Why are Arabs Very Likely to Survive COVID-19?
By: Yasmina Hage/Arab America Contributing writer.
In these times of crisis, it is essential to take care of yourself, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and exercise. There is no cure for coronavirus yet; therefore, the only way for us to avoid being infected by this virus is to boost our immune system. We have done some research on the gestures, habits, and foods to adopt during this crisis. The study allowed us to note that most of the behaviors to follow are already part of the usual practices of the Arab world. In fact, unlike the West, the Arab world has kept very traditional habits that are effective in the face of this crisis.
We have separated the habits to have in 3 categories: internal hygiene, food, and sports.
To limit the spread of the virus in our homes and eventually kill it, our homes and belongings must be impeccably clean. Here is what Arabs are used to do and which is effective against the coronavirus:
They open windows and doors to keep fresh air flowing. This helps to limit the agglomeration of dust. As a result, apartments/houses are generally always clean. The spread of the virus is, therefore, limited or almost impossible. It should also be noted that in tradition, the cleanliness of the apartment is important for the Arab woman. When she receives guests, her apartment must be spotless. Moreover, she does not always know when she can have guests, so her house is still clean.
They dry clothes on a rope in the sun. This is a habit related to their lifestyle. Arab countries are usually very sunny, so they typically hang their clothes outside. It is said that heat kills the coronavirus, so it is an advantage for them to be able to hang their clothes in the sun. Also, they air the clothes they wore, which allows the virus to die before entering the house.
They air twice a year, their mattresses, comforters, and blankets. This also helps prevent dust from collecting dust to keep the inside of the house as clean as possible.
When Muslims must perform their ablutions, they must first wash their hands, mouth, nose, face, and ears.
In addition to the hygienic aspect, having a well-ventilated and clean house allows for a better life in confinement. We feel more comfortable and more in harmony with our self. But for this harmony to be total, we must add proper nutrition and a healthy rhythm of life.
Arabs eat fruit and vegetables daily, like lemons, for example, because citrus fruits grow in many Arab countries. In this period of crisis, stress and anxiety are the order of the day. To avoid this, foods rich in vitamin C are beneficial. That is to say, fruits and vegetables. When we stress, we release free radicals that vitamin C can trap. It’s also an antioxidant, but the body doesn’t store it, so a daily intake is essential. It is best to eat raw fruit and vegetables because vitamin C is heat-sensitive and dies when the temperature rises. In addition, you should also eat vegetables and fruit because they help to strengthen our immune system. As you know, the healthier we are, the less likely we are to become seriously ill with coronavirus.
By adapting their diet, infected people can reduce their symptoms and heal more quickly, explains Dr. Laurence Plumey, a nutritionist at the Antoine Béclère Hospital in Clamart, France.
“For breakfast, I recommend a yogurt, a fruit rich in vitamin C (orange or kiwi) and a hot drink (tea or coffee).”
Arabs drink healthy tea very often: cardamom, anise, chamomile, maramiyyeh, mint, other and also consume a lot of “labane” which is a type of yogurt.
They use garlic and onions and olive oil daily. Garlic stimulates our immune system and allows us to treat colds and flu more quickly by swallowing a raw clove as soon as the first symptoms appear. Garlic also reduces bacteria. Also, olive oil and onions help strengthen our immune system and therefore make us less vulnerable to the virus.
Sports practice = a healthy body:
Arabs spend more time outside in their yards, porches, and picnic areas. During the confinement, it is essential to get out, get some fresh air, and enjoy the sunshine. If we want to be healthy, our bodies need to be healthy too. If we are constantly locked up at home, we are likely to fall into depression and not have the strength to carry on with our activities.
They plant and take care of their gardens. In Arab countries, houses are generally larger than in Western countries. This allows them to have a green space in their homes. It has been proven that gardening reduces stress, allows for a bit of sport, and strengthens bones and muscles.
Practicing sports is essential. We must not let ourselves go because it will affect our morale and well-being. Moreover, it can have an impact on our breathing and our lifestyle. Not doing sports, therefore, exposes us more to the virus. Arabs walk and often hike because they don’t like to stay indoors. In fact, the Arab culture aims to be active, enjoy the good times, and to go out to enjoy the beauty of landscapes.
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