Proper and healthy nutrition can help our body recover even after a viral illness or flu.
In the first days of the development of influenza, as well as in other viral and bacterial infections, appetite naturally decreases. This is due to the so-called. cytokines - substances that are released by macrophages and other immune cells in response to a viral or bacterial infection. If a person does not feel hungry, you do not need to force yourself to eat. It is recommended to drink a lot of fluids for a day or two and to consume more liquid foods such as food broths, soups (chicken soup is especially recommended). Digesting liquid foods requires much less energy than digesting solid foods. This means that the body will have more energy to fight the flu infection. Drinking plenty of fluids is especially important - it is necessary to drink at least 6-8 glasses a day. Fluids prevent dehydration, which can occur as a result of fever, help to detoxify the body, to dilute the secretions in the airways. Hot broths, herbal teas, vegetable juices, diluted fruit juices are recommended.
After the flu or viral illness, a gradual feeding should be started, and it is not recommended to overload the body with large amounts of food. However, it must be of high nutritional value and contain high doses of vitamins, minerals and proteins. For example, it is recommended to drink dairy drinks, freshly prepared fruit and vegetable juices instead of sweetened carbonated drinks with a high carbohydrate content. For the period after a viral infection, milk and dairy products with a low percentage of fat are suitable, which will supply the body with easily digestible protein. It is recommended to eat fish, which is rich in protein and omega 3 fatty acids, but is easily digested and does not burden the gastrointestinal tract.
The fats in nuts, which also contain omega-3 fatty acids, are also useful. They are mainly represented by alpha-linolenic acid, which is not long-chain, but from it in the body are formed long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which have supporting immune functions and anti-inflammatory action.
It is advisable to avoid the consumption of sugar and sugar-rich foods, as they also increase the release of cytokines.
In response to a viral or bacterial infection, leukocytes release free radicals, which, when accumulated, can cause "oxidative stress" and damage normal cells. Therefore, for the proper functioning of the immune system, it is important to maintain an adequate antioxidant status in the body.
Consumption of foods and beverages rich in substances with antioxidant action (vitamin C, carotenes, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, bioflavonoids, etc.) is important for overcoming the harmful effects of viral and bacterial infections. On the other hand, the antioxidants themselves have a specific antiviral and antibacterial action. Fruits in vegetables, especially those with bright and saturated colors - "traffic light colors" are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, carotenes, bioflavonoids. Green and black tea are also wonderful sources of bioflavonoids. Other antioxidants are a number of enzymes that are involved in the antioxidant system. Some minerals such as zinc, selenium, m, manganese serve as cofactors of these enzymes. These minerals are high in whole grains, legumes, meat.
In no case should the diet be low in protein. People who are on a vegetarian diet can build a good enough diet to get a complete protein. Proteins are needed for the synthesis of immunoactive molecules and receptors and must be present in sufficient quantities in the daily diet.
Diets only on fruits and vegetables, or juices, in any case should not be applied for a long time. Of course, in obese patients, an unloading day can be administered once a week, during which to reduce food intake and to take only fruit juices, tea and fluids. However, this should not last long because it impairs the body's immunity.
Proteins do not have to be of animal origin. Their plant alternatives are legumes, cereals and nuts. Each of these types of foods in itself has a deficiency of certain amino acids. Their combination, however, gives a very good complementation of the protein and this deficiency is compensated.
Fluids are also important for good homeostasis.