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Recovering from Covid-19? Here's what you need to know about nutrition

26 June 2021 3:34 PM
Tags:
Nutrition
COVID19
covid-19 recovery

CapeTalk presenter Sara-Jayne King speaks to dietician Omy Naidoo about the importance of nutrition in recovering from Covid-19.
  • Covid patients with underlying health issues like cancer or diabetes are encouraged to draw up a nutrition plan to help with recovery
  • Long term Covid sufferers will need to build up appetite and muscle mass over a prolonged period
  • Covid patients with a specific diet like vegans or vegetarians might be at an advantage in terms of their recovery
© kadmy/123rf.com

COVID-19 has affected people in different ways.

Some have been asymptomatic, while others have experienced some mild symptoms.

Thousands of patients required hospitalisation, with many having to endure long stays in ICU.

There are those who have recovered quickly, but a number of people are suffering from ‘long-COVID’ and experience symptoms that go on for months.

As with any other illness, nutrition will play an important role in recovery.

Omy Naidoo, Head dietician at Newtricion Wellness Dieticians says a Covid-19 patient's body requires a lot more nutrition after infection.

The symptoms of Covid, a lot of it is gut related where patients have a lot of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and specifically a very pronounced loss of appetite that might be precipitated by taste changes. So on one end you've got your patient that needs more, and on the other end you've got all these symptoms that cause you to take in less. The net effect of this is that the patient tends to lose a lot of muscle.

Omy Naidoo - Head dietician at Newtricion Wellness Dieticians

If somebody is overweight they might think, it's good I'm going to lose some weight, but the core thing is, is that you're losing a lot of muscle, and that impacts on your long term prognosis.

Omy Naidoo - Head dietician at Newtricion Wellness Dieticians

Patients are having a prolonged loss of appetite, Some patients have it for a shorter period , but with the majoprity of patients we end up seeing that need hospitalisation, they have it for a prolonged period.

Omy Naidoo - Head dietician at Newtricion Wellness Dieticians

Naidoo encourages Covid patients to consult a health professional in terms of drawing up a nutrition plan to assist with long term recovery.

As apposed to trying to doing it all on your own, you rather have someone who is monitoring your muscle mass, somebody who's looking at your bloods, understanding if you're having any specific vitamin or mineral deficiencies, and then helping you supplement from there.

Omy Naidoo - Head dietician at Newtricion Wellness Dieticians

Naidoo says post Covid nutrition is important for everybody, but even more so for patients with underlying health issues like cancer or diabetes.

For those who are in hospital for cancer related treatment and then picked up Covid. That kind of patient already has a predisposing factor for losing a lot of muscle. The other one is definitely your diabetic and your hypertensive as well as obese patients, because we know that those conditions leave your body in a chronic, low grade inflammatory state.

Omy Naidoo - Head dietician at Newtricion Wellness Dieticians

Naidoo says those with specific diets like vegans or vegetarians might even be at an advantage in terms of their recovery.

When you have a high red meat intake, it's been clinically shown to suppress your immune system. When you have a high sugar intake, that suppresses your immune system, and it's all related to inflammation. In terms of vegan and vegetarians, they could definitely meet their requirements. The one thing with a vegan diet is that your vitamin B-12 will need to monitored.

Omy Naidoo - Head dietician at Newtricion Wellness Dieticians

Scroll to the top of the article to listen to the audio of the interview




26 June 2021 3:34 PM
Tags:
Nutrition
COVID19
covid-19 recovery

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