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Diet and exercise to combat Long Covid

March 26, 2022
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Diet and exercise to combat Long Covid

Long Covid is a condition that can arise a few months after contracting the new coronavirus and that involves several debilitating symptoms. At present, scientists are analyzing this syndrome to understand possible strategies to cope with the consequences that Long Covid can cause, such as diabetes, depression, inflammation and debilitation. Worthy of note are two very recent scientific researches we are talking about today. The first research was published in Exercise and sport science reviews by an American team from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana (Rebello et al, Exercise and sport science reviews, 2022), the second in the journal Nutrients by a group of Italian scientists (Barrea et al, Nutrients, 2022).

Long Covid, what it is

The new coronavirus not only causes acute infection but, in a percentage that can even reach 80% of those who have had COVID 19, a syndrome called Long Covid. Long Covid is characterized by weakness, loss of muscle mass, mental confusion and depression. Not only that, even people who have had an infection with mild symptoms may develop type 2 diabetes, even six months after the cough and fever have disappeared. Not only that, Long Covid can increase sugar levels to such an extent that diabetic ketacidosis can also be observed in some people, an acute and very serious condition typical of type 1 diabetes. The cause of all these symptoms is an increased levels of inflammation.

The importance of physical exercise against the consequences of COVID 19

In the first research, scientists state that a very powerful tool to counteract inflammation and thus also the increase in blood sugar, fatigue, depression and confusion is represented from exercise. And what's important is that you don't have to run for miles. The important thing is to move. The ideal would be 30 minutes a day to devote to physical activity, even a brisk walk. But if this is not possible, even fifteen minutes of walking a day are fine. What matters is to do everything at our disposal to move every day, since exercise, as shown by the research, blocks the chain reaction that leads to the most severe consequences from inflammation.

Diet and Long Covid

The second study instead focuses on diet and its ability to counteract inflammation and with it the symptoms of Long Covid. In particular, it is important to take proteins, both of vegetable and animal origin, as Long Covid is often associated with loss of muscle mass. The recommendation is to include a source of protein with every meal or snack. Possible sources of protein are legumes, dairy products such as yogurt, eggs but also fish and lean meats.

Then, it is important not to miss the omega 3 fatty acids, which you find for example in fatty fish and nuts and which are anti-inflammatory, vitamin D and selenium. The main source of vitamin D for the human body is moderate exposure to the sun, while among the selenium sources we mention whole grains, shrimp, tuna, sardines with bones and Brazil nuts, Among the carbohydrates, it is good to choose whole grain cereals in order to avoid the dangerous glycemic peaks that would lead to an increase in inflammation levels. Other compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action are quercetin, catechins and resveratrol, which you can find in green tea, apples with peel, onions, red fruits, cocoa, broccoli. All these guidelines are admirably summarized by the Mediterranean diet, which involves the intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and extra virgin olive oil, a moderate intake of dairy products and fish and a low intake of red and processed meats. The Mediterranean diet therefore is a valid ally in countering Long Covid.

In addition to this, after consultation with your doctor, it is also recommended to take inositol supplements, which counteract the excessive release of pro-inflammatory substances, and glutathione, a substance with a high antioxidant power.

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