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Wellness by Luke Coutinho: Had Covid? Here’s how to build back immunity

Even when you test negative, chances are that you still might not feel okay. That is because this virus leaves imprints in the form of certain symptoms. How can you ease into your routine as your body is still recovering?

Honor rest and go slow with exercise

Respect your body’s need to rest. Yes, exercise is medicine, but at the right time. This is not to say that you stay sedentary, but less will be more for you. Healing happens in a state of complete rest and deep sleep.

If blood clots were a symptom, engage in light movement to help increase blood circulation, the lymphatic system and oxygenation. Even if it’s just walking around the house with intermittent rest, do it.

If you are too weak to walk, ask someone to press the soles of your feet for three-five minutes, twice a day. If the infection compromises your respiratory function (pneumonia, breathlessness), rest for 10-15 days based on how you feel, and slowly ease into movement.

If you experience body pain, fatigue, muscle spasms and tightness, start with gentle stretching exercises or subtle yoga (Sukshma Vyayam). Do not overdo it. Listen to your body.

Reduce inflammation

Inflammation is part of the immunity process. The problem is when the inflammatory response is not switched off. Increased inflammation (also called the cytokine storm) is noticed in most Covid patients. While there are medicines to control inflammation, one must also focus on lifestyle.

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich foods can stall inflammation. Inflammation also reduces when we sleep.

Muscle aches and joint pain

Pain is mostly the outcome of inflammation due to infection. Other than pain medicines, here’s what you can do.

• Have some turmeric, ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper in your kitchen? Great! Load these into teas, spice powders, concoctions, dals or soups. Add a teaspoon of coconut oil or ghee as this combination works best in the presence of fat.

• Drink a glass of freshly squeezed mosambi juice (if your sugar levels are high, make an informed decision.)

• Drizzle a teaspoon to a tablespoon of pure extra virgin olive oil over your salad or hummus.

• Eat unsalted nuts—almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts.

• Include Omega-3 rich foods like flaxseeds, fatty fish or chia seeds.

• Have a cup of freshly-brewed loose green tea or black tea leaves sans sugar as it also also helps reduce inflammation.

• Add a little red or green chillies to your food (unless you have hyperacidity or ulcers.)

• Remove all inflammatory foods—sugar, processed meats, junk foods, refined carbs, refined oils. Avoid cigarettes and alcohol.

Emerge mentally and emotionally stronger

Covid infection doesn’t just affect your body, but also your mind and emotions. Most individuals tend to experience the fear of falling sick again or of post-Covid side effects. Fear is your body’s survival mechanism. Use that fear to fuel you into action. Make a list of what you can now do to address that fear, such as:

• Boost your and your family members’ immunity.

• Follow safety protocols.

• Cut away from sources of news that stress you out, including conversations, mindless scrolling, forwarded messages and so on.

• Believe in your body’s intelligence to protect you.

• Affirm this mantra: I am safe. I am protected. I am guided.

• Change the narrative. If it’s been tough for someone, it doesn’t have to be tough for you.

Now, slowly move to action. Yes, take professional help if necessary.

Build a strong you and take whatever right action you can.

Luke Coutinho practices in the space of Holistic Nutrition—Integrative & Lifestyle Medicine and is the founder of YouCare-All about You by Luke Coutinho

Disclaimer: None of what is shared in the article is a replacement for any medication or medical treatment you might be on. Please make an informed decision and keep your health professional in the loop before trying anything new.

Catch Luke Coutinho’s column every fortnight in HT Brunch. It will next appear on May 28, 2022.

From HT Brunch, May 14, 2022

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