What to eat when you have COVID-19 to relieve symptoms
What to eat when you have COVID-19 to relieve symptoms

What to eat when you have COVID-19 to relieve symptoms

Tests positive for COVID-19 raises many questions. What should you do now? Who should you tell about your positive status? And when the dust has settled, what should you eat when you have COVID?

Official guidance on COVID-19 is largely about things like testing, isolation, and keeping track of your symptoms. There is really nothing out there about a COVID diet, either to try to speed up your symptoms or make you feel better. But COVID-19 may come with some unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which may indicate that you may want to change your eating habits.

So what should you do dietary once you have tested positive for COVID? Here’s what infectious disease experts recommend.

How likely is it that what you eat affects your illness?

It is important to get this out of the way in advance: What you eat will hardly speed up the course of the disease, or what kind of symptoms you are experiencing.

“Right now there is no data showing that eating special types of food el takes certain vitamins against COVID-19 as vitamin D., zinc or vitamin C will affect the course of your COVID, ”says Thomas Russo, MD, Professor and Head of Infectious Diseases at the University of Buffalo in New York. But, he says, “people are still looking at this. The absence of data does not rule out the possibility that some dietary changes or improvements will benefit you.”

Which has been some data to suggest that having certain levels of vitamin D can prevent you from getting COVID and even lessen the chances that you will get a serious case if you happen to be infected. “But there is no evidence that subsidies, once you have been infected, have a benefit,” says Amesh A. Adalja, MD, a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Even things like vitamin C are unlikely to have any effect, he says, adding, “there is no evidence of benefits of vitamin C supplementation in people with adequate levels.”

You may have also heard that fermented foods can boost your immune system. And while research have found that people who eat fermented foods have a more diverse intestinal microbiome that can affect your immune response, nor is it likely to help once you are sick, says Richard Watkins, MD, an infectious disease doctor in Akron, Ohio, and a professor of internal medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University.

What should you eat when you have COVID-19?

It really depends on your symptoms. At baseline, “it is important to eat a normal diet and stay well hydrated during your illness, as fever can be dehydrating,” says Dr. Adalja.

You want to eat lots of fruits and vegetables along with lean proteins to ensure that you meet all your nutritional needs and keep your body in good shape, says Dr. Russo.

Beyond that, though, it really depends on your symptoms. If you are struggling with gastrointestinal problems, says Dr. Russo that you can try BRAT diet (Bananas, rice, apple sauce, toast) to see if it helps. But Dr. Adalja says you really should just “eat what’s tolerable.”

Another major potential symptom is losing your sense of taste and smell. If this happens to you, Dr. recommends Watkins that you are still trying to eat a nutritious diet even though you may not feel like eating much. “It’s important to maintain an adequate diet with enough calories,” he says.

You can also throw fragrance training into the mix in an attempt to restore your senses, says Dr. Russo. If you are not familiar with the exercise, scent training involves smelling certain strong scents, such as cinnamon and citrus, and imagining how they smell while you inhale. Studies have found that it can help people regain their sense of smell and taste, but research is underway.

Should you avoid food when you have COVID-19?

Again, it is unlikely that certain foods will affect the course of your illness, but eating certain foods can make you feel less than optimal while your body fights the infection. Fast food, fried foods and things that have a high content of added sugar can simply make you feel angry, in addition to the fact that you already feel bad about having COVID, says Dr. Russo. They can even increase inflammation in your body, although occasionally fried foods or treats will hardly do so in conjunction with an otherwise healthy diet, says Jessica Cording, RD, CDN, a dietitian and health coach and author of The Little Book of Game-changers.

It is also a good idea to avoid alcohol, says Dr. Russo, to prevent you from becoming dehydrated and contributing to more bodily inflammation. You also do not want to risk exaggerating it and make it even worse the next day, he says.

And there is also this to consider, according to Dr. Russo: Doctors cannot rule out the possibility that alcohol may affect your body’s ability to fight infections. “Better to be safe and give your body every edge to help eliminate the infection,” he says.

This article is accurate from the press time. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves rapidly and the scientific community’s understanding of the new coronavirus evolves, some of the information may have changed since it was last updated. While we strive to keep all of our stories up to date, you can visit online resources provided by CDC, WHOand yours local public health department to stay up to date on the latest news. Always talk to your doctor for professional medical advice.


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