What color is your diet?
By Priscilla Kona
Dial a fruit today!
Food is anything which, when taken in the body will sustain life and growth.
Ministry of Health warning; Alcohol is harmful to your health.
Resveratrol in wine is useful in risk reduction for cardiovascular conditions. But over-consumption of alcohol has been found to be harmful in more ways than one.
- Irritates the gut
- Causes obesity, certain cancers, hypertension
- Causes micro-nutrient deficiencies,
- Spontaneous abortion, and also fetal alcohol syndrome
- Road accidents
- Is everyone in agreement, is alcohol also then a very good food?
When all people at all times, have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs for a productive life, that is food security. Critically important is the adequacy of capital ,labor and knowledge to inform the production, purchase, preparation, consumption and storage of food.
Isn’t the human body fantastic; 12 organ systems, 78 body organs!
But not everyone is like Kenyan athlete Edward Kipchoge, the legendary runner who beat 40 km in under 2 hours without collapsing into a heap. His bet? Milk [for bone] diet from cradle to the thirties and counting. And the ancestral diet of America’s 1st black president ( he with the legendary timeless mind and ageless body) featuring mbuta [nile perch] is celebrated for its brain -friendly omega 3 fatty acids.
Arguably , nature’s bounty in plant and animal form promotes good health and well being.
WHAT’S ON YOUR PLATE?
Plenty, and your health is in proportion to the wisdom of your choices.
WHAT IS ON YOUR PLATE?
- Mineral Foods: Water and Salt.
Nature’s hydrant, the mother of all foods should be our beverage of choice.
Water controls all metabolic activities ,
- Hydrates the body
- Lubricates the joints
- Controls body temperature.
Hands up every adult who remembers to consume the requisite 6 glasses of clean water daily!
Salt (sodium chloride) is a taste enhancer .
2.3g daily is enough. Enough to maintain body fluids regulated.
- BUSHES OF DELIGHT
Plant foods are profoundly nutritious everywhere you bite and significant is their contribution to health. What a cache of benefits!
- Waste removers, the diuretics- Cabbages, rice, egg plant…
- Digestive magical- papaya, pineapples, potato, pumpkin…
- Heart health- avocado, yam, broccoli, cornflower…
- Brain power- linseed, flaxseed , chia seed oils, soya…
- ‘Blood’ food-, red beef, green vegetables, passion fruits…
- Anti cancer,-orange, lemon…
- Detoxifiers- globe artichoke (have you ever seen/ tasted this?)
- Protein body building-the nut, seed, cereal…
- Good fats- olive, avocado, peanut walnut…
- Energy food- cereal, legume, tuber, root…
Plant parts all these : leaf, seed, flower, bud, stem, root, tuber,grain…
- Bearing also a mineral array of iron, calcium ,phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sodium, selenium et al.
- Rich in color, flavor and texture, with unrivaled propensity for disease resistance .
- Having also fiber for bowel function , and colon cancer prevention.
- Favoring mental strength ,and organ health ……
- Plant of the species!
WHEN LAST DID YOU EAT RED BEET?
- a) HERBS
These have potential also for high level health and priceless in flavor. Include the medieval garlic , ginger ,lemon, cardamom, clove, parsley, rosemary, the lot( see later chapter).
- b) BEVERAGES
1.Globally 400 million cups of coffee are taken daily, but only 2 cups are needed daily per person.
Coffee that causes sleeplessness and may interfere with absorption of iron (blood nutrient) in the digestive system,
Coffee that is not safe for pregnancy ,
Alas! Coffee that improves mental performance , is cancer preventive, promotes cardiovascular health, reduces weight by burning fat, remedies diabetes mellitus!
Beverage or global sensation!
( Have you tasted this ever?) and then there is black tea.
Green tea has healthy bio-active compounds for :
- Brain function
- Fat burning= weight control
- Anti cancer
- Pure breath
Note; black tea interferes with iron absorption.
3) Introducing cocoa- the romance beverage ,teeming with polyphenols for:
- Reduction of blood pressure
- Improved resistance to hypertension, arthritis, stroke
- Improved moods
- Some anti diabetic effect
- Weight loss
- Anti cancer effect
- Anti bacterial effect
- immune boosting
- Healthy skin and teeth
- What are Functional Foods?
On this side of the planet yogurt and margarine are living examples of foods to which additional nutrients are added
- To improve mental function
- To improve heart health
- Intestinal health, able to fight intestinal bacteria(clostridium/clamydia spp)
4.. THE WESTERN (ANIMAL?) DIET
Animal food has superior protein for body building. Their sweet flavor and taste accounts for their much /increased consumption.
Doctor: “ Your BMI is 30kg/m2 ,means you are obese. What is your diet like?”
Patient: ‘’ For break fast; white coffee ,sausage ,buttered white bread.
For lunch/ supper ;fried meat, fish and /or chips/chapatti.
For snack a choice; coffee, tea, cookies, cakes, biscuits, soda…’’
Doctor: ‘’ How much meat do you consume per meal?’’
Patient: ‘’About 12 pieces ( ½ kg)’’
Doctor: ‘’Do you drive to work?’’
Patient; ‘’Of course!.’’
And the rest is a story of how over consumption of animal food/ products ,swimming in fat and sugar has occasioned the advent of obesity and her legion of killer challenges threatening the planet today; diabetes mellitus, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, arthritis, cancer.!
Indeed according to the celebrated Dietitian Makhija Pooja ,in 2008, globally
1.5 billion people were over -weight.
300 million males and 200 million females were obese.
Isn’t an ounce of prevention better than a pound of cure?
Prevention is key., let us treat our body with love, care and patience.
Dial a fruit also today!
- CONVENIENCE FOODS
As you navigate the supermarket aisles, these foods call you out ,“Buy me!“.
Colored, flavored, preserved, ready to eat ,labor and time saving!
Fizzy drink, cookie, ham, pasta, canned fish, butter! And whenever in the flour mills the wheat grain is stripped off its nutritious parts, to make pasta and refined flour the health benefits get stripped off in tow…
A spot check in eateries reveals a striking pattern ; over-consumption of convenience foods.
And who knows the side effects on the body of the additives therein , who?
Moderation is key, agony aunt to your rescue!
- GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS ( GMO)
Who created the G.M.O?
Why, these bear the marks of greatness.
- disease resistant!
- season defying!
- higher yields!
- longer shelf life!
Unless you live in Mars, already you have consumed them.
The ‘shelf- life’ tomatoes, seedless,
the juicy ,quick maturing mango, orange, or lemon, all seedless,
the gigantic pumpkin, the giant kale leaf all resistant to pest.
But wait ,can their taste ,zest and zing compare to the seeded ones of yore?
Isn’t genetic engineering tantamount to ecological disruption?
Any documented side effects of these foods , that are certainly not an act of God?
Can science then be superior to mother nature?
Hey ! how healthy is your relationship with your food?
‘’ Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’’- Hippocrates- 380 AD.
But just ,
what is the nutritional importance of foods?
Nutrient means a unit of food.
An adult needs about 2000 kilo calories of energy from food , DAILY.
- From the carbohydrates class, the, root, legume, fruit, root, seed, nut, , cereals have energy; fuel for the journey .
- For body building and repair , the nut, seed , legume, meats , milk. And fish provide the protein nutrient,
- a)The ‘good fats’ -heart friendly -reduce cholesterol levels ; olive, corn, cotton seed, fish, peanut, avocado oils..
b)The ‘bad’ fats must be avoided in excess for their cholesterol adding properties; butter, cheese, whole milk, palm oil crowding this list.
That the’ bad’ fats fly off supermarket shelves into shopping baskets faster than the ‘good’ ones would make for interesting consideration
Fat or oil ,it fuels, insulates , protects the body.
- Apethora Vitamins, namely
- A-For eye health, disease resistance
In the green/yellow fruit/vegetables, milk
- B-The mental power vitamin mainly for metabolism, in whole gram cereal and all animal foods
- C-Needed at every meal in for healthy gums, wound healing and disease resistance found in citrus fruit ,tomato, cabbage…
- D-The ‘sun synthesized’ vitamin for bone, teeth/ blood health, found also in milk
- E- In green and whole grain for mainly disease resistance , immunity, found in green vegetables whole grain cereal/seed.
- K – synthesized in the body, found in green vegetable s and useful in blood clotting.
- And then the minerals
An endless list; calcium, iron, magnesium , potassium, sodium
All micronutrients to keep the system in physiological ‘ order’ .
WHAT COLOR /FLAVOR IS YOUR DIET?
Surely we need a variety of nutrients but all in recommended daily allowances, not too much to cause disorders and not too little to cause malnutrition (see later).
Eat SMART and solve your nutritional problems big and small , if at all.
If all starts at conception.
You are not alone.
Dietitian to your rescue!.
Your child is what you eat!
Priscilla Kona is a nutritionist and a writer.