Nutrition & health in a post-COVID world

Head of Nutrition Research Sophie Medlin, and Dr. Chris George discuss food, nutrition and exercise.


Sophie Medlin : Head of Nutrition Research at Heights, registered dietitian, Chair for the British Dietetic Association in London and Founder of City Dieticians .

Dr. Chris George : MBBS, Bsc, MRCS, MRCGP and NHS GP based in London, UK.

(Resources can be found at the bottom.)

Does higher BMI increase COVID-19 severity?

  • Overweight and obesity are common risk factors for disease severity of COVID-19 patients.

  • Current data shows that overweight people are suffering more, and are taking longer to recover from COVID.

The Effect of COVID-19 on Eating Diets and Weight Gain

  • People are unable to go to the gym due to coronavirus restrictions.

  • Various restaurants have been shut, meaning people have to change their habits in terms of the food they’re picking and eating.

  • COVID has also taken a toll on mental health. This causes people to emotionally eat which can lead to weight gain if they’re consistently making different food choices.

Exercising During COVID-19

  • Gentle, moderate exercise, getting good sleep, and eating a well balanced diet is key.

  • Moderation is important. Hard-core exercise lowers your immunity for a short period of time, and puts a huge amount of stress on your body. Instead, try to implement good quality long-term exercise. Don’t overdo it- a simple 20-minute walk will do!

  • Find alternative, simple ways to exercise on Zoom, Youtube, etc.

  • Find a partner to work out with who will hold you accountable.

  • Be consistent and make sure to rest.

Immunity & Supplementation

  • Steer clear of products that claim to have ‘COVID immune-boosting’ properties- it’s just a marketing strategy, there’s no evidence behind it.

  • Instead practice making healthy lifestyle choices like healthy eating and getting physical activity.

  • Whenever you are fighting any kind of infection or low-level virus, your body uses a lot of micronutrients- particularly vitamin C and zinc. Research shows that if you have a cold or virus, taking vitamin C and zinc in combination shortens the life of that infection.

  • Supplements are an effective way of offering yourself an insurance policy. If you’re not eating your 5-a-day, following a vegan or vegetarian diet, or cutting out foods, you need to be supplementing.

  • If you are looking for a plant based premium quality supplement - Heights ’ Vitals⁺s include omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and 18 other key nutrients your brain needs in the right dosages, according to science.


Is there a correlation between gut symptoms and COVID?

  • There is a link between mental health and gut symptoms. Mental health directly impacts gut health, read more about this here .

  • If you have a pre-existing IBS profile, having COVID will likely affect your gut.

  • There is a strong psychological impact on IBS, so you could be experiencing general and post-COVID anxiety.

Are you noticing anxiety about getting into shape before the world opens up?

  • There is this ongoing pressure year-on-year about getting into shape before summer. People have gained weight during the pandemic, so there certainly is pressure.

  • If you are going to embark on a diet, fad diets don’t work. People have been shown to lose weight and then regain it within a short period of time.

  • It is important that your diet is long-term, sustainable and healthy.

  • Fasting ultimately means skipping meals, resulting in missing opportunities for micronutrients, vitamins and minerals which are important for our immune systems.

  • Make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy whole grains, good lean protein, and lots of plants.

Vitamin D & COVID-19

  • The relationship between vitamin D and COVID-19 is still unknown, but on average 80% of people who are hospitalised are deficient in the vitamin.

  • Plays an important role in general immunity, and is important for immune function.

  • The NHS recommends that everyone should be taking vitamin D supplements between October and April.

  • With our Vitals⁺ , you get 20 mcg (800 IU) of vitamin D- that’s the equivalent of 20 eggs or 12 tablespoons of fortified margarine.

Vitamin C & COVID-19

  • Vitamin C cannot prevent COVID, but it can reduce the duration of illness.

  • We need to be cautious of the popularization of mega doses of vitamin C. It puts your body under a lot of pressure to process and excrete it.


  • Beware of misinformation about the COVID vaccines on social media.

  • The misinformation claiming the vaccines are untested and unsafe is causing hesitancy.

  • The process has been sped up due to the money, time, energy, and amount of people working towards the same cause.

  • The vaccines are safe, effective, and one of best public health measures we have to date.

  • If we want to return to normality, vaccinations are a must. Our own individual health is only as strong as our community.


Know your own mind?

The average brain health score is 51/100. Take our 3-minute quiz to learn how yours measures up and how to boost it.

Related articles