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Post-jab diet: Foods to strengthen immunity and maximise the effects of Covid-19 vaccine

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Hydrating fruits can minimise the risk of getting side effects from the Covid vaccines and so, one must consume fresh fruits in generous quantities.

Reya Mehrotra

The bad news is that the second wave of Covid-19 is here to stay for some time, but the good news is that we have vaccines to fight it. However, a number of people have experienced some side-effects after taking the shot like headache, fever, body ache, fatigue, etc. But doctors say that with a healthy diet and routine, these can be minimised or avoided altogether. Here are some foods to strengthen immunity and maximise the effects of the vaccine, as well as a few don’ts to keep in mind after taking the shot.

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Onion & garlic
Both onion and garlic are good immunity-boosters and good for gut health. They must be made a part of the meal and cooked post the vaccination necessarily. Raw garlic is known to contain manganese, vitamin B6, fibre, selenium, vitamin C and some amounts of calcium, copper, potassium, iron and phosphorous. It is known to treat common cold and is high in antioxidants.

Hydrating fruits can minimise the risk of getting side effects from the Covid vaccines and so, one must consume fresh fruits in generous quantities. Chikoo, jamun, pineapple, mango, banana, musk melon, and watermelon are fruits that are in season and can be had to help keep the body hydrated. These are best consumed as breakfast to build immunity and get going with a healthy start to the day.

Green vegetables
A balanced diet is important to avoid any serious side effects. Green vegetables boost immunity and are packed with nutrition. They are also good for gut health. Hence, the post-vaccine diet must include a lot of green vegetables. They can either be cooked or consumed raw as salads. They can also be had as soups. The more colourful the vegetable platter, the better and healthier and so, ensure that a vegetable salad has all colours.

Turmeric has gained a global reputation for being an immunity booster. This superfood also helps in releasing stress, aids digestion, has healing properties and treats inflammation. One can add turmeric to the kadhas prepared at home to be consumed once or twice a day or have it with milk before sleeping. Detox turmeric teas and turmeric-mint chutneys can be prepared easily at home.

Garlic cloves, shallots and white onions – food ingredient on wooden board, decorated with fresh parsley.

Staying hydrated is one of the most important parts of any healthy diet. To keep the body active, hydrated and unaffected by any vaccine side effects, one must have plenty of water a day before and till a few days after the vaccine. It is said to minimise any side effects of the vaccines. Liquid intake can be increased in the form of homemade soups, organic teas, kadhas, juices and shakes as well. It is also preferable to have water at room temperature.

Whole grains
Wholegrain foods that are rich in fibre can help in building immunity after the jab. Semolina which is a whole grain, millets, quinoa, brown rice, corn, popcorn, wholegrain breads or chapatis, oats must be consumed for increased fibre intake. Ragi, bajra, jowar, sattu must be consumed as well. Some Indian recipes that include wholegrain must be tried like moong dal, multigrain dosa, medu vada, upma.

Avoid processed food, sugar
Medical studies suggest that foods high in sugar and saturated fats can lead to stress, anxiety and disturbed sleep. One can instead satisfy sugar craving by switching to healthier options like fruits which possess natural sugar and coat them with honey. All types of processed junk food must be avoided for a few days after the vaccination. Instead dry fruits, boiled corn, peanuts, fox nuts, vegetable salads and vegetable sandwiches can be replaced as healthy snacking options.

Set raw healthy food clean eating vegetables source of protein for vegetarians: cucumber, lucerne, zucchini, spinach, basil, green peas, avocado, broccoli, lime on black background, top view

Good sleep
It is important for the body to be adequately rested before getting the vaccine shot in order to avoid fatigue and body ache. Hence, it is advisable to get a good night’s sleep a day before the vaccine. Doctors say that since the body rebuilds its defense mechanism during sleep, sleep deprivation may lead to suppressed immunity. It could also lead to stress which further suppresses the immune system. It is also important to keep the blood circulation going in the body and hence doctors advise some form of exercise after the vaccine.

Avoid alcohol
The body needs to be hydrated. Some people might also experience symptoms like body ache, fatigue, fever and pain. Consumption of alcohol at such a time can lead to dehydration. Studies have also found that consumption of alcohol weakens immunity and hence it must be avoided for a few days after taking the vaccine shot as a precautionary measure. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends avoiding alcohol a day before and after the vaccine as it suppresses immunity.

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