. Similarly, a person should ensure adequate fiber and protein from nutritious sources.
If someone has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should avoid eating too many inflammatory foods such as sugar and fat. Instead, they may want to try eating individual fruits and vegetables rather than one-pot meals that disguise their flavor.
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