A balanced diet, regular exercise and getting enough sleep are important ways to combat the novel coronavirus, a medical expert said on Monday.

"It is very important to consume sufficient amounts of protein, especially those with high biological value such as milk, dairy products and eggs, to boost immunity," nutrition and dietetics expert Dr. Nevin Sanlier told Anadolu Agency.

Sanlier, who is the dean of the Health Sciences Faculty at Ankara Medipol University, advised people to follow a balanced diet by consuming adequate amounts of dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, meat, fish and poultry, eggs, nuts, beans, vegetables, fruits, bread and cereals.

She stressed that one-sided diets or insufficient intake of nutrients would increase a person's vulnerability to infections.

"Consumption of probiotic foods becomes more important in strengthening the immune system during mid-seasons and wintertime when the body is less resistant. Fermented milk products such as kefir and yogurt are important sources of probiotics," she added.

Recommending 2.5 liters (roughly 10 cups) of water every day to prevent dehydration, she also advised against eating fatty foods.

It is important to continue physical activities and resting your body through seven to eight hours of sleep, she added.

Reiterating the importance of hand hygiene, she warned not to eat fruits and vegetables without washing them in water.

The novel strain of coronavirus known as COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan, China last December, and has spread to at least 146 countries and territories.

The global death toll is now over 6,500, with more than 164,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the outbreak a global pandemic.