Nutrition For Post Viral Syndrome

Are you struggling with post-viral syndrome? Post-viral syndrome encompasses a wide range of complex conditions involving physical, cognitive, emotional and neurological difficulties that vary in severity over time.

Researchers have found that long COVID for example has been shown to exhibit similar presentation as Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

We don’t have good data on how often it occurs but can be triggered by many things. Often times, clinical examination usually shows that “everything is fine”, which makes it even more challenging when you are trying to figure where to start in your healing process.

Symptoms might include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness/muscular fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Pain
  • Difficulty concentrating, poor memory
  • Malaise

In addition to taking preventative measures to keep yourself healthy, there are steps you can take to support your body and immune system.

Diet

Your gut microbiome becomes incredibly important when addressing the body’s immune response. Research shows that the SARS-CoV2 virus could be present in the gut for up to 7 months after testing positive. About 70-80% of your immune function resides in the tissue in the gastrointestinal tract.

Specific foods to include to support post viral syndrome:

Bone broth has potential to help reduce inflammation in the gut and is a great source of essential amino acids that our bodies need to obtain from our diet to support daily immune function.

Organ meats are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Providing natural b vitamins, copper, iron, and zinc, I prefer to take mine in supplement form. If you are brave, you can try making your own liver meatballs like I did a few weeks ago. They were pretty darn good!

Raw honey has antiviral and ant-inflammatory properties. Try making my peanut butter protein bars that are no bake (no heat), an essential aspect of receiving all the benefits of the honey.

Garlic also has antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains allicin, a strong antibiotic that is released when cloves are crushed or chewed. After chopping your garlic, let it sit for 15 minutes before adding it to your favorite stir-fry or soup.

Cruciferous veggies, including broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage and Brussels sprouts may provide an important boost to our immune system, thanks to a chemical called sulforaphane. This compound activates certain antioxidant genes and enzymes in our immune cells, enhancing our body’s ability to fight invaders and eliminate toxins.

Green tea, specifically the compound EGCG, has been shown in vitro to target the SARS-CoV2 virus directly along with other types of viruses.

Mushrooms. It is well-established that mushrooms are adept at immune modulation and affect hematopoietic stem cells, lymphocytes, macrophages, T cells, dendritic cells, and natural killer cells. The best to include in your diet are reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail, agaricus, and maitake. You can learn more about the benefits of mushrooms on my podcast. 

Omega-3 fats such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel are essential for lowering inflammation in the body. Research also shows that consuming more omega-3’s has a positive impact on the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Ginger has direct anti-viral impacts and can potentiate the anti-viral innate immunity. It has also been shown to suppresses influenza virus replication via induction of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) production by macrophages.

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, miso, and kefir provide the gut with beneficial bacteria to help support immune function. Here’s a great kefir smoothie recipe that’s been a staple for me.

The key here is increasing the nutrient density of your diet and supporting organs in the body that are responsible for immune function, such as the gut microbiome. The virus itself and the stress on the body can directly deplete certain important vitamins and minerals.

Lifestyle 

Acupuncture, cognitive behavior therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy are examples of interventions that have been studied recently. I’d love to hear from you if this is something you have tried and seen benefits from.

I’ve been talking to a lot of clients who are still working through the mental health burdens of the pandemic. Prioritizing meditation, joyful exercise, connecting with friends/family, getting adequate sleep, and time outside can support mental health as well as seeking the help of a professional.

Reducing sugar and alcohol intake are two simple ways to make a big impact on immune function. Both sugar and alcohol directly suppress the immune system, making it harder for your body to perform daily immune functions. Stick to mocktails and choose healthier desserts like the ones in my sweet tooth book (mocktails included).

Published On: October 30, 2023Categories: Gut Health, Immune, Food, COVID-19, Uncategorized

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