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03.04.2020 Feature Article

Do we stand a chance in Ghana with the global pandemic of the coronavirus? (part three)

How do we Ghanaians fight back against the coronavirus?
Dr Marian MansoDr Marian Manso
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If you are anything like me, this is the part you have been waiting for. Ok, so we know all the information we can possibly get and find out about the COVID-19, but how do we protect ourselves, and how do we get cured? Before I get into how we protect ourselves, let me touch briefly on how we get cured. Why some people in the hospitals infected with COVID-19 get cure and some don’t. If you remember, in part 1, I mentioned that viruses in general are not living organisms. To put it simple, it is difficult to destroy something that isn’t living when the virus has entered a host. Measures to treat people with viruses are usually targeted at addressing the symptoms. Example, when you have the flu, your body raises your core body temperature (which you might know as fever, we call it pyrexia) as a way to slow down/weaken the virus within you so that your immunity can do what it is meant to do, which is to destroy the virus. You are told to take paracetamol. Paracetamol is not to get rid of the flu virus but rather, it is to reduce your body temperature so that the increase in temperature does not further exacerbate the condition. Certain processes in our body do not function well in high temperature. The point I am try to make here is, what you are told to do by your doctor is to alleviate your symptoms and ease your discomfort. “YOUR BODY does all the work and DESTROYS THE VIRUS” not some magical pill or surgery. VIRUSES ARE DESTROYED BY YOUR BODY. External medicine could supress the virus and prevent them from multiplying, this process is complicated to explain and it will take away from the topic. The only way to fight a virus in the human body is through a vaccine. With vaccine, your body will be trained to remember and make immunity against the virus so that when you do come in contact with the virus, your body is already prepared to deal with it. Since we don’t have an effective vaccine yet to deal with this COVID-19, your best hope is YOUR BODY’S IMMUNITY. So come to think about it, your immune system is very key in the fight against COVID-19.

Whiles the government is doing everything they can by educating the public on personal protection measure (wash your hand under running water using soap for 20 seconds, do not touch your face, avoid crowded places, cough in a tissue or inside your elbow, stay at home), implementing mandatory quarantine and manually destroying the virus through fumigation, you still stand a great chance of coming in contact with the virus as explained in part 2, Therefore, you have to do what you can to help yourself. The best way to do this is ‘yes’ you guessed right, to boost your immunity. After all, your immune system is the only POWERFUL TOOL TO FIGHT THIS COVID-19.

So how do you boost your immunity? One of the best ways to boost your immune system is through sleep. To keep your immune system strong, it is advisable to sleep for seven to eight hours daily. Sleep gives your body the time it needs to rest and repair. Sleep support the proteins and cells of your immune system to detect and destroy bacteria and viruses. Sleep also helps your body to remember bacteria and viruses so they can fight them off even quicker in the future.

Another important way of boosting your immune system is through exercise. Regular exercise can enhance T-cells and boost the function of natural killer cells of the immune system. Moreover, exercise lowers the inflammatory cytokines that causes the inflamed ageing.

In addition, you may have guessed that diet plays and important role in boosting your immune system. Certain foods contains vitamins and minerals that are shown to boost your immune system. I have read over 15 articles that have indeed investigated the benefit of certain foods and the components in the foods that are scientifically proven to boost our immune system.

I have also looked at Ghanaians diet to find out which foods contain the vitamins and minerals that are reported by these scientific articles.

Below are some of the minerals, vitamins and components with their corresponding food:

Vitamins, minerals, active components Food, herbs and oils
Vitamin C orange, kiwi, lemon, guava, grapefruit, cauliflower, red, green or yellow pepper,
Selenium mushrooms, spinach, cashews, bananas, Brown rice, Eggs, Chicken, Fish
zinc beans, peanuts, cashews and almonds, dark chocolate
iron plantain, yam, corn flour, corn
vitamin A carrots, yellow maize, Mangoes, Papayas, red palm oil
vitamin E snails, avocado, olives, red sweet pepper, sunflower oil, wheat germ oil, spinach, olive, peanut butter
carotenoids tangerines, tomatoes, and, watermelon, yams, bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, mangoes, oranges, watermelon
Vitamin D milk, orange juice, salmon, sardines, tuna
probiotics yogurt., pickles, water or brine-cured olives
polyphenols cloves, star anise, capers, curry powder, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, peppermint, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, lemon verbena, parsley, red onion, extra-virgin olive oil, apples,
Quercetin red onions, peppers, apples, grapes, black tea, green tea,

It is really simple. Until there is a vaccine, your body is your best chance of survival. What harm can it do to prepare yourself for something that you may or may not get in the future? And after all, these are healthy foods that we are meant to consume on a daily basis.

You are welcome.

Marian Manso (PhD)
Marian Manso (PhD), © 2020

The author has 4 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: MarianManso

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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