Diet is what you eat but nutrition is what your body cells actually receive and utilize for your health benefits. Malnutrition weakens resistance to infections. The critical issue of adequate nutrition with regards to the quality of food we eat, its availability, affordability and its wise choice (nutritional awareness) is one that should be the concern of parents, Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), school authorities, religious and the politicians in government who constitute the policy makers.
Therefore, always remember to eat right every day because we are what we eat.
- Make every meal a celebration:
It is your right to eat good, nutritious food. But do so in a clean, cozy, classy environment. It enhances appetite. Eat slowly, chew well, thoroughly. Drink water, preferably before and after meals, to aid digestion. Do not talk while eating.
Concentrate on your meal. It is not the time to be distracted by fiddling with your phone, watching a television programme or reading a newspaper/novel. All your senses of sight, taste, smell, sound and touch must be at alert. Give it the maximum attention it deserves and enjoy every bit of it.
- Variety is the spice of nutrition:
Every meal should have food sources from virtually all the major groups; including carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, minerals, vitamins and phyto-nutrients. That gives you balanced nutrition. You need more than 40 different nutrients for good health and no single food item supplies them all.
- Every meal is as important as the other. Do not skip any.
It has been discovered from researches in several parts of the world that many people neglect breakfast, not because they lack the money to afford it but because they are in a hurry to get to work, or in order to slim down. This is a great mistake. When you sleep at night, you lose a lot of calories which have to be replenished in the morning.
Researchers have also shown again and again that children who attend school without taking their breakfast do poorly at school. Lack of breakfast adversely affects their power of concentration.
Start each day by eating a big breakfast as this helps you to eat fewer calories throughout the day.
Generally, big meals can keep you awake at night, while your tummy churns away the overload. So, eat a bigger breakfast and lunch, then have a smaller dinner. Skipping a meal could lead to severe hunger pangs and eventually the craving to overeat.
Do not skip meals because long gaps between meals can trigger mood swings. This is because of the low level of glucose. Nutritionists/dietitians now encourage people to eat as many as 5 small meals a day, especially for those watching their weight.
Eat potatoes, grain products. The starchy digestion is converted to sugar, which supplies energy to keep you up for the whole day. But stay away from additives.
- Eat moderately
As the wise ones say, “too much of any good thing can turn bad.” Also, it is not how much food you stuff your stomach with that really matters. What does is how useful what you eat is to your body. Big meals can keep you awake at night, as digestion takes place in the stomach. You are advised to eat a big breakfast and lunch instead and have a smaller dinner.
Most foods have a positive effect on your brain and will help in balancing your regular emotions and activities. Foods that you should eat sparingly include fats, oils and sweets.
Those you should eat in moderation of 2-3 servings per day are: milk, yoghurt, cheese, meat, poultry fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts.
Those you are allowed to eat in larger quantities of up to 8-11 servings a day are bread, cereal, rice and the pasta group. While 2-3 servings of vegetables are recommended, 2-4 servings of fruits are permitted.
Relax! Always make out time to relax. Getting over tired can deplete your immune system, leaving you open to infections.
- To stay forever young take fresh foods
Take oily fish, rich in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids (sardine, tuna, mackerel). Consume more of dark green, leafy vegetables, (efo, ugu, bitter leaf) and brightly coloured fruits (mango, orange, water melon, pawpaw) as well as roots like carrot.
Details, when we look at foods that boost physical beauty.
- A glass of milk a day keeps you healthy.
Milk is so important to man that its essence is celebrated every 1st of June as the World Milk Day. It is because milk is the most nutritionally dense of all foods; rich in protein, carbohydrates, fat, calcium, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, D, in addition to providing energy.
As one of the most near-complete and nutritious foods, milk is considered as a key element to national health and productivity. And also necessary to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Little wonder that Friesland WAMCO CAMPINA, the nation’s number one milk company has partnered with the Lagos state government to provide milk to pupils in selected primary schools.
For school children, a glass of milk a day provides the energy and nutrients during the demanding school hours. It promotes better dental health than those who have more liberal eating habits.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2011), milk-drinking teenagers and adults have 43 per cent lower risk of Type 2- diabetes. Havard University Study (2011) amongst 37,000 women show that those who consumed about 4 servings of milk per day also have lower risk of Type 2-diabetes.
- Combine good nutrition with daily exercise
Regular exercise is needed to facilitate digestion and excretion. Exercise increases the heartbeat, stimulating more blood flow. Exercise opens up the blood vessels, to either carry digested nutrients to the cells or the nitrogenous wastes out of them as sweating and urinating are enhanced by it.
Therefore, those who eat right, combined with daily exercise hardly complain about arthritis, pains at the joints, swollen muscles and joints, waist pain, obesity, weight gain or a sudden heart attack.
It makes the marrow to produce more blood cells, helps you to overcome depression and makes your body flexible. Walking is the best and easiest exercise as it assists to maintain your weight. While relaxing, breathe in deeply to release endorphins into the body.
Do not cross your legs as this affects the nerves and blood vessels.
If you are used to sitting for long hours in air-conditioned offices take a walk every 30 minutes or an hour. Relax your eyes. Try to sweat out your body wastes instead of piling too much pressure on your kidneys by urinating too frequently.
Experts have discovered that is the most effective exercise against asthma. Others are cycling, canoeing and brisk walking.
- 6-8 glasses of water a day
Water is the solvent in which nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins are dissolved. Many other internal physiological processes such as digestion and excretion depend on it. Minerals are transported through the blood to all your living cells.
Therefore, you are well advised to drink between 6 and 8 glasses of water every day. On waking up in the morning, drink it first. If you do, you would find it refreshing and invigorating.
It has been discovered that a 4-5 per cent reduction in your water intake may reduce your power of concentration and performance at work by as much as 30 per cent. It slows you down, making you happy.
Interestingly too, it keeps the skin smooth and supple. It enhances physical beauty. But excessive drinking of water may lead to a strain on your kidneys.
- Follow the Food pyramids as guideline in choice of foods
A balanced diet for any age group is as recommended by nutrition societies. As a general rule, always try to see what you are eating. It is advisable you put your food on a plate instead of eating it from inside a bag or jar.
Do not bath immediately after a meal as it reduces blood flow to the stomach and slows digestion.