Nutritional advice during a Covid-19 infection
Dietary advice tailored for you
Everything we know about the virus so far suggests that Covid-19 symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. The most common symptoms include fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath. In addition, we may experience muscle pain, fatigue, headaches, a sore throat and gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea. A common symptom is a loss of appetite and the loss of the sense of taste and smell, which can also affect our appetite.
Hydration is extremely important as the combined effects of various factors (e.g., fever and its concomitant increased sweating, diarrhea) can easily cause dehydration. Therefore, we should strive to consume plenty of fluids (about 3 liters a day) in the form of water, non-carbonated mineral water, herbal teas, fruit- and vegetable smoothies, soups, or even isotonic drinks.
Good nutrition is crucial, high-quality calories even more so. This is because the body needs energy to help fight infections, but the source of the required quantity of calories is equally important. In case of a loss of appetite, smoothies made from fruit and vegetables, natural yogurt and/or oilseeds can help to maintain calorie intake. Broth is both soothing and beneficial for respiratory infections. Ginger can help with nausea - grate it into tea or add it to vegetable soups (tip: try ginger with carrot or pumpkin soup).
Food and drink to be restricted
• alcohol - dehydrates and suppresses the immune system
• more than 2-3 coffees a day - diuretic, so it also dehydrates
• difficult-to-digest foods - these include fatty, spicy Hungarian dishes, greasy deep-fried foods, dried legume dishes and anything that from experience burdens the digestive system
• biscuits and snacks - dry, can irritate the throat, easily exacerbate a cough, and contain no useful nutrients
To find out more about recommended ingredients and dishes, read our previous article.
The relationship between Covid-19 and food - key points
• According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), there is currently no evidence that the virus is spreading through food. The possibility of transmitting the virus to surfaces by coughing and sneezing is minimal.
• The coronavirus is typically destroyed at temperatures above + 60°C, so with safe heat treatment (maintaining a core temperature of 72°C for at least 2 minutes), any virus present in food will be rendered inactive.
• Unpacked vegetables and fruits should be washed thoroughly in plenty of water before consumption. When shopping, use disposable gloves, bags and handling devices to avoid touching the products with your hands, especially when buying baked goods. If you are or suspect you may be infected, avoid food shopping and order online home delivery instead.
• Ordering food is safe as only a healthy person can work in the food preparation sector, and likewise deliveries can only be carried out by a healthy person. Whenever possible, avoid payments using cash. After unpacking the food, handwashing and hand disinfection are recommended. Heat the food thoroughly before eating.
If you feel that you need help, would like to discuss your questions with a specialist, or would like more guidance, please contact us with confidence to request an appointment for a dietary consultation.
For more information and to make an appointment, call +36 1 377 6737.