A woman eating a balanced diet meal
 A woman eating a balanced diet meal

As vaccination against COVID-19 becomes widespread, everyone from age 16 and over is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. You may be preparing for your first appointment and have heard of the vaccines’ potential side effects, especially after the second shot and wondering what to eat before COVID vaccine.

Even though there are no specific ways to prevent these side effects,  some dietary tips may help you feel better during the process. 

In this article, you’ll discover what to eat before and after getting the COVID shot to keep your body healthy.

What Foods Should You Eat Before COVID Vaccine?

 

A combination of different nutritious food
A combination of different nutritious food

1. Eat More Anti-inflammatory Foods

Nutrition experts encourage eating anti-inflammatory foods before and after taking the Covid vaccine. These kinds of foods will help boost your immune system and lower the odds of having inflammation. 

Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods include lots of vegetables and fruits,  plant-based proteins, whole grains (like nuts and beans), fresh herbs, fatty fish, and spices.

Include herbs and spices in your food. They contain antioxidants. Turmeric, found in curry powder, has a  potent substance called curcumin. And garlic curbs your body’s ability to boost inflammation.

Avoid highly processed, overly greasy, or super sweet foods; they are not a good choice for you. 

2.   Drink Lots of Water as Much as Possible Before COVID Vaccine

Doctors already recommend keeping hydrated to stay healthy long before COVID, but more so now, especially before COVID vaccine.

Drinking sufficient water ensures your body works better. People with needle phobia and fainting history will fare better hydrated before taking a jab. 

Also, avoid other side effects like fever and headaches by drinking water after your shot. Stay ahead of the sour feeling by drinking lots of fluids. 

Stick with 100% fruit juice, teas, or other options that aren’t too sugary. Keeping a water bottle by your side throughout the day can help you stay on top of your hydration the day of your appointment.

3. Whole Grains Instead Of Processed Foods

Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other essential nutrients, such as B vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, potassium, and magnesium. 

Whole grains are either single foods, such as brown rice and popcorn, or ingredients in products, such as buckwheat in pancakes or whole-wheat flour in bread.

The importance of eating the right food, especially before and after the Covid-19 vaccination, can’t be overemphasized. 

Having decided to take the COVID vaccine jab, ensure you are stocking up and eating healthy fiber-rich whole grains like unprocessed maize, wheat, oats, millet, brown rice, and roots like potato, yam, or taro.

These will offer much more nutrients to nourish your body than processed fast foods saturated with fat and calories.

4.Fibre Rich Food is What You Should Eat Before COVID Vaccine

Fiber-rich foods are crucial for powering the immune system and having a more relaxed body. You want to be well-rested and active when taking the vaccine, which can only be possible by eating wholesome foods. 

Apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries all have around 3 to 4 grams of fiber. (Eat the apple peels,  they are rich in fiber)

Raspberries win the fiber race at 8 grams per cup. Exotic fruits are also good sources of fiber: A mango has 5 grams, a persimmon has 6, and 1 cup of guava has about 9.

Dark-colored vegetables. In general, the darker the color of the vegetable, the higher the fiber content. Carrots, beets, and broccoli are fiber-rich. Collard greens and Swiss chard have 4 grams of fiber per cup.  Artichokes are among the highest-fiber veggies, at 10 grams for a medium-sized one.

Potatoes. Russet, red, and sweet potatoes all have at least 3 grams of fiber in a medium-sized spud if you eat the skin and all.

You can start eating this diet two weeks before receiving the vaccine and continue for at least another two weeks after taking the vaccine.

5. Eat a Balanced Diet Before Vaccination

Never compromise on what you eat before COVID vaccine. A common side effect of taking the vaccine is fainting. You can avoid this by taking a balanced diet of healthy, wholesome foods and staying hydrated. 

Generally, having something nutritious in your system before taking the vaccine can help the entire process feel a bit more bearable. 

While eating before your appointment does not appear to affect the vaccine’s effectiveness, it could help prevent you from fainting or feeling dizzy—especially if you don’t typically do well with needles. 

Choose food combinations that include healthy fats, proteins, unrefined carbohydrates to give your meal some staying power. Something as little as a piece of fruit with nut butter can be a perfect pick-me-up before your appointment.  

A list of nutrients to boost the immune system
A list of nutrients to boost the immune system and examples of foods containing those nutrients

6. Keep Anti-Nausea Items on Hand

While some people will feel just fine after receiving their vaccine, some may feel nauseated afterward. Keeping items that may help combat nausea on hand can be helpful in case it kicks in. 

Some items that can help include; Lemon wedges (for smelling), Chicken broth, Ginger tea or fresh ginger, and Soda crackers.

7.  Avoid The Consumption of Alcohol

While there is no evidence yet that shows drinking alcohol causes COVID-19 vaccination to be less effective, CNBC recommends avoiding taking alcohol before getting the vaccine as alcohol can suppress the immune system. 

Alcohol affects the liver, and that can affect the immune system. The liver is a vital organ in terms of having a robust immune system. A person with poor liver function may not respond well to the vaccine and at a higher risk of complications.

Also, alcohol causes dehydration, and even the lightest consumption can cause you to be relatively dehydrated, which can worsen body aches that sometimes occur after people have taken the second shot of mRNA vaccines.

In the same way, drinking alcohol when having the flu leaves you with a nauseous feeling, so does it for COVID-19. Alcohol use can increase the risk of respiratory problems associated with COVID-19. 

Also, alcohol causes an inflammatory response, making it harder for your body to fight infections, increasing the risk of complications, and slowing down the recovery process if you get sick.

So you can do yourself a world of good holding back on alcohol some days before COVID vaccine.  

Conclusion

As more of us become eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine and hopefully put an end to the pandemic, maintain a healthy diet before and after taking the Covid vaccine to reduce the possible side effects.

If you are still confused about what to eat or do before and after taking a vaccine, you can speak to a doctor at National Coronavirus Hotline who can guide you to ensure you and everyone around you are safe and in good health. Also, you can visit NCH prevention and infection guide to learn more.


Jennifer Billings is the Medical Editor at National Coronavirus Hotline(NCH). She is an Integrated medical doctor who has been published on NCH Blog, Medium.com and is a regular contributor at MedCity News, Physician Family, and Psychology Today.