How do my symptoms affect my diet?

Information on how COVID-19 symptoms can affect what you eat and how to manage them

 

On this page you will find information to help you understand how symptoms are linked to nutrition and how changing your diet might help improve your symptoms. It is important to be aware that although changing your diet may improve your symptoms, it cannot cure them.

We have organised symptoms into seven groups:

  • General health e.g. fatigue, pain, dizziness etc
  • Respiratory e.g. breathlessness, coughing, dry mouth etc
  • Gut e.g. taste and appetite changes, swallowing, diarrhoea etc
  • Psychological and cognitive problems e.g. sleep problems, anxiety, depression etc
  • Social and occupational effects e.g. availability of food, isolation, low work productivity etc
  • Functional problems e.g. ability to carry out normal daily activities like shopping, cooking etc
  • Pre-existing conditions e.g. obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure etc.

The advice given will help you minimise the impact on your nutrient intake or help you improve the symptom. Changing one aspect of your diet may mean another aspect will also change; ideally you would seek personalised advice from a dietitian or registered nutritionist.

There is additional information on:

  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Keeping a diary
  • Post-critical care recovery and similar conditions to COVID-19
Choose the relevant part of the body or health aspect for further information:

Useful resources

Vitamin and mineral supplements

It is unknown if over-the-counter vitamins and mineral supplements are helpful, harmful or have no effect in treating symptoms of COVID-19.

Vitamin D is important for a properly functioning immune system and so plays a role in preventing COVID-19. Recommendations for Vitamin D are that all adults should take a 10ug (400IU) supplement during the winter (Oct-Mar), and for at risk adults to take the same supplement all year. More than this can weaken bones and harm kidneys, so take advice from your healthcare professional for higher doses.

You can watch our Q&A session with topic experts where they discuss the use of supplements.

Keeping a diary

It can help to keep a diary of your symptoms. This will help you to learn what works best to manage your symptoms. It can also help health care professional understand the pattern of your symptoms. There are many ways to keep a diary by using an app or keeping a paper copy.

  • Print and copy as many pages as you need from Allergy UK [PDF] to fill in on a hard copy
  • Or download a Food diary [Word.doc] that is expandable and fill it in your electronic device

You can watch a video about how to use a food diary and its benefits by our expert, Hannah Hunter: “Is there a link between food and my symptoms?”.

Post critical care recovery and similar conditions to COVID-19

Post critical care recovery

Patient literature for other conditions

  • The Action for ME charity provides detailed booklet to support making an informed decision about various pacing approaches to address fatigue, weakness and other related symptoms – Pacing for people with ME [PDF]

Mental health

Patient literature for other conditions

  • The Action for ME charity provides detailed booklet to support making an informed decision about various pacing approaches to address fatigue, weakness and other related symptoms – Pacing for people with ME [PDF] 

Was this page helpful?

As a patient, did this page help you find out everything you wanted to know about this topic?

References for this advice