Food & drink

Nutrition with Jane McClenaghan: What I'm eating to get over Covid

To help her get over Covid, Jane has been stocking up on fruit and veg to support her immune system
Jane McClenaghan

After two years of managing to dodge Covid, it finally got me. Alongside over the counter remedies, I have been adding some extra ingredients to my diet this week help support my immune system.

I have stocked up a few nutritional supplements containing vitamin C, vitamin D, echinacea, turmeric, zinc and elderberry - all shown to have benefits when it comes to helping our immune systems knock Covid for six.

I am happy say that I am now on day five and starting to come out the other side. If you have been hit by the bug, I hope you get well soon too.

Here's what I have been packing into my diet this week:

:: 7-10 portions of fruit and veg a day. The more the better. I have been trying to eat as many different coloured fruit and vegetables as I can possible squeeze into my diet in an effort to up my intake of polyphenol antioxidants to support my immune system.

Brightly coloured berries containing anthocyanins, carrots for the vitamin A pre-cursor beta-carotene, broccoli for its sulphur-rich antioxidants, onions for their anti-viral inflammatory content, and anything else I can get my hands on.

It's not the season for soups, but I have been making a tasty gazpacho recipe from the book Happy Food by Niklas Ekstedt and Henrik Ennart - a couple of tomatoes, red peppers, scallions, two cloves of garlic, lemon juice, basil, cucumber and chilli.

:: Turmeric seems to be a superhero for so many ailments these days. With its anti-inflammatory properties and the potential to reduce viral replication, it has definitely been on the menu for me this week.

I have added it to curries (with some extra black pepper for its piperine content to help active the anti-inflammatory curcumin in turmeric), had it as tea and added it to my overnight oats.

:: Green tea contains an active ingredient called ECGC (otherwise known by the catchy name epigallocatechin gallate). It is recommended that we drink four cups of green tea a day to get the anti-viral and anti-inflammatory benefits for our immune system.

:: Protein is an essential ingredient to help our immune systems produce white blood cells and fight infection. Adults need 0.75g per kg of body weight, but when we are run down, our demands increase.

I have been making sure I get a palm size portion of protein with all my meals. Eggs, meat, fish, chicken, nuts and seeds, lentils and natural yoghurt are good sources.

:: Healthy fats have anti-inflammatory properties, so are really important to help us fight infection and for our immune systems to function well. Oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, a handful of nuts and seeds every day, a spoonful of flaxseed on breakfast and a drizzle of olive oil here and there can make all the difference.

:: Hydration - I have been keeping a big jug of water on hand to keep well hydrated. Slices of orange and a sprig of rosemary has added flavour, as well as added protection.

Rosemary contains and active ingredient called carnosic acid, a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient, that has also been found to block the interaction between the Covid's spike protein and the receptor protein on our cells that allows the virus to gain entry, so I have been adding it to food wherever I can this week.

:: Sleep and rest - when we are under the weather, we naturally feel more tired as our immune system works hard to fight infection. A good night's sleep helps our immune systems to function properly, so if you are run down, listen to your body and rest when you can, get to bed early and take it easy.

:: Fresh air - self-isolating has not kept me indoors. I am trying to get out into the garden as much as possible and get some fresh air into my lungs.

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