Struggling with long Covid? Experts say diet and nutrition could help

Fatigue, brain fog, heart palpitations and shortness of breath.

Those are just some of the common symptoms of “Castle“can affect people long after recovering from an infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

There is still much to learn about the long Covid. While eating the right foods isn’t a long-term cure for Covid, diet and nutrition can play an important role in helping people with the condition cope, experts say. CNBC Make It.

According to Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn, Director of the Mayo Clinic’s Covid Active Recovery Program, symptoms are only “half of the picture.”

“The other half is about how those symptoms affect a person’s ability to live. Unfortunately, the symptoms of long-term COVID can be quite limited.”

Vanichkachorn added that more than a third of the Mayo Clinic’s long covid patient indicates that you have trouble with some of the most basic activities of life, such as dressing, showering, and eating.

“It’s just a bad movie and we still don’t have an end to it,” said Dr. Joan Salge Blake, a clinical professor of nutrition at Boston University.

Heart disease, some cancers… you can fight them all with a knife and fork. It’s empowering because you have control over what’s on your plate and what you eat.

Dr. Joan Salge Blake

Clinical Professor, Boston University

Long Covid is basically post-infectious conditions that can last for weeks, months or years – long after a person tests negative for Covid-19. It can also be referred to as a post-Covid or chronic Covid condition.

Experts spoke to CNBC Make It speak There’s still a lot to learn about Covid long, but nutrition plays an important role.

“Heart disease, some cancers, stroke and type two diabetes… you can fight all of them with a knife and fork,” says Blake.

“It’s empowering because you have control over what’s on your plate and what you eat.”

For those looking to cope with lingering Covid symptoms, CNBC Make It finds out what you should and shouldn’t eat.

1. Mediterranean Diet

Vanichkachorn and Blake both stress the importance of a balanced diet, which they say is beneficial for general health – specifically: Mediterranean diethave lots of vegetables, fruits, olive oil, nuts and whole grains.

Fruit and vegetables are “powerhouses” when it comes to essential vitamins and minerals, says Blake.

That doesn’t mean giving up meat or protein, though, Vanichkachorn says, adding that fish and chicken are good choices.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, olive oil, nuts, and whole grains.

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Blake added, “Poor protein [intake] can contribute to fatigue, and that’s something you don’t want because Covid will make you tired… it certainly won’t help if you don’t get enough protein in your diet. ”

Fatty fish, like tuna and salmon, are good sources of omega-3 acids, which can improve heart health.

But ultimately, the focus should be on building a holistic “super diet”, rather than focusing on “super foodBlake said. Superfoods are foods that are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and fatty acids that have health benefits.

“It’s a super diet that will help you fight chronic diseases. When all the vitamins and minerals work together, that’s your best defense.”

2. Beware of Vitamin Deficiencies

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“Iron deficiency can cause many symptoms, including anemia and fatigue,” says Vanichkachorn. Deficiencies can occur for a variety of reasons, such as poor diet, but can also be related to chronic diseases.

However, he cautions against taking vitamin or mineral supplements without consulting your doctor first.

“If you are concerned about a vitamin or mineral deficiency, the first step is to talk to your healthcare provider,” he says.

3. Stay hydrated

Vanichkachorn emphasized that all patients with long-distance Covid should keep water.

He added: “When individuals have acute Covid, they often rest and sleep for long periods of time.

“Uncontrolled, dehydration can make anyone feel miserable, not just patients who are going through long-distance COVID.”

If cold water is too boring, you can also add a piece of fruit like lemon or lime to help enhance the taste.

Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn

Director, Mayo Clinic Covid Operations Rehabilitation Program

Acknowledging that patients often need reminders to stay hydrated, Vanichkachorn encourages those with long-term Covid to carry a water bottle with them.

He adds, “If plain water is too boring, you can also add a piece of fruit like lemon or lime to help enhance the flavor. These simple changes can make staying hydrated much easier.”

4. What to stay away from

Because acute Covid can cause “very significant inflammation” in the body, it’s good to stay away from anything that could aggravate it, Vanichkachorn said.

“We saw some markers of inflammation … increased in this group of patients [suffering from long Covid]. The inflammation could be secondary to abnormalities of the immune system, he adds, and possibly even autoimmunity.

“Acute Covid can cause significant inflammation in the body and you should stay away from sugary drinks and desserts,” says Vanichkachorn.

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