As COVID Recovery has been a big area of interest in clinic, I have put together a Naturopathic approach to support the body through the recovery phase post infection. This nutritional approach is foundational in supportive treatment.
Here are some key nutrients that are in extra demand when the body becomes sick...
Supports immune function, reduces inflammation and important for mental health and energy. Aim to get 20 minutes of sunlight exposure (with no sunscreen) during the summer to optimise vitamin D levels.
Quercetin, Vitamin C, Bioflavonoids
Potent anti-inflammatory properties to combat excessive inflammation (cytokine storm) from the Sars-CoV-2 virus. Also helps reduce oxidative damage to tissues.
Food sources: Citrus foods (consume with pulp and close to white core), berries, capsicums, onions, parsley.
Is a big player when it comes to supporting immunity as well as digestive and mental health. Stores are drastically depleted after viral infections, so focusing on replenishing zinc levels in the body is important.
Food Sources: Oysters, red med, poultry
Vegan Food Sources: Pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, wholegrains, tofu, tempeh, legumes
Things to think about for the diet...
Having optimal levels in the diet is essential for recovery from any illness. Protein provides the building blocks for the body to produce enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters that will govern the recovery process on a multi-body system level.
Essential Fatty Acids
Reducing the inflammation that has often resulted from viral infections is another key aspect of treatment.
In Naturopathy, focusing on the Gut is a main focus for many treatment plans. Restoring digestive function after illness is essential for restoring health on a larger scale.
Bone Broth: An effective way to increase the intake of nutrients, minerals while reducing inflammation and supporting gut health that can often be affected from viruses.
Fibre: Including sources such as wholegrains, vegetables, nuts/seeds, legumes, skins of fruit will support your microbiome and detoxification pathways
Easily Digestible Meals: Slow cooked stews, soups and stir-fry’s help break down foods to become easily absorbed by the body when our digestion needs that extra support.
Pre/Probiotics: Restoring the microbiome after fighting an illness or infection will help reboot your immune and lymphatic systems.
Bitter Foods: To enhance digestion.
This simple step can have profound effects for the body, your mood and overall mental health. This not only hydrates the cells of your body but also is important for detoxification and flushing toxins from the body. Aim to consume 2-3 litres per day.
Let’s Increase Those Greens
Green vegetables are often rich with phytonutrients, minerals and antioxidants that nourish the body on a deep level.
Don’t Over Complicate It
Eating a variety of colourful foods, not skipping out on meals, and reducing overall refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol intake will do wonders for your body.=
Let’s Nourish your Adrenals
Post Viral Fatigue is a common condition experienced after COVID. We can support and nourish the adrenal glands to help resolve these symptoms.
Adrenal Supporting Nutrients: Supplementation may be indicated for therapeutic effects.
(Specifically B1, B3, B5, B12): The B vitamins function as coenzymes within the body where they are required for energy production, particularly in the mitochondria.
Found in virtually every cell in the body and plays a vital role in all energy- dependent processes and is also a potent antioxidant.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Potent antioxidant that crosses Blood-brain barrier, aids in nerve and brain function.
Important for oxygenating cells and needed for adrenal/thyroid function. Supplementation is likely needed for vegans.
Food sources: Red meat, poultry
Vegan Food Sources: Legumes, nuts/seeds, tofu, spinach
Supports energy cycles and stress resilience. Food sources: Dark leafy greens, legumes, and whole grains.
Important for thyroid, neurological and adrenal function.
Food Sources: Poultry, dairy
Vegan Food Sources: Soy products, avocados, bananas, lima beans, pumpkin seeds
Herbal medicine to support adrenal health and nourish the nervous system may also be indicated. Speak to your practitioner to find out what herbs are best for you.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Rest
The most foundational aspect of post COVID recovery is rest. Diet and supplements have an important role is recovery but giving your body the time to heal cannot be overlooked.
Get Optimal Sleep
Ensure at least 8 hours per night and sleep onset should be before midnight. More sleep is likely needed in the weeks following infection, give your body what it needs. Limit blue light exposure from phone, computer, and TV 30 minutes before bed.
Movement every day is important. Sweating daily helps to flush the lymphatic system and release the feel-good endorphins. Slowly add more strenuous cardiovascular exercise to the routine to re-train the lungs but do not overdo it, learn the limits of your body during the recovery phase.
Spend Time in Nature
Nature has a way of healing the body and mind. Walk barefoot in the grass or on the beach to reconnect.
Ask for Support
Lean on your family and friends during this time to support you, whether that’s helping more with cooking, cleaning or being there for emotional support. Speaking with a counsellor can be extremely helpful if you are struggling with mental health.