Why long Covid may be helped with improved nutrition

Why long Covid may be helped with improved nutrition

A study of over half a million adults in England conducted by London Imperial college has found that one in 20 had persistent COVID-19 symptoms. The study found that around 6% reported experiencing at least one of 29 symptoms linked with COVID-19 for 12 weeks or more.

Common symptoms linked to long Covid are:

Headaches

Hair loss

Fatigue

Shortness of breath

Reduced kidney function

Joint pain

The mechanism by which our bodies ward off a pathogen is through inflammation which cause symptoms. The inflammation protects us while antibodies can be made to combat the virus.

But when the inflammation persists, the symptoms do not abate.

It is possible that due to the 21st Century diet the body was already in a state of inflammation before it caught the virus. A silent condition that goes unnoticed in the majority of the population is known as insulin resistance. To become insulin resistant all you have to do is follow the standard UK way of eating. Three meals per day plus snacks. The pattern of eating, which usually means consuming large amounts of carbohydrate, advised as wholefoods, that are also advised to be low in fat are leaving the body with an excess of blood glucose which leads to high insulin levels and a state whereby the cells become resistant to it and the body remains awash with sugar. The sugar is the cause of the constant inflammation.

The main aim to reducing long covid is to reduce that inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity may help.

How do you go about improving insulin sensitivity and with it, the long covid symptoms?

Firstly, by focussing on anti-inflammatory food, low in carbohydrates and nutrient dense.

Foods such as:

Full fat meat and fish

Full fat dairy

Dark green leafy vegetables

All these foods cause little insulin response and keep blood glucose to a minimum allowing the body time to rebalance the immune system and replenish the energy in the cells.

It has been shown that healthy gut bacteria are also crucial to recovery and increase insulin sensitivity, so a good quality probiotic is a useful tool.

Due to the average person eating on and off for 14 hours per day between 7am and 9pm, including digestion this extends the insulin response and high blood glucose to approximately 18 hours per day. In this state there is not enough time for the body to quietly go about repairing itself.

The last useful tool to aid recovery is by eating in a smaller time frame, this allows the body time to repair during periods where it is not digesting food. Eating between 11am and 7pm is a good guide.

It is also useful to note that implementing these habits puts the body in a much better position to cope with catching the virus and prevention is always going to be better than cure. As insulin resistance plays a part in almost every health issue you can think of, remember that what you eat today matters to whatever your future might bring. So, what are you waiting for?

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