Have your ever asked your self why there is carnage and death caused by Covid-19 around the world while other parts go virtually unaffected? While there are many reasons for that, diet is arguably the most contributing factor.
It will be incomplete to talk about diet in Kenya and the rest of Africa without analyzing the important aspect of staple foods. Particularly the unassuming vegetable locally known as Sukuma Wiki. The rest of the world know this vegetable as kale. While there is sporadic consumption of this leafy vegetable outside Kenya, sukuma wiki is a staple vegetable eaten at least once a day in all households in Kenya. But Kenyans will be forgiven to never ever thought of how really healthy sukuma wiki actually is. Especially during this coronavirus pandemic season. In fact, regular consumption of sukuma wiki may be the only thing standing between Kenyans and the overwhelming ravages brought about by the novel coronavirus in your body.
Sukuma Wiki: How Does It Prevent Covid-19?
Research conducted in the Netherlands have conclusively shown that most patients who die or are hospitalized in ICU have significantly low levels of Vitamin K. The poor outcome among these patients have been attributed to high bleeding incidences and a weakened lung muscles that hinders the ability to breath. It is worth to note that Vitamin K is responsible in the coagulation of blood as well as the promotion of bone muscles. Vitamin K do that after being synthesized by the body into an enzyme called prothrombin. But people will ask: how is this related to sukuma wiki? Well, sukuma wiki is the only known food item that has the highest concentration of vitamin K nutrients. Other leafy vegetables like spinach, collard greens and broccoli do have vitamin K but in lower quantities than sukuma wiki.
Vitamin K is also known to generate elastin which is a molecular protein that forms a key part of connective tissues, particularly muscles. Specifically, elastin helps tissues retain their form and hence be capable of conducting their purpose effectively. To put it in simpler terms, elastin enable the tissues to become elastic and able to revert back to their normal form after stretching. Why this is particularly important has to do with the breathing mechanism of living things. The lungs does inflate and deflate during the course of respiration process. This is made possible due to the stretching ability of the diaphragm muscles. It will be impossible for these muscles to contract and retract without elastin.
What is the Link Between Vitamin K, Sukuma Wiki and Covid-19?
To effectively visualize this, we need to examine how covid-19 affects the cells in the lungs. From your high school Biology, you know that within the lungs, there are some small cell sacs called alveoli. These sac are usually moist and are served with blood via blood vessels called capillaries. These capillaries do the logistics part of “shipping” oxygen into the body tissues while transporting carbon dioxide from the body to the lungs which gets expelled out via the alveoli.
Why covid-19 is dangerous has to do with the ability of coronavirus to disrupt the process of taking in oxygen and taking out carbon dioxide, which is simply the breathing process. Coronavirus attacks the cells in the alveoli and the resultant fight leads to dead cells and mucous that fills the alveoli. The dead cells means the walls of the alveoli are significantly weakened and hence cannot be able to expand and retract to ensure intake of oxygen and out take of carbon dioxide. This is where the ventilators come in handy to manually help with the breathing process that your weakened lungs are unable to help with.
The end result of coronavirus invasion of your lungs is that the alveoli will be filled with fluid. This fluid consist of the dead cells, mucous and a cocktail of dead blood cells and enzymes that took part in trying to defend your body against the invader. Now that your alveoli and the lungs are filled with fluid, the breathing efficiency of your lungs significantly declines. Whereas some people with a strong immune system will not reach this point, others with weakened immune systems never recover from this as their body get totally overwhelmed by the virus and sooner or later succumb to the covid-19 illness. This is more so if the patient has other pre-existing problems like a cardiovascular disease, a pulmonary health condition or diabetes. The pre-existing conditions exacerbates the problem as it makes it difficult for the body to recover from the new cellular injuries sustained during the coronavirus invasion of the body cells.