What to Eat When You Have COVID-19

Nutritionists offer their opinions on the greatest (and worst) meals to eat after a positive test.

If you have a minor COVID-19 infection, you probably already know what to do. Keep to yourself, keep an eye on your symptoms, and get care if they worsen. You might not be aware of what to eat. If you test positive in order to feel better as soon as feasible.

A balanced, nutrient-dense diet is essential to maintaining a strong immune system. Even while research on how specific foods may affect your recovery from the SARS-CoV-2 virus is still in its infancy. Everything you need to know about what to eat when you have COVID-19 is provided here.

What is Known About COVID-19 and Diet

According to dietitian Toby Amidor, RD, CDN, author of The Family Immunity Cookbook, there is no evidence that consuming particular foods will hasten the resolution of COVID-19 symptoms. According to Amidor, “There is no scientific data to support the claim that eating for a healthy immune system may shorten the duration of COVID-19.” However, some foods (and more particularly the nutrients they contain) seem to aid the body in mounting a more effective defense against invaders.

Immune health, specifically vitamin D, is important. Vitamin D supplementation was found to be protective against acute respiratory tract infections, particularly in participants who were deficient. According to a 2017 review and meta-analysis published in The BMJ.

A stronger immune system has also been linked to other micronutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. Additionally, consuming more macronutrients like fiber and protein has been related to improved immunity.

The immune system may benefit from fermented foods as well. Consuming fermented meals increased microbiome diversity. Which can affect immune response, according to a 2021 study that was published in the journal Cell.

However, a lot of the study on nutrition and immunity depends on eating patterns formed before contracting an illness. Or to put it another way, your immune system doesn’t become a superpower over night.

Eating during a COVID-19 episode typically entails eating healthily in order to feel well. If you or a member of your household has COVID-19, add a few of the following foods to your grocery list.

What to Eat When You Have COVID-19:

Fruits and Vegetables

Consuming a lot of fruits and vegetables is a terrific method to strengthen your immune system and overall health. The following are some fruits and vegetables rich in immune-boosting micronutrients including zinc, vitamins A, C, and D:

Tomatoes, berries, and citrus fruits



The sweet potato


the bell pepper


These foods not only give you essential micronutrients, but many of them also improve your intake of complex carbs. These may help you manage COVID-19 fatigue by maintaining your energy levels more consistently throughout the day.

Try blending fresh fruits in a smoothie. If you have a sore or scratchy throat and find that they are difficult to swallow. Or, if you want something warm, think of soup. Dietitian Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD, stated to Health that soup is a terrific method to sneak in vegetables and is easy on the stomach.

What to Eat When You Have COVID-19:


Protein, the second most abundant macronutrient after fat and carbohydrates, is well known for its role in tissue growth and repair. All of your cells, including immune cells, are supported by it. According to study found in the British Journal of Nutrition, getting too little of it weakens immune system and increases risk of infectious diseases.

Amidor noted that many protein sources also contain micronutrients and added that beef provides both. Because it contains the mineral zinc, which is essential for numerous bodily metabolic processes including protein synthesis and wound repair. She claimed that beef boosts immunity. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s partner, Amidor, advised selecting lean beef cuts wherever possible.

Of course, protein and zinc aren’t only found in beef; they’re also present in significant levels in pork, lamb, and chicken. When you’re feeling low on energy, throw meats in the slow cooker with a low-sugar marinade for a softer meal that requires little effort.

Numerous plant-based foods, such as beans, lentils, and tofu. Also contain protein (all of which are good sources of fiber, too). On the other hand, if you are experiencing COVID-19-related digestive issues. You may want to avoid these meals since they could make your bloating and diarrhea worse.

What to Eat When You Have COVID-19:


Whole grains contain prebiotic fiber, which acts as “food” for good bacteria in the digestive tract. A healthy microbiome is linked to a stronger immune system, most likely because the digestive tract contains helpful bacteria that lower inflammation.

Try oats and barley if COVID-19 has you down for the count. The fiber beta-glucan, which is widely known for its anti-inflammatory qualities, is present in both. They shouldn’t aggravate a scratchy throat because both have a naturally smooth texture. Quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and whole wheat bread are other nutrient- and fiber-rich grains.

What to Eat When You Have COVID-19:


You may have heard the long-standing misconception that claims dairy causes excessive phlegm production and should be avoided when ill. Despite urban legends, experts advise it—even if you have COVID-19. Because it contains living, active cultures that function as probiotics, yogurt is a fantastic place to start, according to Amidor. She continued by pointing out that some probiotic strains have been associated with improved immunity and digestive health.

You’re likely to take yogurt and yogurt-based foods well while ill. Because they often have a mild flavor and a cooling texture, like smoothies and shakes.

If yogurt isn’t your preferred option, milk can also maintain a strong immune system. One cup of milk contains 13 key elements, including protein, selenium, zinc, vitamins A and D, all of which are crucial for healthy immunological function. According to Amidor.

What to Eat When You Have COVID-19:

Foods to Avoid

Generally speaking, processed and high-sugar foods like fast food, fried foods, soda, and sweets encourage inflammation in the body, making it more difficult for your body to fend off illness. Avoid foods in these categories if you want to feel your best.

As your body fights COVID-19, you should also be careful how much alcohol you consume. According to Amidor, excessive alcohol consumption might weaken your immune system and make it more difficult for it to protect your body from outside intruders. Additionally, drinking alcohol can cause intestinal inflammation and harm the beneficial bacteria inside that support a healthy immune system.

What to Eat When You Have COVID-19:


It’s simple to become dehydrated if your specific case of COVID-19 includes a fever or diarrhea. Even in the best of conditions, dehydration is uncomfortable, but when you’re sick, it can make symptoms like weariness and headache worse. If you’re dehydrating, make sure to keep a water bottle nearby and drink frequently.

For people who dislike the taste of plain water, there are other solutions available. While water is fine to stay hydrated, Reisdorf said that occasionally our electrolytes can also get unbalanced. You can consume electrolyte-enriched water or mix a powdered or tablet electrolyte into your water. Coughs and sore throats can always be relieved with a cup of warm tea and some honey. If you’d rather have something that isn’t sweet, you can also try warm broth.

What to Eat When You Can’t Smell or Taste

Several COVID-19 infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, result in taste and odor loss (CDC). This sensory disturbance may prevent you from eating healthfully (or eating at all). “It is simple to just not eat if you don’t have a sense of taste or smell, especially if you don’t feel well,” Reisdorf said. But you won’t feel better if you don’t eat.

Reisdorf advised eating anything you can when food is unpleasant due to a lack of scent and taste. It could just take some trial and error to figure out what works for you.

As a result

No single cuisine or ideal menu is certain to restore you to your regular, virus-free self; in fact, depending on your symptoms, eating much at all may be difficult. If you are able to eat normally, a nutritious diet rich in whole foods may help you stay energetic and strengthen your immune system in preparation for the next time you come into contact with a virus.

As of the time of publication, the information in this article is true. However, it’s probable that some information has altered since publication as the situation around COVID-19 continues to shift. While Health makes every effort to keep our articles. As current as possible, we also urge readers to use the CDC, WHO. Other relevant websites to stay up to date on news and suggestions for their particular communities.

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