Food before and after vaccination against COVID-19

Vaccination against the COVID-19 virus seems like the only way to get back to normal.

Sometimes side effects occur after it, however, proper nutrition can help the body function properly and, through this mechanism, maintain overall good health, possibly preventing any side effects.

Side effects of the vaccine can include pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, as well as fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, chills, and muscle aches, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These symptoms are considered “good signs” because they are a signal that the body is responding and building up immunity.

So, here’s what might be the most appropriate dietary choice that will strengthen our health and protect against any side effects.

Ginger tea for nausea
Ginger tea is ideal for treating gastrointestinal problems and is also very easy to prepare.

Avoid strict diet and detoxification
A sufficient amount of protein is required for the synthesis of antibodies and white blood cells, so it is best not to follow a strict diet in the period before and after vaccination.

Drinking plenty of fluids and vitamins
We must consume plenty of fluids after vaccination. Additional intake of ω3 foods and or vitamin D supplements is also required, which is associated with protection from the virus.

Anti-inflammatory Greek diet
A few weeks before the first dose of the vaccine, you need to pay more attention to your diet. The “Greek diet” (Mediterranean) is known to have anti-inflammatory effects. This is a high intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy omega-3s and monounsaturated fats (such as those found in olive oil), fish, poultry, legumes, and eggs. Dairy products and red meat are consumed in limited quantities.

The study found that people over 65 who ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day had a stronger immune response to the pneumococcal vaccine than their peers who ate two or fewer servings.

Soups and fiber
It is important to note that the response of the immune system to a vaccine varies from body to body. For example, age plays an important role, as does a healthy gut microbiome.

A diet high in fiber and fermented foods should be started two weeks before vaccination and continued for at least two weeks after. Fiber-rich diets are known to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria that support the immune response.

In addition, fermented foods – from yogurt and kefir to sauerkraut – can help create and maintain a healthy gut microbiota (which is very important for immunity).

Chicken soup with lots of vegetables (steamed) is easy to digest and nutritious. We can add chopped onion and garlic, grated ginger, juice of half a lemon, fresh parsley, carrots to the plate.

Good mood

Do not indulge in “black thoughts”, keep a cheerful state of mind. Thirty years of research has shown that stress, depression and loneliness can negatively affect the immune system’s response to a vaccine.

Therefore, we eat right, drink a lot of water, get more rest and take care of a good mood. This is enough to provide our body with the necessary reserves for health.


After vaccination, it is best to avoid eggs, fish, nuts and chocolate for 2-3 days to avoid the risk of allergic reactions.

Recommendations were provided by Haris Demostenopoulos, Clinical Nutritionist-Biologist, Head of the Department of Dietetic Nutrition at Λαϊκό Νοσοκομείο Αθηνών.

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