Six diet and lifestyle strategies for post-Covid-19 recovery – Indian doctor’s blueprint to get rid of lingering symptoms
- Covid-19 has left a number of survivors with lingering weakness and other debilitating symptoms, made worse by inflammation
- Vishakha Shivdasani, who has written a book, ‘Covid and Post Covid Recovery’, recommends exercise, a dietary regime, meditation and breathing techniques
Fellow Covid-19 survivors will immediately connect with the opening line in Dr Vishakha Shivdasani’s book, Covid and Post Covid Recovery. “Surviving is not the same as recovery, doctor. I have survived Covid-19, but I am not the same person I was before Covid,” the patient said, after a month’s recovery. “I have not fully healed.”
Her new book, published by Harper Collins, details a six-point plan to combat Covid-19 and build immunity. It includes dietary changes, exercise, meditation and adopting new breathing techniques.
“There is no textbook or guidelines for [Covid-19] recovery like we have for malaria, typhoid or influenza,” Shivdasani says.
Shivdasani penned her new book at Harper Collins’ request after the publisher spotted a patient’s post on her Instagram page: “Thank you doc for the post-Covid plan. I feel like a different human being. Everyone should follow Dr Vee’s plan.”
Her decades of experience in treating patients through disease-reversal programmes for diabetes and obesity had taught her that chronic inflammation is the common denominator in patients with comorbidities.
“Chronic inflammation intensifies the problem in Covid patients,” she says. “The immune system which is fighting existing ailments now also has to deal with the virus. By reversing comorbidities, patients will have a better outcome.”
The answer lies in modifications in diet and lifestyle, she says, adding: “We can bring down inflammation within a few days by eating correctly.”
She has commonsense advice for readers who are concerned about catching one of the new coronavirus mutations.
“Use the pandemic to enhance immunity and build good health,” she says. “We cannot control the virus but we can work on our health with the tools we have.”
Shivdasani’s six-point plan
4 Get moving Exercise reduces inflammation and improves immunity. Go outdoors to get a dose of vitamin D from sunlight.
6 Boost healing with supplements Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin”, is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and can strengthen the immune system. Its deficiency has been linked to decreased lung function. Vitamin C may help lower CRP, C-reactive protein, a major marker of inflammation in Covid-19.
Magnesium, “nature’s tranquilliser”, may help you sleep, reducing inflammation and anxiety, and slowing a racing heartbeat. Zinc is vital for the production of T cells, the white blood cells that are essential to the immune system.
Seek your doctor’s guidance on whether you should take these supplements, Shivdasani advises.
Eat, drink and hum your way to recovery
Sprouted lentils are a good source of protein that also contain zinc – which boosts gut health.
Having a drink made of turmeric, black pepper, basil and ginger boiled in water is a good way to kick-start the day and beat inflammation.