What to eat to increase resistance to avoid ‘cytokine storm’?

Eat a variety of fish, shrimp, crab, red meat, poultry, increase fruits and vegetables, drink enough water, combine exercise to help you strengthen immunity, speed recovery.

According to the book Covid-19 monograph for medical staff Compiled by doctors of the Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases, a complete, balanced and varied diet plays an important role in the functioning of the immune system, helping to reduce the risk of disease as well as shortening the life cycle. treatment time.

Patients need to eat a balance between foods containing animal and vegetable protein, increase the use of fish, shrimp, crab, beans. Eat red meat 1-2 times a week, poultry 2-3 times a week. In addition, daily should eat 250 g of fruit, 300 g of vegetables. Focus on unsaturated fats in fish, avocado, seeds, olive oil, soybeans, sunflower oil, corn oil… rather than saturated fat found in fatty meat, coconut oil, cream, cheese, lard pork, margarine. Avoid foods high in industrial fats such as processed foods, fast foods, fried foods, pizza, baked goods, margarine. Limit foods high in sugar such as soft drinks, juices, syrups, limit alcohol consumption.

Adequate hydration, at least over two liters of water per day, electrolytes sodium, potassium, magnesium, because water helps transport nutrients and substances in the blood, regulate body temperature. Patients with Covid-19 may have kidney damage and “cytokine storms” that cause polyuria, increased excretion of sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Anorexia also reduces the amount of food and water to drink, and wearing a mask continuously reduces the feeling of thirst, so it is necessary to actively replenish water regularly.

The patient also added some vitamins as antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene. These vitamins have been shown to increase the number of T cells, Interleukin-2, increase NK cell activity, increase immunity to influenza; However, there is not enough data to confirm the role of improving disease progression and prognosis of Covid-19 patients.

Beta-carotene is abundant in sweet potatoes, carrots, green leafy vegetables. Vitamin C in red peppers, oranges, strawberries, cauliflower, mangoes, lemons… A great source of vitamin E comes from vegetable oils (soybean, sunflower, corn, walnut…), nuts, seeds, etc. cauliflower…

A doctor treats and takes care of people with Covid-19 at the Covid-19 Resuscitation Center at Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital, September 13. Photo: Quynh Tran

Isolated patients, less exposure to sunlight, can lead to reduced vitamin D production. Meanwhile, vitamin D participates in respiratory protection, reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine production, so reduces the risk of cytokine storm lead to pneumonia. Therefore, F0 needs to supplement vitamin D through fish, liver, egg yolk, milk, yogurt…

Another micronutrient that also boosts immunity is zinc. Foods rich in zinc should be included in the diet such as oysters, red meat, pumpkin seeds, sesame, beans…

Due to prolonged isolation at home, many F0 spend most of their time sitting, lying down, watching TV, playing games, using phones…, causing weight gain, loss of muscle mass and strength, increase or severity. than chronic diseases. Prolonged inactivity also increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis. Doctors recommend that patients should exercise regularly, from very simple things such as walking, lifting objects, climbing stairs, cleaning the garden, playing indoor sports, practicing yoga… Should practice every day. 30 minutes a day to maintain health and body mass index. Patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) should do early rehabilitation exercises to avoid muscle atrophy.

F0 hospitalization, long term resuscitation, loss of muscle mass and function, are common problems. Therefore, before discharge, patients should be screened and evaluated to detect the risk of acute malnutrition.

Doctors recommend that people with acute malnutrition should continue to use high-protein, high-energy nutritional products for at least one month after discharge from the hospital. In case of not being malnourished, nutritional supplements should be added to daily meals (additional 2-3 snacks/day, including milk, yogurt, fruit…) for at least two weeks.

Thuy Quynh