The 5 Healthy Foods to Eat When One is Recovering From COVID-19

Having an adequate and well-balanced diet is undoubtedly required to support the immune system’s function. While there isn’t one food or supplement that can straight-on prevent illness – because foods are not miracle cures – regularly consuming certain foods that are known to contain specific bioactive ingredients – in addition to other preventative behaviors such as eating clean, washing hands, and moving regularly – can surely help your body fight off illness. 

The following foods can contribute to a strong immune system:

  • Green leafy vegetables 

That same old advice to eat your greens works

Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens have a longstanding reputation for boosting immunity no matter how much you hate them! The pigment that gives them their signature lush-green color is chlorophyll – which is structurally similar to hemoglobin. This structural similarity is thought to help in blood-building properties which is at the essence of immunity. Besides this, green leaves are also rich in iron, vitamins, minerals, namely vitamins A and C, which are all essential for a proper immune function.

  • Colored fruits & vegetables

The more colorful your plate is, the better

Colored fruits and vegetables like orange and red bell pepper are packed with vitamin C which is famously known to “strengthen immunity”. Vitamin C is indeed a potent antioxidant that helps the body repair tissue, prevents cell deterioration, and keeps skin and blood vessels healthy. While it is unlikely that loading up on vitamin C would prevent us from getting a cold, research does show that it helps with decreasing the length of colds. Vitamin C is easy to come by from foods; having just one cup of chopped red bell peppers provides about 211% of your daily value of vitamin C. That’s about twice more than an orange (106%).

  • Turmeric

Add color, spice, and immunity to your dishes

People have used turmeric in traditional medicine practices to treat various conditions for hundreds of years. However, scientists weren’t exactly sure why until they discovered a group of polyphenol antioxidants in turmeric called curcuminoids (or curcumin), which give turmeric its beautiful deep yellow color. Curcumin is now known to have antiviral, anti-oxidant, and anti-diabetic properties and is being investigated for its potential in treating conditions such as arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular and inflammatory bowel diseases

Nutritionally, turmeric is also among the richest food sources of iron – one teaspoon (3 grams) of turmeric powder provides 2 mg of iron which amounts to around 10% of the adult daily requirements. You can easily incorporate turmeric into your diet by adding it to teas or to recipes like curry.

  • Garlic

Warding off vampires and illnesses (and humans) at once

For centuries, our ancestors have touted the beneficial properties of garlic. In addition to repelling blood-sucking vampires, garlic has long been used as a folkloric cure to treat infections. Modern research has also proven the therapeutic properties of garlic in influenza-like infections as well as a number of diseases such as heart diseases, hypertension, elevated cholesterol. Garlic’s health benefits are rooted in its heavy concentration of a sulfur-containing compound called allicin which is released when garlic is chopped or crushed and is responsible for its pungent smell. Allicin and the antioxidants inside garlic are known to exert antimicrobial activities in the body which help fight off infections and support the immune system’s function. Not only is garlic beneficial to health, but it is also full of flavor and an easy vegetable to work into your diet that can be added to anything. If you crush your garlic and let it stand for ten minutes before cooking with it, this helps protect the allicin content. Also, adding the garlic towards the end of cooking will help retain more of the medicinal properties of the plant, as allicin is destroyed by cooking.

  • Bone broth

Stock on Bone Stock – Your grandma would approve

Broth has always been considered a healing food, especially if you consider the tradition of eating chicken soup when you’re sick with a cold. Bone broth is believed to help on several health aspects – from improving joint function and helping wounds heal faster, to modulating the immune system and rebuilding bones with collagen. The problem is however that there are very few scientific studies of the specific healthful properties of bone broth. What’s more, there is no one bone broth recipe. It can be made with different animal bones, with different added flavors (like onions and herbs), and with different cooking methods (a few hours of simmering versus 24 hours or even more). All of those variables may impact the nutritional properties and will give you a different broth. In all cases, broth is a nice way to rehydrate the body as it replenishes sodium and other electrolytes that were lost through sweat or diarrhea following that COVID infection, and to eat home cooked food.

Other foods and food components that are also worth mentioning include fish oils, ginger, yogurt and other fermented foods, elderberry, and licorice.