Eating and Drinking well with ME/CFS and Long COVID

For most people living with ME/CFS or Long COVID there is no specific or different advice regarding diet. In order to feel healthy, it is important to drink enough fluids and have a diet that contains enough nutrients. It is also beneficial to have a regular eating pattern. This will mean you will have more energy, and you will be supporting your immune system to prevent further illness and infections.  

Eating well means that you are getting the correct amount of energy (calories) and nutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals) that you need every day for your body to function well and to protect you from ill health. 

A balanced diet will include plenty of fruit and vegetables, wholegrain starchy foods, and some protein foods, to provide a good supply of all the nutrients we need. 

There are no specific foods or supplement that can prevent people catching COVID-19 or reduce symptoms of ME/CFS or Long COVID – however, a well-balanced and varied diet can help optimise health, immunity and wellbeing. 

You may experience symptoms which reduce your appetite and can stop you eating as much as you normally would. 

Some people with Long COVID find that they lose weight as their taste and smell have been affected. Others with ME/CFS or Long COVID find they gain weight as they are not as able to be active. If after trying healthy eating yourself you are still concerned about your weight, please ask your Healthcare team to refer you to a Dietitian. 

Some people with a diagnosis of COVID-19 may also experience difficulty in swallowing and/or changes to your voice. If these are not improving and if you think specialist input might be needed, please request your healthcare professional (e.g. Nurse, Therapist, GP or Consultant) to refer you to a Speech and Language Therapist. 

More about eating and drinking well with ME/CFS and Long COVID. 

The Association of UK Dietitians has produced an information page for people with Long COVID and one for ME/CFS: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (or Encephalopathy) / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) | British Dietetic Association (BDA)