Healthy Living & Nutrition

Every day we have to eat food. If we do not eat, we feel hungry and if we do not eat for days, we grow thin and weak and may die. Food is necessary for life as it is the source of energy and nutrients that our bodies need in order to:

  • Grow and repair the damaged parts.
  • Keep warm, move, work, play, think and learn.
  • Fight against diseases

FOOD CLASSIFICATION

The foods we eat contain nutrients. Nutrients are the actual substances that nourish our bodies. These nutrients include:

Carbohydrates

These are also known as energy-giving as they provide our bodies with heat and energy. Some foods that are rich in carbohydrates include maize, sorghum, potatoes, bread, rice, and cassava.

Fats & Oils

These are concentrated forms of energy and therefore important in our diets. Like carbohydrates, they provide the body with heat and energy. Foods rich in fats and oils include cooking fats and oils, groundnuts, margarine, milk, avocado and coconut.

Proteins

These are also known as body-building foods because they help the body to grow and repair body tissues. Some foods rich in protein include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, beans, peas, and
groundnuts.

Vitamins & Minerals 

These foods help the body to fight diseases and are called protective foods. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals include fruits such as mangoes, oranges, pawpaw and bananas and vegetables like kale, cabbages, carrots, amaranth, and black nightshade. In order to stay healthy, the food eaten everyday should contain these kinds of food in the right amounts. This is called a balanced diet.

Water

In addition to balanced diet, we should drink plenty of clean water. About 70 percent of the body is made up of water. The body gets water from drinks and food. Drinking water must be boiled or treated to kill germs.

NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY DISEASES

If people eat a balanced diet, they suffer from some diseases called nutritional defciency diseases. The common nutritional defciency diseases include:

Kwashiorkor

This disease is caused by lack of or insufcient consumption of body-building foods (proteins). A child suffering from kwashiorkor has a swollen stomach, face, hands and feet, which when pressed with a fnger leave a dent. The hair is fne, brown and thin.

Marasmus

Marasmus is another word for starvation or simply not having enough food to eat. Children with marasmus are thin and underweight, sometimes weighing only half as much as they should for their age. The arms and legs are like sticks and the ribs can be seen. They have very bright eyes and a wrinkled face that looks like that of an old person.

Anaemia

This disease is caused by lack of a mineral called iron in the diet. Foods rich in iron include meat, poultry, eggs, beans, leafy vegetables and groundnuts. Iron is needed in the body to make blood. A person suffering from anaemia has pale inner side of the mouth, pale eyes and palms of the hand also look pale. It also causes decreased physical activity and reduced resistance to diseases.

Vitamin-A Deficiency

If a person’s eyes and skin are to stay healthy, he/she must eat food with vitamin A. Foods rich in vitamin A include liver, milk products, yellow sweet potato, pumpkin and dark green leafy vegetables. If there is not enough vitamin A in someone’s food, he/she becomes unable to see in the dark.