Health

Nutrition to get you back on your feet after a cold, flu, cough or Covid

Soups made with warming spices help nourish body and soul after a cough, cold, flu or Covid.
Jane McClenaghan

HAVE you been run down and feeling a little under the weather recently? It could be the change of season and the time of year, but it seems that almost everyone I talk to knows someone who has had a cough, cold, flu or Covid recently.

If you are starting to feel better and are getting back on your feet after a few days of sickness, then I have some ideas that I hope will help to speed your recovery.

1. TAKE THINGS GENTLY

When we start to feel better after being off sick for a little while, it is tempting to get stuck back into things and start back where you left off, running from pillar to post and squeezing as much into your day as you can.

It is important to remember that your body is still in recovery phase, so slow it down and take things easy. Give yourself a chance to properly recuperate and get back to full health.

Exercise and movement is really important, especially if you have been stuck indoors for a few days. Get out in the fresh air and go for a walk, preferably somewhere in nature. Build up your exercise gradually until you are back to full health and don't push yourself too hard for a few days.

Don't underestimate the power of daylight and fresh air. A daily walk can make all the difference, and getting out in daylight hours can help with energy levels, as well as supporting a better night's sleep.

Get to bed early and get a few good night's sleep to help you get back to feeling 100 per cent. The rest will do you good.

Don't eat too close to bedtime. Allow at least 2-3 hours after eating before you hit the pillow. An overnight fast of around 12 hours has been shown to help rebalance inflammation and the chances are you will sleep better too.

2. GET SPICY

Herbs and spices are packed with polyphenol antioxidants that can help support and nourish your immune system.

The ones I would recommend for your recovery plan are:

:: Garlic - because of its anti-viral properties.

:: Ginger - for its anti-inflammatory effects.

:: Turmeric - a source of powerful antioxidants for immune support.

:: Rosemary - for its anti-inflammatory effects.

:: Thyme - used traditionally for respiratory tract support.

Each one of these herbs or spices will add a little punch of flavour and some therapeutic properties to your everyday soup, stew or one-pot-wonder

3. PACK IN THE COLOURS

Eat more than five portions of fruit a day as you get back on your feet. Feeding your body with a diet packed full of colourful fruit and vegetables is an excellent way to get much needed nutrition into your diet.

If you have had an upper respiratory tract infection, the beta-carotene found in orange and green coloured vegetables, like butternut squash, sweet potato, carrots, kale, broccoli and chard is thought to support the health of the respiratory tract.

4. PROTEIN POWER

Protein is an essential ingredient for immunity, strength and recovery from illness. Although you may not have had much of an appetite when you were run down, now is the time to feed your body and rebuild your strength, so aim for a palm-size portion of protein at every meal.

Good sources include nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, meat and fish, as well as eggs and dairy products.

5. COMFORT FOODS

This time of year demands warming comfort foods, and you can bring all of the things I have advised into this one. Soups with warming spices and some brightly coloured root veg with lentils for protein; curries with lots of colourful vegetables, some ginger, chilli, garlic, turmeric and a decent protein source of chickpeas, chicken, fish or lentils; or a slow-cooked casserole with warming herbs that tastes delicious will help to nourish your body and soul.

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