There’s no doubt that despite Covid-19 being on the tips of everyone’s tongue’s 24/7 for the past few years, we definitely do not have all the answers. In fact, we have a long way to go but we do have some understanding into nutrition and COVID-19. What’s the harm in trying to improve your diet (in a safe and responsible way) in an attempt to improve symptoms of Long Covid?! In today’s article we’re sharing what we know so far and our top tips for supporting your health through Long Covid.
It’s important to note that as there are so many complexities to Long Covid, everyone’s symptoms will look different and therefore we’re unlikely to be able to cover everything in one article. So what do we know?
Common nutrition considerations in those suffering with Long Covid
Often we tend to skip past the very basics and focus on the nitty gritty of the micronutrients we should be consuming. However, one of the most common issues in those struggling with Long Covid is that they’re not consuming enough energy. This is largely prevalent in those who have lost their taste and smell as food becomes far less enjoyable and satisfying. Consequently, it’s vital to be aware of your total energy intake and if you’re struggling with specific textures and tastes try to load up the energy in a large smoothie. For example adding nut butter, Greek yoghurt, flaxseeds and protein powder to your smoothies can be a great way to increase the nutrients and the calories you’re consuming.
Another common nutrition consideration is that many people with Long Covid are experiencing extreme fatigue which is leaving them too exhausted to cook or opt for nutrient dense meals. This fatigue can also drive up the need for high sugar foods in an attempt to boost energy levels. If you are experiencing fatigue the great news is that we’re here to provide you with nutritious meals to help support your energy levels. Our meals can be kept in the freezer and require little prep, they’re nutritious and of course absolutely delicious!
Supporting The Immune System
As Long Covid is an immune mediated condition some evidence suggests we should focus on key nutrients to support the immune system. These include: Vitamins A, C, E, omega-3, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Focusing on consuming plenty of wholefoods such as beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and good quality meat and fish will help to ensure you’re getting a range of nutrients. Omega-3 is particularly important for helping to reduce inflammation so try to ensure you’re getting 2 portions of oily fish per week.
Can a Low Histamine Diet Help With Long Covid?
There have been some suggestions that a low histamine diet may help with symptoms of Long Covid however, we don’t yet have any scientific research to suggest this will help. The logic comes from the understanding that a low histamine diet can help to reduce inflammation. Whilst we have no evidence just yet it’s advised if you are following a low histamine diet it should be done under supervision of a health care professional as a low histamine diet can be time consuming and restrictive.
Can a Plant Based Diet Help With Long Covid?
A plant based diet has also been suggested to have benefits on the outcomes of Covid-19 however, as there’s limited evidence on the symptoms of Long Covid before the pandemic it’s challenging to conclude that a plant based diet will reduce the symptoms. Nonetheless, adopting a plant based diet often leads followers to increase their consumption of wholefoods. This naturally displaces those more refined and ultra-processed foods which in turn could lead to reduction in inflammation. There’s definitely a benefit to consuming a more plant heavy diet however, it’s too early to say whether it can be responsible for improving outcomes of Long Covid.
Overall we recommend you focus on increasing your plants to support your overall health and watch this space as the evidence emerges! Ultimately there’s a lot more we need to learn and research which needs to be conducted before we can make full conclusions on Long Covid. Nonetheless we hope the information presented has answered some of your questions!
Holdoway, A. (2021). Addressing nutrition in the road map of recovery for those with long COVID-19. British journal of community nursing, 26(5), 218-222.
Storz, M. A. (2021). Lifestyle adjustments in long-COVID management: Potential benefits of plant-based diets. Current Nutrition Reports, 1-12.
Mathers, J. C. (2022). Nutrition and COVID-19. British Journal of Nutrition, 127(10), 1441-1442.