Here are some expert opinions.
There’s no need to follow a special diet for your immunization, so you can relax. However, we talked to the CDC and medical professionals to better understand how alcohol consumption and the subsequent effects of it differ, as well as the items you should eat or avoid prior to and after your treatment.
Author: Lainey Younkin, M.S., RD, LDN
As more of us have the opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID -19, hopefully putting an end to the pandemic, you may be wondering if you should eat or drink anything special before your appointment. The potential side effects of the COVID vaccine are well known. According to the CDC, symptoms include a sore arm, aches, and chills. But what, if any, role does food play? Is there anything you can eat before and after getting the COVID vaccine to help reduce symptoms or boost your immune system? Conversely, is there anything you should avoid eating? We spoke with several doctors to learn more about the role of anti-inflammatory foods, alcohol, hydration, and sleep in the COVID vaccine.
Select anti-inflammatory foods.
“There is insufficient evidence to suggest that anti-inflammatory foods or supplements, such as vitamin C, improve the effectiveness of the COVID vaccine. However, eating a nutrient-dense diet and taking vitamin C help the immune system in general, “Dr Heather Koza, MD, of Comprehensive Integrative Healthcare in Michigan, agrees. (Find out more about the best immune-boosting vitamins and minerals.)
Dr William Li, MD, co-founder and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation and author of Eat To Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself, concurs, “There is no solid evidence that taking supplements can improve the efficacy of the COVID vaccine. COVID vaccines have all been tested in people who ate their regular diet, so we know they work without any special food preparation. Therefore, people should be cautious of supplements or products that claim to improve vaccine response.”
However, eating whole foods like fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods will help your immune system function better overall because there will be less inflammation in the body. “A healthy diet maintained over time can improve immune system response and help us fight infections better, as well as possibly enhance an immune response to vaccination, but it is doubtful that eating differently on the morning of vaccination will have any effect at all on responsiveness to the vaccine,” says Dr Louis Malinow, M.D., internal medicine physician and medical adviser.
Choose whole foods and limit your intake of processed foods all year, not just during vaccination season. “Vegetable oils like corn oil, soybean oil, and others found in processed foods (for example, fast food) and snack bags and boxes are pro-inflammatory and should be avoided,” says Dr Malinow. Instead, prioritize whole foods such as nuts, fish, fruits, and vegetables. “My favourite anti-inflammatory foods are daily extra virgin olive oil, almonds and walnuts, fish, fruits and vegetables,” he says.
It can’t hurt to eat anti-inflammatory foods after your shot, but it’s unlikely to make a significant difference in how you feel. “Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory spice that can be sprinkled on food or drank as a tea. Fish has anti-inflammatory properties, with salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and herring having the highest anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids levels. Fish oil (omega-3 fats) converts into compounds known as resolvins,’ which help to reduce inflammation “Dr Malinow says
These types of foods should always be included in your diet. You can make chicken noodle soup or have something simple and comforting on hand if you don’t feel like preparing a proper dinner after your vaccination. It would be convenient to have one of these ready-to-eat frozen meals on hand.
You do not need to fast the night before your COVID vaccination, as you might for other procedures. If you are nauseous around needles, this could make you dizzy and cause you to faint. “I would recommend eating something prepared at home and as minimally processed as possible, such as yoghurt and fruit, eggs and fruit, or a healthy bar,” Dr Malinow advises.
You may experience side effects such as arm pain, a low-grade fever, or body aches after getting vaccinated. According to experts, this indicates that your immune system is functioning correctly. Inquire with your doctor about over-the-counter pain relievers that you can use to alleviate symptoms.
Consume plenty of fluids.
Doctors agree that adequate hydration is critical both before and after COVID vaccination. “Not only does everything in the bodywork better when it’s well-hydrated,” says Dr Malinow, “but some people with needle phobia and fainting spells do much better when they appear hydrated.”
“I recommend drinking plenty of fluids before and after vaccination,” says Dr Koza. She also suggests eating fruits and vegetables, as well as broth-based soups to strengthen the immune system. The CDC also advises drinking plenty of fluids after vaccination if you feel ill due to a fever.
What about alcohol?
According to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) spokesperson, “There is currently no evidence that alcohol consumption reduces the effectiveness of the COVID -19 vaccine. There is also no evidence that COVID -19 vaccines are harmful to people who drink alcohol.”
“Even moderate alcohol consumption will leave you dehydrated, which may aggravate the body aches and pains that occur after the second mRNA vaccine vaccination. Just as drinking alcohol makes you feel worse when you have the flu, it’s a good idea to drink little or no alcohol for a day after the vaccination, “Dr Li says
According to the CDC, “Acute respiratory distress syndrome and pneumonia, which are sometimes associated with COVID -19, can be exacerbated by alcohol consumption. In general, alcohol use reduces your body’s ability to fight infections, increases the risk of complications, and makes it more difficult to recover from illness.”
Dr Javeed Siddiqui, MD, MPH, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at TeleMed2U, adds, “Not to mention getting to and from your appointment safely.” Furthermore, doctors require you to be “clear-headed when discussing symptoms and questions about post-vaccination treatment,” according to Dr Siddiqui.
Make an effort to get a good night’s sleep.
Get a good night’s sleep the night before your shot. “In addition to a healthy diet, getting enough sleep the night before your shot is critical, possibly more important than anything you eat in the morning. A single night of poor sleep can reduce immune function by up to 70% “Recent,” Dr Malinow says.
According to Dr Koza, stress suppresses the immune system, keeping stress levels as low as possible. So don’t be concerned if you haven’t gotten enough sleep, but try to get as much as you can (these four tips from a sleep expert can help).
Should you be working out?
Rest is critical, especially if you don’t feel well after your vaccination. However, if you are able, “Some form of exercise is required. Not everyone is up for a strenuous workout, but even a brisk walk will increase your circulation, which is beneficial to your immune system, “Dr Li says
Dr Siddiqui also emphasizes the significance of exercise “Many of us reduced our activity and exercise time during the pandemic. Even during this time, I would like to remind everyone of the importance of diet and exercise. Please wear a mask if you have been vaccinated, but if possible, get outside, move around, and get some exercise.”
Eating anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds is always a good idea, but it is unlikely to improve the effectiveness of the COVID vaccine or reduce your symptoms afterwards. The most important thing to remember is to get a good night’s sleep the night before the vaccination, avoid alcohol the day before and on the day of the vaccination, and drink plenty of fluids.
“Unless you have an exclusion criterion, the most important thing is to get vaccinated. I want to emphasize the importance of vaccination and the urgency for people to get vaccinated. Do not put off until tomorrow, “Dr Siddiqui says.
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