A farmer collects eggs for sale in Cibinong, West Java, in July 2018. (Antara Photo/Yulius Satria Wijaya)

Covid-19 Patients Need Higher Protein Intake: Nutritionists


MAY 07, 2020

Jakarta. Covid-19 patients need higher protein intake to help speed up their recovery time from the disease, Triyani Kresnawan, a nutritionist and member of the Indonesian Nutritionists Association, or Persagi, said on Thursday.

"Protein optimizes the body's immune system, replaces damaged body tissues and strengthens muscles," Triyani said in an online press conference.

Covid-19 patients also need a high-calorie diet, especially those suffering from high fever.

"Patients who have a temperature above 37 degrees Celcius need 13 percent more calories for each one-degree rise from their normal temperature. At the Athletes' Village makeshift hospital and other Covid-19 referral hospitals, we provide patients with high-protein and high-calorie diets," she said.

Triyani said Covid-19 patients have to eat a balanced diet of rice, vegetables and fish.

To increase their calorie and protein intake, the patients should consume more rice and fish.

"For each serving, we increase the fish portion from 50 grams to 100 grams and also give them more rice," Triyani said.

Triyani said healthy people should also increase their protein and calorie intake so they can't easily get infected by the coronavirus.

She said people could replace fish with egg, tofu or tempe if they can't afford it. 

"Egg, tofu and tempe are relatively easier to get, and they also contain complete protein. You have to eat more vegetables, too. This is very important. Indonesians usually don't eat enough vegetables," Triyani said. 

Niken Salindri, a nutritionist and a special staff of the National Covid-19 Task Force, said people also have to drink a lot of water to maintain the body's immune system and vary their diet. 

"Protein and calories can be found in many types of food. For example, we can substitute rice with corn or sago. A varied diet is very important," she said.