Prof. Dr. Aysun Bay Karabulut


In the final days of 2019, the world met a new virus. A member of a family of coronaviruses that cause many diseases including the common cold, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), this virus was identified on January 13, 2020 and named Covid-19. It appeared in China in December 2019. It was thought to pass through animals to man. The most important symptoms were fever, cough and shortness of breath. It soon spread to almost the entire world. More than a hundred thousand people have died while the number of cases has already exceeded the two million band. More than a hundred thousand people have died while the number of cases has already exceeded the two million band. Covid-19’s eerie balance sheet is growing ever more rapidly.

Covid-19, which first enters the cells during the incubation period and then begins to take over the cells, is transmitted by breathing and easily, at a rate not previously seen in any virus. By moving through the throat, it reaches the airways and lungs and immediately creates a kind of reproductive mechanism. The newly formed viruses attack cells in other parts of the body, and the fight between the human body and the disease intensifies. Although the chemicals called cytokines secreted by the immune system cause symptoms such as pain, fever, and cough, those with a strong immune system often triumph over the disease.

Hygiene destroys outbreaks, not vaccines.

As can be easily understood from this brief information on the effectiveness of Covid-19 on the human body, there are two important stages to focus on in the fight against the new type of coronavirus. The first is a high level of compliance with personal hygiene and hygiene rules. This stage comes to the fore with the ability to prevent the transmission of the virus. We know that no virus has crossed the cleansing barrier and that the main reason for the extinction of epidemics throughout history is not the drugs or vaccines, but the improvement of hygiene conditions. The next step is the immune system. The immune system, which can be described as a protection shield of the human body, undoubtedly successfully fights the virus if it is strong enough and manages to neutralize it within a short period of time. Therefore, in this difficult process, we need to prioritize strengthening our immunity against Covid-19, which threatens all of us, in addition to personal hygiene.

Body protection shield

The immune system is a protection shield that protects living things against diseases and recognizes their pathogens and neutralizes them. In order for the system to function healthily, elements not produced by the body such as selenium, which protects the integrity of the cell membrane, phosphorus and magnesium, which are of great importance for the functionality of the cell building blocks, zinc, which activates enzymes that play an important role in the functionality of DNA and RNA, hemoglobin, which transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues, and iron. The need of the human body for these elements must be met. Otherwise, the immune system will weaken and various diseases will be invited. Of course, this requirement can be met with conscious nutrition. In this regard, consuming eggs, cereals, legumes, molasses, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables and oilseeds in addition to meat and dairy products containing the mentioned elements will strengthen the immune system.

Defense reflex

Antioxidants known as miracle molecules are also required for the immune system to work well. Antioxidants are fighters that fight pests called oxidants that occur during the process of converting nutrients into energy by burning them with oxygen in the cells. These substances are seen as magnificent molecules that ensure a healthy and long life. Antioxidants, which are also considered as defense reflexes against free radicals that destroy the structure of the cell, are among the most basic elements of healthy diet regimes today.

Although the human body’s antioxidant needs can be met in various ways, it is clear that the most natural and appropriate way to do this is through healthy eating. Foods such as walnuts,dried apricots and beans, raspberries, dark chocolate, blueberries, strawberries, artichokes, cabbage, beans, beets, spinach can be consumed to provide the antioxidant requirement in question. It should be noted that various foods containing vitamins A, B12, C, D, E and K also contribute to strengthening the immune system.

As can be understood, the immune system is like a rare flower, whose care never comes to be neglected. In this regard, a balanced diet is not enough to keep it strong. If it is remembered that the most important need of the system is oxygen, it should be added that besides balanced nutrition, exercise, fresh air and water, sunlight containing plenty of vitamin D and regular sleep habits are also important. It should also be kept in mind that the immune system becomes alarmed due to the emergence of stress, which also has negative effects on the human body, and hormones secreted during this period damage the immune reflexes. In other words, in order to keep the human immune system fit and strong, both materially and spiritually must be strong and balanced.

Willpower can become like steel if desired

In these days when we are trying to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by maintaining social distance and applying self-quarantine, no doubt the main need is to keep our immune system as strong as possible. But on the other hand, unfortunately, we have less opportunity than ever. We’ve been locked up in our homes to avoid the virus, and our social lives have been greatly disrupted. Exercise, daylight and fresh air are all limited. In this regard, our strongest trump card to strengthen our immunity is a balanced diet and a regular sleep regime. Indeed, being able to do these things is not easy these days. It is a fact that staying at home and breaking away from social life shakes a person’s biological clock, disrupts sleep patterns and changes their eating habits. Not only does the feeling of being trapped, the anxious anticipation of not being able to predict what might happen, and the unconventional new way of life trigger stress factors, but it also triggers habits to be avoided, such as the desire to snack at times, to fall asleep on the couch in the middle of the day while watching television. So how do we handle this situation? Undoubtedly, with the will that we know that people can be as strong as steel when necessary.

Turnip leaves, grapefruit, green tea

First of all, we should keep in mind that the situation we are in is temporary and the stronger we can keep this self-discipline, the quicker it will be. It is our priority to ventilate our house frequently, get up early in the morning and sleep at least seven or eight hours at least by going to bed before midnight. The fact that the diet is healthy starts with shopping. What is important at this point is not to go to market shopping while hungry, to keep a list prepared beforehand and paying attention not to include chips, wafers, biscuits, desserts, ice cream, spreadable chocolate, white sugar and white flour foods. It doesn’t end with that, of course. Not to be hungry for a long time, to eat healthily at intervals of four or five hours, to eat food from the plate and not to engage in anything during meals. Eating slowly and not swallowing food for a long time without chewing. For example, not leaving food, especially snacks on the counter and table and not visiting the kitchen much. Finding fun activities to be done with children or other members of the house and avoiding thinking mentally. For example, to read. Watching movies or listening to music. All of this will enable us to discipline our daily lives so that we can get out of quarantine days healthy and of course without gaining too much weight and of course having strong mood and immune system.

Let’s come to what we eat? there’s no easy way out. Turning food preparation into art will ensure that the stress factors are inhibited and relieve us psychologically, while at the same time it will enable us to maintain our physical health. We also have enough delicious and undoubtedly easily available ingredients. There are foods include rich in minerals and vitamins that strengthen the immune system such as meat, chicken and dairy products, red pepper and hot pepper, winter squash, pumpkin, asparagus, peas, black beans, cauliflower, okra, broccoli, potato, purslane, parsley, tomato, flax seeds, quinoa, turnip leaves, green tea, grapefruit, kiwi, pear, palm, watermelon, banana, cherry, cherry and mango.  It is not so difficult to make delicious and nutritious meals, desserts, snacks or drinks from such foods. We can recommend using home made bread with whole wheat flour instead of white flour, bulgur pilaf instead of pasta, dried fruit or molasses instead of dessert. In addition, while protecting our immune system with its rich antioxidant content, we can establish pleasant and healthy tables with rosemary, artichoke, spinach, cabbage, beet, blueberry, almond, carrot, apple, orange, tangerine, lemon, walnut, raspberry, strawberry, blackberry and apricot, which will make our body and psychology strong.

By the way … We have to adjust the setting of all these pleasant moments. Once we overcome Covid-19, we may have difficulty leaving home this time.