The world is affected by the pandemic in unprecedented ways and so was my family. Last year (2020) in September my father was infected too, he quarantined himself at home for ten days, and due to the low saturation levels, he was shifted to hospital for about eight days. You will be glad to know that, after coming back home he did not face any weakness or concentration problems. Other people, I know who were infected faced difficulties like fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, chest and joint pain, depression, anxiety, headache, pounding heartbeat, and dizziness.
I think it is mainly due to the food he consumed during the days he was infected. Although, I am not a nutritionist but I have been researching on food for the last two years, the day I got to know about my father’s condition I wanted to use all the knowledge that I have gathered till now.
Food plays an important role in boosting our immunity. The immune system relies on white blood cells that produce antibodies to combat bacteria, viruses, and other invaders.
Our food mainly consists of protein, carbohydrates, fat, and other nutrients (vitamins and minerals) that converts into energy by digestion. Meals that are a combination of these three can provide proper nutrition and driving force. Sometimes it becomes tough to incorporate all these in a single meal, but you don’t have to — the food consumed within a day should comprise these.
In one day my father had around 6 meals which included 3 main meals and 3 small ones. I have listed down the meals below with the options.
1st meal (6:30 a.m.) — coconut water/porridge fruits(orange,apple,kiwi,grapes)/lemon water with honey and tulsi leaves.
2nd meal (8 a.m.) — Breakfast-Broken wheat cooked in milk mainly with jaggery and topped with soaked nuts and dates/oats with seasonal vegetables topped with desi ghee.
3rd meal (11 a.m.) — any seasonal fruit/soaked nuts.
4th meal (2 p.m.) — Lunch- any green vegetable, protein source, salad, multigrain chapati/any legume (mostly moong dal), green vegetable, salad, multi-grain chapati, (have jaggery after lunch)
5th meal (5:30 p.m.)— chicken soup/tomato soup/vegetable soup/chana soup.
6th meal (8:00 p.m.) — kichdi(mix dal and rice in equal proportions and pressure cook them with double the amount of water) with ghee/egg curry with chapati/legume with chapati/ vegetable millets.
7th meal (sometimes, generally in the beginning days, just before sleeping around 9:30 p.m.) Turmeric milk- Also known as golden milk is rich in antioxidants such as Curcumin, which helps protect cells from damage, fight off disease and infections, and contribute to overall health. Turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon, the main ingredients in golden milk, have strong anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce inflammation. Along with all the benefits, turmeric milk has antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Due to his high cough, he used to have ginger juice throughout the day which proved to be helpful. Along with this, he took steam almost thrice a day to soothe and open the nasal passage.
These were small meals that kept him energetic all day and provided him with the proper nutrition that his body required to heal. However, it totally depends on the health of an individual before infection, my father was not diabetic nor had blood pressure issues (no comorbidities). The infection affects everyone to a different degree which depends on the immunity of the person. So, eating healthy and wholesome meals is not only important during infection but is essential to incorporate it into our lifestyle.
A sick person usually loses interest in eating, most of the time it is due to the loss of taste during the course of the disease. It is mainly because of strong medications — Some drugs can make food taste different, or they can cause a metallic, salty, or bitter taste in the mouth. It becomes crucial to serve different kinds of meals to the patient, and by different kinds I meant — different textures and different flavors.
Eating patterns can not be changed by following a specific diet plan, but only by switching habits. For instance, so many of us consume chips and cookies as snacks that are loaded with sugar and salt which can easily be replaced by nuts and fruits. If we start working on our habits, gradually our eating patterns will change by replacing unhealthy meals with healthy ones. To everyone who is reading this right now — stay safe and east healthy.