Nutrition for anybody suffering with COVID-19 has been at the top of the list of dos and donts when trying to recover from this dreadful disease. The need to consume the right types of food is absolutely essential if a full and speedy recovery is to be achieved. Here we look at some of the diet and food advice from around the web.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
The best place to start is the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for any COVID-19 patient. In the beginning try to achieve at least 50% of the nutritional requirements of the patient. Move to 70% by day 3 and get to 100% by day 7 which is the end of a week.
Calorie Requirements Based On RDA
Try to achieve these values in terms of nutrient intake:
- If you are not obese then stick to 25-30kcal/kg Actual Body Weight
- If you are overweight or obese then attempt 25-30kcal/kg IBW or Adjusted BW
- Underweight -25-35kcal/kg Adjusted BW
- Protein requirement – 1-1.5gm/kg/ Actual Body Weight which is roughly between 75 and 100 grams daily.
- Fats requirement – 25-30% of the total calories
Multivitamin, minerals & trace elements:
- Vitamin D – 10 (400IU)-1000micrograms/day
- Vitamin A – to be consumed through diet
- Vitamin E – 134-800mg/day
- Zinc – 30-220mg
- Vitamin C – 200mg- 2gm
It is thought that these micronutrients increase the activity of T- and B-cells which are involved in the normal functioning of the immune system. They would also be needed for COVID-19 recovery.
If diarrhoea is an issue then oral nutritional supplements are appropriate. Attempt to take between 400 and 600 kcals every day along with 30 grams of protein through supplementation is necessary. The assessment on nutritional need is repeated every three days.
Clearly hydration is one of the most important elements of the diet and cannot be underestimated. It is recommended by most nutritionists that between 8 and 10 cups are drunk every day. For an adult this amounts to about 2 litres as a target level.
If water is not available then even fruit, vegetables, soup, broths, tea (normal and herbal), kadha and other drinks that contain water should be taken. Coffee can also be drunk but too much caffeine is an issue.
Dealing With Changes In Taste
One of the symptoms of catching COVID is not only feeling very unwell but suffering with changes in taste. It’s not easy to manage and requires the sufferer to adjust foods to find our what works well. Trying out different foods if they are available is one way to achieve the nutritional goals cited earlier.
Oral nutritional supplements, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are critical for anyone attempting to recover from COVID-19.
Maintain a balanced diet with plenty of High Biological Value proteins. A protein-rich diet should be the one to aim for because the immune system will be require it and it should help repair damaged muscles and other body tissues. Protein supplements are advised by many and these include the following: legumes, peanuts and soya, pulses, dairy such as milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, fish, and chicken.
Leftover food should be discarded safely.
Plenty of physical activity and breathing exercises where possible.