Most Covid-infected patients with acute or severe breathing problems are in urgent need of respiratory and hemodynamic support and intensive care unit (ICU). However, nutrition is an important element that one needs to keep in mind while talking about the post- Covid diet.
The nutritional assessment and the early nutritional care management of Covid-19 patients must be integrated into the overall therapeutic strategy.
The Covid-19 patients with severe conditions are at a major risk of malnutrition and sarcopenia. Moreover, they are further suspected to acquire other health issues, including, high blood sugar levels, altered kidney functioning, prolonged lung infection, hyperactive metabolism, typhoid or pancreatitis, gastric issues, mouth ulcers, and esophageal ulcer. In addition to this with low immunity, they are further suspected to have black fungus – mucormycosis.
There is a great need to go for proper nutrition assessment and management post-Covid -19, specifically in the above-mentioned critical condition.
Here are a few aspects based on the critical condition:
Severe swallowing issues- high calorific liquids to be considered in the plan. This includes – milk bases liquids as fruit shakes/ tea/ milk with protein supplement; sieved vegetable/lentil/chicken soups; fresh curd buttermilk at room temperature; lemon water; glutamate drinks, etc. one needs to be cautious about coconut water intake based on their high potassium levels.
Mouth ulcers - semi-solid or blended consistency diet to be followed which include blended porridge with oats/muesli/ semolina/vermicelli etc. thin custard without sugar, thin vegetable Upma / khichdi/ dahlia, gravy vegetables of bottle guard/ ridge guard can be given. Make sure to not include any of the spice and consume the food at room temperature.
Big NO to HFSS food- high fat/salt/sugar foods needs to be avoided – all sort of parathas/ puri/ pakoras/ samosa/ pizzas/ burgers/ namkeen/ chips is restricted. As an alternative, you can go for healthy homemade options of roti pizza/ multigrain homemade s/w with vegetable roasted stuffing/none-fried dhokla or idli, etc.
Prefer Germinated or fermented grains and pulses for Zinc: All the grains and cereals are rich in zinc whereas Germination and Fermentation of these grains increase the zinc content it even aids in constipation and helps in good bowel movement.
Tips for altered taste- due to severe infection adding excess spices or tadka to food is not recommended. As an alternative, it is best to include lemon on vegetables/ flavoring with cardamom – elaichi or fennel seeds is recommended.
Along with this, an adequate increase in protein content up to 1.8 gm per kg body weight (not recommended for people with acute kidney disease). This can be achieved either through natural resources or by additional supplement sources based on eating efficiency.
A good intake of fluids (recheck for acute kidney disease people) and probiotics need to maintain well. To keep a proper clock on liquid intake is mandatory specifically if on additional oxygen support.
Record your intake on regular basis - Keep track of what you are eating at each meal. For example, write down if you have eaten none (0%), 25%, 50% 75% or all (100% eaten). If you are eating 50% or less than normal, add some additional high caloric liquids to complete the per-day requirement or buy a nutrition supplement (meal replacement). This track is important for the professionals to guide you in a better way.