Illness or injury always comes at the worst possible time including the pandemic of COVID 19, upsetting your life out of the blue and disrupting all aspects of your life. Most importantly, do not be powerless during the journey of treatment in hospital. Ease your mental stress that often leads to more health complications.
Injury + Illness Cause Unintentional Weight Loss
The main factors leading to progressive unintentional weight loss:
Loss of appetite – results in decrease of food and protein intake which slowly leads to deterioration of nutritional status
Inflammation arises from injury, trauma or sepsis – results in an increase in protein loss which can suppress immune system
Inactivity- prolonged bed rest results in muscle wasting
Good Nutrition Can Speed Up Recovery Rate
Unintentional weight loss (more than 5% reduction in body weight within 6 to 12 months) occurs in 15% to 20% of older adults and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Healthy older men can lose up to 3.2% of whole body lean mass after 10 days of bedrest. It impacts negatively on physical function and the activities of daily living of older patients.
Get the right nutrition to boost up recovery from illness or surgery!
Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues, make enzymes, hormones, antibodies and other body chemicals.
Daily recommended protein intake for healthy person = 1.0g protein / kg body weight
Lets say Malaysian reference weights for adult men (62kg) and women (55kg), elderly men (57kg) and women (49kg), daily recommended protein intake will be:
- Adult men (19 – 59 years) = 62 g/day
- Adult women (19 – 59 years) = 55 g/day
- Elderly men ≥ 60 years = 57 g/day
- Elderly women ≥ 60 years = 49 g/day
Aim to eat above the daily recommended intake to serve as fuel in your recovery phase. Loss of muscle mass during hospitalization has been associated with negative effects such as increased infections, pressure ulcers, and prolonged length of stay in hospital.
4 scoop of Pea Protein (with 150ml water ~ half glass) contains 10.1g of high quality protein which is slightly higher protein content than in 1 piece of chicken breast (size of match box ~ 7.0g of protein).
Consume high Vitamin C food to maintain the function of your immune system, collagen synthesis and thus wound healing and also protect cells from the damage by radicals. Fruits and vegetables are best sources of Vitamin C:
- Fruits: Guava, papaya, Citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit), kiwifruit and strawberries
- Vegetables: broccoli and tomatoes
If you have been prescribed antibiotics during hospitalization, you may experience digestive problems like diarrhea as all the good bacteria in your gut has been destroyed. Eating food containing probiotics such as yogurt, fermented and unfermented milk, miso, tempeh (soybean cake) can restore good bacteria, improve nutrient absorption and thus speed up your recovery process.
“If you’ve been unwell it can be tempting to eat comfort food, but the best way to recover is to be clever about what you eat.”
– Nutritional Therapist Jessica O’Dwyer.