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Can the Symptoms of the Recent Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Be Managed With Diet?

Updated on April 5, 2020
ZahisthabegumR profile image

Zahistha is currently pursuing her Bachelor's in Food Science and Nutrition and is interested to create awareness to people about Nutrition.

What is so important about this article?

The readers need to understand that, how severe a disease maybe, the beginning stages of the disease conditions have possible chances to be cured with food and nutrition. In this I have mentioned some foods and their medicinal values which have possible chances to prevent the beginning symptoms of Novel Coronavirus aka Covid-19.


"Good Nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are Interconnected."

— T. Collin Campbell

The Novel Coronavirus (nCoV):

“Coronaviruses are large family of viruses that causes illness ranging from common cold to more severe diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain of virus that has not been previously identified in humans” (Report by World Health Organization (WHO).

These viruses are Zoonotic, which means they can transfer from animals to people.

Also studies show that older people who have medical problems like diabetes, cardiovascular problems, cancer are more prone to this virus. Also it is clear that the virus spreads through respiratory droplets or droplets of saliva when infected person coughs or sneezes.


The first set of symptom includes Common cold, Fever, Cough, Shortness of breath and other breathing difficulties.

If the above symptoms are untreated they may lead to Pneumonia (air sacs of lungs being filled with pus or fluid), Kidney Failure and also SARS and MERS, which include similar symptoms of nCoV in addition to Diarrhoea and ultimately it leads to death.

Precautions to follow:

The basic precautions include:

  • Regularly and thoroughly washing hands with hand sanitizers or other alcohol based liquids.
  • To close mouth while sneezing or coughing.
  • To avoid large gatherings and outings.
  • To wear masks while going out in case of emergencies.
  • To drink plenty of water which is purified and better if boiled.
  • Thoroughly cooking foods, especially meat and animal products and better suggested if consumed them in lesser quantities.

Also it is important to avoid close contact with people especially those are suspected with the symptoms of nCoV. Social distancing is must at times of disease outbreaks.

Diet as Mode of Treatment:

It is important to maintain a strong immune system in our body as the viruses can more easily access to persons with less immune strength. Infants and elderly people, who have lesser immunity than compared to other aged people are more susceptible to this virus.

Foods rich in Vitamin-C, Vitamin-K, Vitamin-E, Minerals and Beta-Carotene are found to be effective in treating the symptoms associated with the nCoV except for Diarrhoea which needs a more effective and personalized diet plan as the foods involved in treating the other symptoms are found to be in opposition to diarrhoea.

Foods to include:

  • Citrus Foods:

Foods rich in Vitamin C helps in the increased production of the White blood cell count. Also they help to fight infection and maintain a good defence system in our body.

Foods rich in Vitamin C include Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, Lemons, Clementines, Kiwi, Berries.

Also ounce for ounce Red Bell peppers contain twice as much as Vitamin C as citrus. Also it is a good source of beta-carotene. But if Diarrhoea occurs, it is better suggested to avoid these foods.

  • Broccoli:

Broccoli is said to contain good amount of Vitamins and Minerals like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, and many other fibers and anti-oxidants.

It is always suggested to consume it less cooked or better not to cook at all. But if symptoms include diarrhoea, it is better to avoid broccoli in this case.

  • Ginger:

Ginger is helpful to decrease inflammatory illness and also ages before, people use ginger to treat cold, cough and flu. It has heat in the form of Gingerol- a relative of Capsaicin, which warms body in case of low body temperature.

It also decreases chronic pain and possess cholesterol-lowering properties. Also it helps to decrease nausea.

  • Yoghurt:

Yoghurt is used as a Probiotic source in foods. They are a great source of Vitamin D and increases good bacteria in the gut. Yoghurt is found to be a more effective food source for nCoV as it has the ability to manage all the symptoms related to it.

It is advised to consume plain yoghurt than flavoured or sweetened.

  • Turmeric:

Turmeric acts as mucolytic, removes mucus from the bronchial ducts. Also it used as an anti-inflammatory source from ancient times.

Turmeric contains compound called Curcumin, which is the main active ingredient in it and also it has very powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Also this Curcumin helps to increase the antioxidant capacity in our body. Also they have anti-carcinogenic properties.

  • Sunflower Seeds:

Sunflower seeds are rich in Magnesium, Phosphorus, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E.

Though Vitamin E is also present in Avocados and Dark green leafy vegetables, for this condition it is suggested to consume Sunflower seeds than other sources of Vitamin E

Also it is best suggested to consume raw and unsalted sunflower seeds to keep the sodium content low, which is not favourable for people with rare symptoms.

  • Black Cumin Seeds:

Black cumin seeds are used to treat many illnesses since 2000 years. They are helpful in managing almost all the symptoms of nCoV starting from fever and cold till diarrhoea.

They also contain many chemical compounds that, they are also widely used to treat or manage symptoms of cancer and other viral diseases.

This Black cumin seeds contain Thymoquinone , an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compound which also have tumour-reducing properties.Though they have some health benefits, they have some possible side effects too. So it is better suggested to consult doctor and consume it with doctor’s approval.

  • Salmon:

Salmon is found to be rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and is also a great source of protein.

Apart from these it is loaded with Selenium, which strengthens our immune system and also increases the blood level.

Also Salmon contains good quantity of Vitamin B and helps to fight inflammatory diseases.

Salmon is also found to be a good source for pregnant and lactating women, as the Vitamin-B and Omenga-3 fatty acids helps in the postpartum depression and also they help to increase the breast milk production. Even they are one of the good sources of Vitamin-D.

  • Water:

Last but not the least Water is much needed for body anytime and under any disease condition apart from some rare exception. Drinking water daily for the correct quantity not only quenches our thirst but also washes away all the infectious material and keeps our body hydrated all time.

But in cases like, kidney failure has to be a symptom, then it is must to drink water only to the allowed quantity.

Immunity Rich Foods for Infants:

At these times of disease outbreaks, infants must be provided proper immune rich foods. Breastfeeding must be done, since mother’s milk can provide good amount of immunity and satiety than formulized milk or foods. It is also proven that Breast milk contains antibodies which can cure and help to fight the illness that is causing the coughs.

From the above mentioned foods, Yoghurt and Broccoli can also be supplied. Broccoli has to be boiled well and mashed up since the infant’s digestion level is low to digest the broccoli.

Also Salmon can be given for infants. Usually babies need DHA for brain development and also at these times, apart from providing brain development, Salmons can also provide better immunity for babies. It is suggested to give salmon for babies once in a week.


“Prevention is Better than Cure”, so it is best advised to follow a nutritious diet plan throughout the day and also self hygiene and grooming is much important to keep such diseases at bay.

Especially for this new nCoV, people are advised to stay away from close contact with others and to keep themselves and the surrounding hygiene. Also it is best to avoid meat and pork until the disease condition comes to an end.

Also from the above it is clearly understood that, the Coronavirus cannot be cured completely with diet basis, but the early symptoms can be managed with proper diet and self hygiene too.

"A Healthy Outside starts from the Inside"

— Robert Urich

Article by: Ms.R.Zahistha Begum, I B.Sc Food Science and Nutrition, Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women. (Deemed to be University under category ‘A’ by MHRD. Estd. U/S 3 of UGC Act 1956). Re-accredited with ‘A+’ Grade by NAAC. Recognized by UGC under section 12 B. Coimbatore – 641043, Tamil Nadu, India.

© 2020 R Zahistha Begum


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