Bhopal: Experts advice no 'nirjala' fast for COVID recovered patients, should opt for more fruits and 'phalahari'

09:27 PM Oct 16, 2020 | Smita

BHOPAL: The COVID pandemic brought a lot of anxiety in the people following which most of them contacted the counsellors or wellness centres to overcome their depression, anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People started focussing more on immunity-boosting techniques and personal hygiene.

Navratri has arrived, creating a major concern among the public about maintaining a balance between immunity and faith. As per the experts, only the body’s immune system can help one defeat COVID-19 hence anything that weakens or lowers immunity can harm patients who have recovered from the disease.


Doctors and dieticians in the city say that people who have recovered from COVID can keep fast during Navratri, beginning from Saturday, although with precautions. They should avoid keeping ‘nirjala’ (without water) fast and should not go without food for long durations.


Dr Mahesh Maheshwari, assistant professor, AIIMS, Bhopal, said that COVID-19 patients who have tested negative and are in the recovery phase can fast, provided they are not suffering from co-morbidities like hypertension and diabetes. And even they should eat at least twice or thrice a day. They should include milk and milk products and fruits in their diet.

According to Dr AK Shrivastava, medical superintendent, Hamidia Hospital, the very fact that a person got infected with Covid shows that his immunity level or body resistance was low. And remaining hungry for long periods lowers your blood sugar levels (Hypoglycaemia in medical jargon). So, that should be avoided. The recovered patients who are suffering from any lifestyle diseases should strictly refrain from fasting. Those who are otherwise healthy can fast but should take a healthy diet.

Nutritionist Sonali Malhotra says that the recovered patients should take ‘Phalahari’ food which should include sabudana (sago), kuttu ka atta (buckwheat flour), mordhan, buttermilk, curd, kaddu (pumpkin), lauki (bottle gourd), dal, paneer, rajgira, singhara and sendha namak.

She said that different families follow different customs and there are many ways of fasting during Navratri. “But broadly, it can be said that having meals only once a day should be avoided. Also, some persons do not eat cereals at all during the nine days. That should also not be done. “The bottom line is that such food should be taken which maintains your energy levels and supplies necessary nutrients to your body,” she said.

According to dietician Harsha Bhatnagar, in the case of recovered Corona patients the objective should be to maintain electrolyte balance and ensure adequate supply of protein. She said that milk and milk products like paneer and butter milk can supply protein. Singhare ka atta and kuttu ka atta can be the source of carbohydrates. She said that it would be better to add mashed vegetables and powdered groundnut while kneading the flour to make the puris made from the aata more nutritious. Similarly, sliced apple or banana can be eaten with curd. Such persons, if they chose to fast, should take milk, shakes, butter milk etc at frequent intervals during the day.

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