Long covid

Long covid has affected a considerable number of people in the world. The treatment options are limited. But on the social media, a number of diet types are doing the rounds. Let us analyze the effectiveness of two of those diets.

Table of Contents

What is long covid?

Covid-19 started as a pandemic in December 2019 and is still continuing. It inflicted several people and even led to deaths of many of them. While some who recovered had no long term problems, there were some who continued to have symptoms even after the active infection was over. These cases are said to suffer from long covid.

Long covid
What are long covid symptoms? (Source: BBC)

The prolonged symptoms are varied and include fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath. Medicine still has no proper cure of this condition though some drugs are being tried on these cases with variable outcomes.

These patients have formed social media groups and are discussing about certain diets that might be helpful in dealing with their condition. These are anecdotes and there is no proper studies backing them. But let’s have a look at two of these diets.

The anti-inflammatory diet

  • Inflammation is a protective mechanism of the body to ward off an infection. But excess of this inflammation is bad for the body. And scientists believe that such deranged inflammation causes prolonged covid. Hence some experts also feel that an anti-inflammatory diet might be the answer to this medical problem.

    Long covid
    Mediterranean diet (Source: British dietetic association

These patients should avoid foods that can trigger inflammation such as fried foods, sugary foods, processed foods and refined carbs. And antioxidant rich foods should be consumed. And the best diet for reducing inflammation in the body is the Mediterranean diet. This includes consumption of whole grains, nuts seeds, fruits, vegetables, healthy oils and fish.

Hence even some researchers advocate consuming a Mediterranean diet to alleviate the symptoms of short term as well as long term covid.

The anti histamine diet

Histamine is a substance that the body produces in response to an injury or allergy. It brings about body inflammation which might be localized or generalized. When too much of histamine is produced for the body to handle, ill effects can occur. These include fatigue, wheezing, loose motions and headaches. This is because the substance histamine has a vasodilatory effect on the body.

Long covid
Anti histamine diet (Source: Pinterest)

Researchers feel that this might be the reason for the prolongation of symptoms in covid-19 survivors. The dysfunctional immune cells after covid infection might be leading to excessive release of histamine and hence those symptoms of long covid. Hence, the anti histamine diet might have a role there to play.

In an anti histamine diet, foods high in histamine are prohibited. These include fermented foods, alcohol, dairy products, shellfish, aged cheese and processed meat. Wheat germ and certain fruits and vegetables are also rich in histamine. Hence patients of long covid should avoid them.

Also, read Long Covid symptoms: Foods and drinks to counteract them!

There are anecdotes of recovery with this diet. But there are no studies on it. Moreover, the histamine levels of all foods are not clear and are variable. While eating, it might be tricky to know which foods to have and which to avoid. This diet is not recommended in these cases.