Have you heard the phrase “you are what you eat” and what are your thoughts on it?
The food we eat is used by our bodies to maintain life by providing energy, growth, repair, and other essential body functions. Most of us however only eat to satisfy hunger but do not pay much attention to whether it supplies the body with the right components of good nutrition.
Nutrition is the foundation for health and development. It is the bedrock of human life and existence and is the very core of a person’s development right from conception to birth and throughout the lifetime. A mother’s nutrition will determine the development of a child before and during conception and throughout the foetal development. Poor nutrition during pregnancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood can hinder physical, mental and social development with lifelong consequences.
Adequate food and balanced nutrient intake are very necessary for life, health and wellbeing. When we eat the right kinds of food in the right amounts and follow good dietary habits, we will have good health. Some of our most important life choices have to do with what we eat and drink. This involves choosing the right foods in their right amounts, when to eat the food and our state of mind when we eat it. Our lifestyle choices are also very important.
Nutrition to the body is like a foundation to a building. The quality and quantity of building materials used in the foundation will determine how well it will be able to hold the building structure just as the quality and quantity of nutrients provided by the foods we eat will determine how well our bodies will grow, develop and function. If a weak foundation will eventually lead to the collapse of the building then poor nutrition will also lead to the poor development and subsequent “collapse” of the body. As such, if the right nutrients are not provided to the body in their right amounts, it will affect our total health and well being throughout life and lead to eventual breakdown in the form of deficiency diseases, poor physical and mental development, death, chronic diseases, and other issues.
Hence it is paramount for us to place so much importance on what we consume in terms of the quality, quantity and timing. If the body gets the right types and amounts of nutrients it needs, it will boost our immune system, enable us stay healthy to perform all our bodily functions appropriately.
Using the acronym NER, we can work towards staying healthy.
N – Nutrition: Eat a balanced meal of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, fibre and fewer fats. Do not skip meals. Take advantage of fruits and vegetables around you to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Minimize your consumption of sugar and salt and drink a lot of water throughout the day.
E- Exercise: Regular exercise also helps the body to function better. Fitting exercise into your daily routine may seem hard to do but even twenty to thirty minutes of exercise daily is fine. It could be walking, riding a bicycle, jogging, swimming or any other form of exercise. The key is to find the right exercise for you and it will be fun to do.
R – Rest: Adequate rest plays a vital role in your overall health and development. Getting enough quality rest can help protect your mental and physical health. Get a good amount of rest daily to relieve the body of stress.
Recounting the saying “we are what we eat”, it is very important that we ensure a balance in our nutrition and lifestyle. Invest in your health everyday; start today!
By: Blessila Nana-Afoe Kandoh