After three months of battling with the Omicron, over a million Hong Kong-ers are infected. The fifth wave of SARS-CoV-2 arrogantly swept through and left the city with some significant damages made. Post Covid-19 condition, also known as “Long Covid” is a term used to describe the mid- and long-term symptoms that approximately 10-20% of the people experience after they have had Covid-19. The most common symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction or “brain fog”, poor sleeping quality, persistent cough, muscle aches, loss of smell or taste etc.
To help yourself and your family fully recover and get back on track, here are Five Dietary Tips you need to know as you recover from Covid 19.
1. Higher Protein and Higher Energy Diet 高蛋白和高能量飲食
During infection, you lost your muscle mass as your immune system needs to break down protein in your muscle for the amino acids. These amino acids are essential for making the hormones and enzymes to carry out the immunological reactions and regeneration of body tissues. The UK National Health Services (NHS) advises three palm-size portions of high protein foods per day, during Covid recovery. Go for quality proteins such as lean poultry meat and fish to reduce the intake of saturated fat. Fish gives you an added benefit of omega-3 also!
英國國民保健服務(NHS) 建議在新冠康復期間每天食用三份手掌大小的高蛋白食物。英國註冊營養學家Kennie建議選擇優質蛋白質，如瘦家禽肉和魚，以減少飽和脂肪的攝入。其中魚還為您提供豐富的歐米茄 3！
On the other hand, your body consumed a lot more energy to fight against the virus during the infection. Aim for a quarter of your plate in your main meals to include starchy carbohydrates. These can be your bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. Look for starchy carbs which are unrefined, with lower glycaemic index and higher dietary fibre content. For example, sweet potatoes, oat porridge, brown rice and brown bread with higher wholemeal content.
2. Consume more Probiotics-rich Fermented Foods and Drinks 多吃富含益生菌的發酵食物和飲品
The Chinese University Medicine published a new study earlier this year, they found that 80% of Covid patients with microbiome imbalances showed “long Covid” symptoms. In the last decade, many studies have found an association between poor gut health and impaired immunity, and there is increasingly more evidence nowadays.
To balance your gut microbiome, choose food rich in probiotics. Fermented foods and drinks, such as yoghurt, kimchi, tempeh, fruits and vegetables enzyme drink, sourdough, sauerkraut etc, commonly contain a good variety of beneficial microbes. What’s more – many of these fermented foods and drinks give you the additional prebiotics, vitamins and minerals, plant antioxidants, as well as the beneficial metabolites derived from the fermentation process. If you can get your dose of probiotics from these natural fermented foods and drinks, you don’t need to spend extra on many expensive supplements!
為了平衡你的腸道微生態，英國註冊營養學家Kennie建議選擇富含益生菌的食物。 發酵食物和飲品，如酸奶、泡菜、天貝、蔬果酵素飲品、酸種麵包、酸菜等，通常都含有多種益生菌。 更重要的是— 這些發酵食物和飲品更提供了額外的益生元、維生素和礦物質、植物抗氧化物，以及發酵過程中產生的有益代謝物。 Kennie指出如果可以從這些天然發酵食物和飲品中獲得所需的益生菌，您就無需額外花費於昂貴的營養補充品上了！
3. Maintain Five Portions of Fruits and Vegetables a day 每天維持五份蔬果
Fruits and vegetables contain the most diverse variety of micronutrients that are essential for your recovery. It is recommended that you consume five portions of fruits and vegetables a day and eat a beautiful rainbow of colours of these foods. A fist-sized apple or a handful of grapes are each considered one portion. 水果和蔬菜含有最多樣化的微量營養素，這些微量營養素對您新冠後的康復至關重要。英國註冊營養學家Kennie建議每天進食五份水果和蔬菜，盡量選擇如彩虹般不同顏色的蔬果！一個拳頭大小的蘋果或一手握大少的提子就相等於一份的蔬果了。
4. Drink up your water 飲充足的水份
Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water during your recovery. Water plays a crucial role to unlock many of your metabolic processes, and to facilitate detox in your body. It can also help with relieving some of the Covid-related symptoms, for example dry mouth and constipation. Aim to achieve at least 6-8 glasses of water per day.
新冠康復期間多喝水，保持身體水分充足。 水在人體中猶如鎖匙般，起着至關重要的作用，能夠促進新陳代謝，加快體內毒素的排走。 它還可以幫助舒緩一些與新冠相關的症狀，例如口乾和便秘，英國註冊營養學家Kennie建議目標是每天至少喝 6-8 杯水。
5. Consult the Professionals 諮詢專業人士意見
Last but not least, always consult your GP, or speak to a Registered Nutritionist/Dietician if you experience persistent symptoms after recovering from your Covid.
World Health Organisation, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Post COVID-19 condition (https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/coronavirus-disease-(covid-19)-post-covid-19-condition)
National Health Service, Your Covid Recovery, Eating Well (https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/your-wellbeing/eating-well/#:~:text=Choose%20protein%2Drich%20(meat%2C,provide%20additional%20nutrients%20like%20protein.)
U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA FoodData Central