CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) NUTRITION GUIDE

When someone sneezes, about 20,000 little droplets containing viruses are projected through the air. For viruses like COVID-19 to spread, it has to be propelled in the air, and you have to come in contact with it. Certain viruses target certain tissues. The coronavirus targets the lungs.  Some viruses go dormant and wait until you’re older, weakened, nutritionally deficient, or stressed, and then they come out. This could be why many people get a virus outbreak during stress states.

 Susceptibility factors for Disease:

  • Age
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Genetics 
  • Weak immune system 
  • Chronic disease 
  • Stress 

To be immunologically fit, you need to be physically fit. Doing exercise helps to lower the level of your stress hormones, like cortisol. Doing more exercise at home or in the dorm, is needed to boost your immune system.

The factor that you have the most control over is your nutrient intake. Getting the right nutrients can influence your immune system and even stress.

Two things happen when you have nutritional deficiencies:

  • It weakens your immune system 
  • It makes viruses stronger 

Feeding your body certain foods may help to keep your immune system strong. Micronutrients essential to fighting infection include vitamins A, C, D and E, selenium and zinc.

  • You can add walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts which contain zinc, vitamin E, selenium to your daily nutrition.
  • Lemon, orange, grapefruit, tangerine, kiwi, which are sources of vitamin C, are also nutrients that support our immune system.
  • Always choose seasonal vegetables and fruits. Remember, that the foods grown in the working rhythm and season of the body system are unique to each other.
  • Gut flora is significant for your immune system. Eating a more varied diet with lots of high-fibre foods to feed your gut flora is essential. Veggies, fruits, nuts, wholegrains, legumes support yor microbiota. Furthermore fermented foods like kefir, yoghurt,  pickles and kombucha are recommended.

Here are 7 powerful immune system boosters:

  • Citrus fruits: Vitamin C in citrus fruits helps build up your immune system. They increase the production of white blood cells which are key to fighting infections. Most common citrus fruits are; grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, lemons and limes.
  • Broccoli: is full of packed with vitamins A, C and E.
  • Garlic: Raw garlic is antibacterial and antiviral.
  • Ginger: It may help decrease inflammation and reduce a sore throat.
  • Turmeric: It has anti-inflammatory and disease preventing effects. The naturally occuring curcumin found in turmeric helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Green tea: contains antioxidants called polyphenols which are efficient infection fighters.
  • Sunflower seed: They include phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B-6 and E. They are also a good source of tryptophan which is converted to serotonin. Serotonin is considered a natural mood stabilizer. In this way, sunflower seeds may help you to regulate anxiety.

Foods are not enough for the immune system!

  • There are studies showing that people who sleep less than 6 hours are at risk of cardiovascular disease. If you can not sleep well in case of stress, try to get support from  chamomile or fennel tea. Setting your sleep pattern is very important for your heart.
  • When cortisol hormone which is a hormone that increases the desire to eat, is secreted in stress cases, people tempt to eat foods with a high fat and carbohydrate (sugar) content, which we call 'comfort food'. During this period, be careful not to consume foods with high sugar and carbohydrates.
  • Try to increase your daily intake of water as it may decrease your appetite.
  • Being quarantined in our homes may cause lots of food anxieties and emotional eating. You are not alone and it’s normal to feel this way. When a stressful situation of this magnitude arises like coronavirus, people often experience substantial changes to their eating behaviours.

Here are five tips to help you to cope emotional eating in a response to coronavirus;

  1. Ask yourself if you are really hungry and wait a while to see if the craving will pass.
  2. Write down what you eat and when. You may see a pattern and can use it to change your behaviour.
  3. Do not weigh yourself everyday. Life is challenging enough right now. Try to weigh yourself once a week.
  4. Be mindful of what triggers stress eating. Triggers can be internal or external. These could be watching too many upsetting news or thinking about how hard it is to work from home. Ask yourself questions like: When are you more likely to indulge in emotional eating? What circumstances make it hardest for you to control your unwanted eating behaviors? What kinds of food do you crave and when?
  5. Don’t skip meals. Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. In this way, it will get easier to prevent over-eating.

HEALTHY SNACKS:

You might find yourself closer to the fridge and snacking a little more than usual. It’s important to make sure your snacks are nutrient rich to support your immune system.

Here are some ideas for quick, easy and healthy snacks:

  • Popcorn
  • Yoghurt with fresh fruits
  • Veggie sticks and humus
  • Fresh fruits
  • Cheese and whole wheat bread or whole wheat crackers
  • Raw nuts
  • Dried fruits

How about making a healthy cake?

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of date puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated coffee (1/2 teaspoon dissolved with water)
  • 100 ml of milk
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 2  tablespoons of cocoa
  • 8 whole walnuts
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 pack of baking powder
  • 1 pack of vanilla

Preparation:

  • Mix dates puree and eggs for about five minutes.
  • Continue adding the other ingredients, respectively.
  • Add walnut pieces into the mixture and bake at 200 C,  30-35 minutes in preheated oven.
  • It will be like a wet cake, thanks to date puree and coffee.

Please contact covid19@yeditepe.edu.tr for more information and support.