Lifestyle Tips to Speed Recovery From Illness: Dr Joshua Berkowitz Shares Advice
Recovering from COVID-19 is not only a long process but it can also be very different for each person. Since COVID-19 is a new virus, we are still learning about how the virus affects our bodies, but also how to prevent, treat and recover from the disease.
Healthy lifestyle habits such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, plenty of sleep and social support can have a positive impact on recovery from any virus so it’s important to look after yourself to strengthen your immunity during the pandemic.
Dr. Joshua Berkowitz, Medical Director and Founder of health and wellness company IV Boost UK, shares his recovery advice for those who have been affected by Coronavirus:
Keep Your Body Well Hydrated
It’s important to keep well hydrated when sick and whilst recovering from COVID-19 to improve oxygen flow around the body and flush out toxins. Water helps to strengthen the immune system and optimises the body’s natural processes.
If you have had a fever or diarrhoea, which are both common symptoms of Coronavirus, you will have lost a lot of fluid. Drinking electrolyte-enhanced drinks is highly recommended to help replenish the sodium, potassium, and calcium lost from the body. Drinking 3 litres of fluid a day is optimal in supporting the body after illness.
Water should be room temperature or warmer as cold water doesn’t absorb as efficiently into the body or quench thirst effectively. Remember to drink regularly, even if you aren’t thirsty.
Eat Nourishing Food
The appetite may have been suppressed whilst having Coronavirus, but it’s important to eat nourishing food to help support the body to recover.
More calories are required after illness to help support the essential functioning and repair of the body and this should be obtained through fresh, nutritious food which is easy to digest (and easy to make), such as eggs, fresh fruit & vegetables, oily fish, cereals, oats and spices such as garlic and turmeric are all great diet choices for the recovery.
Support Your Body with Supplements
Whilst most nutrients should be obtained through food, additional supplementation can be advantageous in supporting your recovery, including Vitamin C, Vitamin D, potassium, zinc and magnesium:
- Vitamin C – essential for the repair of the body tissue and support immune system function (Liposomal form is best for absorption).
- Vitamin D – assists with immune function and the absorption of minerals.
- Potassium – acts as an electrolyte in the body, regulating fluid balance.
- Zinc- promotes immunity and healing.
- Magnesium- helps reduce inflammation and helps convert food into energy.
Get Some Sunshine
We are currently enjoying beautiful weather in Britain and being in the sunshine can have restorative effects on the mind and body. Additionally, spending 10-15 minutes in the sun gives you that much-needed vitamin D.
If you go outside in the sun for more than 15 min, protect your skin with sun-protecting clothing, a hat, and some sunscreen. Spending too much time in the sun without skin protection can cause sunburn, which can not only be painful but also dehydrating.
Gentle Exercise Focused on Breathing
The more severe the symptoms of Coronavirus the longer the recovery is likely to take. It’s important to take time to recover properly and don’t rush back into work or exercise as this can create fatigue and be detrimental to the recovery duration.
Gentle exercise focused on breathing such as yoga, tai chi and meditation are all highly beneficial for recovery after Coronavirus to support and improve respiratory function. Any exercise should be gentle and gradually built up over time. It’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard.
Get Sufficient Sleep and Rest
When recovering from any illness it’s important to sleep, giving your body the time it needs to heal effectively. When we sleep, the brain releases hormones to aid tissue repair, which helps new white blood cells fight bacteria and viruses.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system is unable to function effectively or give adequate protection from infection so it’s important to sleep and rest as much as possible whilst ill and recovering.
Get Emotional Support
Self-isolation can be lonely, so it’s important to stay connected with loved ones and friends to help boost your spirit, reduce the feeling of anxiety and get emotional support.
We are fortunate to have an abundance of technology that enables us to stay remotely connected at the touch of a button.
Physical contact with a partner is also really important and the endorphins and oxytocin released with intimacy can be advantageous to both physical and mental health.
It is a highly stressful period of uncertainty that we are all living through together with very little control over; we can, however, take control of our physical and mental health. Focus on the advantages of this quieter period and a more restful pace of life and enjoy it. Most of all, be kind to yourself and others.