Once a patient recovers from Covid 19 their journey back to health begins. For many patients admitted to the hospital with Covid 19 surviving the battle is only half the battle one. Once the deemed virus free patient is ready to be sent home, the often long road to recovery including rebuilding lung capacity and overall health begins. The roadblocks these hospital admitted patients face when it comes to lung health need special care. Although most patients recover without long term effects, some patients experience persistent symptoms after discharge. Patients with Covid 19 tend to be sicker for a longer period of time than other patients with respiratory related diseases. While terms like social distancing, self-quarantine and pandemic are punctuating household conversations, they are also raising pertinent questions.
In a conversation Shreya Agarwal Fitness Expert and Founder Divas&Dudes – Boutique Wellness Studio – discusses with Jyoti Pathak- Executive Editor Protector about post covid care, respiratory & lung care, suggested diet plan to combat the weakness.
While dealing with clients who have recovered from Covid 19, what are the common health complaints you have come across?
After recovering from COVID-19, I have clients who are said to be complaining of problems such as breathlessness, joint pain, chest pain, cardiac related issues and even memory loss. COVID-19 can impact vital organs and acute events such as stroke and myocardial infection, and chronic conditions including diabetes and hypertension are a part of the post-COVID health complaints.
How does one cope with the effects of post Covid 19 Quarantine?
During this difficult time, it’s important to continue looking after your physical and mental health. This will not only help you in the long-term, it will also help you fight COVID-19 if you get it.
- Eat a healthy and nutritious diet, which helps your immune system to function properly.
- Limit your alcohol consumption, and avoid sugary drinks.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking can increase your risk of developing severe disease if you become infected with COVID-19.
- Exercise regularly.
Covid 19 has been giving anxiety to people, how can one stay calm and deal with it?
Take care of your body & spirit. This is an extraordinarily trying time, and all the tried-and-true stress management strategies apply, such as eating healthy meals, getting plenty of sleep, and meditating. Beyond that, here are some tips for practicing self-care & easing anxiety in the face of the unique disruptions caused by the coronavirus.
- Be kind to yourself – Go easy on yourself if you’re experiencing more depression or anxiety than usual. You’re not alone in your struggles.
- Maintain a routine as best you can – Even if you’re stuck at home, try to stick to your regular sleep, school, meal, or work schedule. This can help you maintain a sense of normalcy.
- Take time out for activities you enjoy – Read a good book, watch a comedy, play a fun board or video game, make something-whether it’s a new recipe, a craft, or a piece of art. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it takes you out of your worries.
- Get out in nature, if possible – Sunshine and fresh air will do you good. Even a walk around your neighborhood can make you feel better. Just be sure to avoid crowds, keep your distance from people you encounter, and obey restrictions in your area.
- Find ways to exercise – Staying active will help you release anxiety, relieve stress, and manage your mood. While gym and group classes may be out, you can still cycle, hike, or walk. Or if you’re stuck at home, look online for exercise videos you can follow. There are many things you can do even without equipment, such as yoga and exercises that use your own bodyweight.
- Avoid self-medicating – Be careful that you’re not using alcohol or other substances to deal with anxiety or depression. If you tend to overdo it in the best of times, it may be a good idea to avoid for now.
- Take up a relaxation practice – When stressors throw your nervous system out of balance, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, reiki, meditation, and yoga can bring you back into a state of equilibrium. Regular practice delivers the greatest benefits, so see if you can set aside even a little time every day.
What are some practical tips for exercise during Covid 19 pandemic?
Loosing weight comes with a lot of myths. Adopt exercise as a regular part of your everyday routine.
- Do cardio – very important for a healthy heart, important to reduce belly fat
- Lift heavy so weight train – lifting weights burns fat, increases BMR, sculpts your body in the desired form
- Play a sport – badminton, basketball, tennis, if you are not a gym person
- Go for walks as it helps to maintain the body in optimum health plus it can be done anywhere
- Get good sleep – sleep is recovery no matter what, aim for 7-8 hours every night
What diet plan do you suggest to patients who recover from Corona?
Keep the following points in mind that are helpful in normal life too.
- Drink water before meals – helps with weight loss, increases metabolism (24-30%), keeps you feeling full, makes you eat lesser calories.
- Have protein at breakfast – protein is the building block of your body. It` keeps you full when you have it in your morning meal, imp for weight loss
- Stick to black coffee – helps in fat burn (10-30%), increases metabolism (3-11%)
- Try green tea – go for long, green tea, as both contain powerful antioxidants
- Do intermittent fasting – helps the body to relax, internal cleaning is required
- Cut added sugar – it is really bad, adds zero value & most people consume it way too much
- Eat less refined carbs – refined carbs are full of sugar & less fiber. Plus eating them makes you hungry later, increases cravings, increases the blood sugar levels rapidly
- Use smaller plates – helps to automatically eat fewer calories
- Do portion control – counting calories or being careful about the quantity of food you eat is helpful for obvious reasons
- Keep healthy snacks around you when you are hungry – prevents you from unnecessary binging, keep carrots, hummus, baked chips, nuts, nut butters handy
- Take probiotic supplements. They contain bacteria of the Lactobacillus subfamily which reduces fat mass and aids in digestion
- Eat fiber – keeps you full which is important for weight loss
- Supplement with organic protein powder – if your diet does not have adequate protein add an external source
- Don’t consume soda / sugary drinks – sugar in any liquid form is worse. Stick to fruits & sweet nuts for sweet tooth
- Eat whole food – they are naturally filling, salads, dal, sprouts, jowar & naachni rotis
Breathing is key to our existence and lung care has probably never been discussed so much. What would be your advice for good lung care at all times?
Keeping your lungs healthy is essential to feeling your best.
Specific nutrients & foods have been identified to be particularly beneficial for lung function.
Incorporating the following food plan to support your lungs would help in lung related problems.
It is also important to practise Pranayama as it is excellent for opening up the blocked pathways in the lungs & going for regular jogs & walks.
- Beetroot and beet greens are rich in nitrates, and benefit lung function. Nitrates help relax blood vessels, reduce blood pressure & optimize oxygen uptake.
Beetroot supplements improve physical performance & lung function in people with lung conditions, including COPD & pulmonary hypertension, a disease that causes high blood pressure in the lungs. Beet greens are packed with magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and carotenoid antioxidants – all of which are essential to lung health.
- Turmeric – Curcumas, the main active component in turmeric, is beneficial for supporting lung function.
- Green tea – Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a catechin concentrated in green tea. It boasts antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties and inhibits fibrosis or scarring of tissue. Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease characterized by progressive, lung-function-compromising scarring of lung tissue. EGCG helps treat this disease.
- Olive oil – is a concentrated source of anti-inflammatory antioxidants, including polyphenols & vitamin E, which helps protect against respiratory conditions like asthma as well.
- Yoghurt – is rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus & selenium. These nutrients help boost lung function and protect against COPD risk.
- Pumpkin – especially rich in carotenoids, including beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin — all of which have powerful antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties. People having higher blood levels of carotenoids are associated with better lung function in both older & younger populations
- Peppers – are amongst the richest sources of vitamin C, a water-soluble nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant in your body. Getting enough vitamin C is especially important for those who smoke. In fact, due to the damaging effects of cigarette smoke on your body’s antioxidant stores, it’s recommended that people who smoke consume an extra 35 mg of vitamin C per day
- Cocoa – is high in flavonoid antioxidants having a compound called the bromine, which helps relax the airways in the lungs. Cocoa intake lowers the risk of allergic respiratory symptoms & may help protect against lung cancer.
Shreya Agarwal is a Lifestyle & Wellness Coach having a well curated Fitness & Wellness background of around 15 years with a foundation built on weight training, yoga & healings. Shreya’s primary purpose & passion is mentoring, coaching and helping others through Fitness, Motivation, Nutritional Guidance & Healings.