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Healthy eating goals for 2018

Healthy eating goals for 2018

The New Year has begun and we all expect the very best of the year. Good wishes keep flooding our mobile phones via the various social media platforms; whatsapp, facebook and others. Amidst all these wishes, I also wish you a year full of health and wellness. I want you to know that the choices you make about what foods you eat or avoid will go a long way to determine how healthy, well or sick you will be several years to come. Thus it becomes very necessary for us to consider making healthier food choices. But the situation is not so with most people.

It is very common to hear a patient defer their appointment to see a health care provider for reasons such as funerals, family celebrations and marriage ceremonies. Often their role in such activities is so insignificant that those ceremonies can actually go on minus their presence, but they surely must be there to make issues complete and as it were fulfill all righteousness. This to them is more important than acting at the same time to safeguard their own health.

It is with great disappointment that I watch patients who default on their treatment and only return to me some time later to give me some of the afore mentioned as their reasons for not being able to come for dietetic reviews. It baffles my mind since I stand at a place where my view of the possible outcome of their condition is really not a thing to joke with. It is bad to ignore your own health just to suffer bad consequences after some years.

As part of your goals for the New Year, make visiting of your dietician a priority. It will help to visit the dietician as a family so everyone understands the healthy eating plan from the on-set. You do not have to fall sick before seeking dietary counsel. This step if taken will rather help you prevent diseases and live well.

Prevention is better than cure; a very true old saying. We have to act to prevent diseases rather than wait only to rush to cure them when they appear. When you sleep under a treated mosquito net, you will not get malaria. So why expose your body to the mosquitoes and suffer the consequences.

Healthy eating is a must if we can prevent diabetes, hypertension, prostate cancer, high blood cholesterol, strokes among others.

Some say after all, we have been eating for so many years and are still alive, many also realizing that they can hardly do anything about their current eating habits whimsically resort to the popular saying “all-die-be-die”. My brothers and sisters, “all-die-no-be-die” oooo. Visit the mortuary and see.

Prevention is a possibility

Elsewhere, there is growing concern about the dangers that current eating habits pose to the very survival of the active workforce of nations. There is much more commitment as well from the part of governments and civil society to save the lives of the many unsuspecting youth and young people who risk falling prey to non-communicable diseases due to bad eating habits, lack of exercise and lack of knowledge on preventive health practices.

For those in our part of the world, the burden of disease becomes double since people are hungry due to lack of economic empowerment and at the same time they will be sick due to the kind of foods they eat. There is also going to be lots of confusion on the minds of many people since what they eat can cause them problems. And at the same time, when they are not able to eat too, they will have problems.

There is a way out of this if we are going to be able to help our people. Government should confront the issues well, this country cannot continue concentrating on curative health care alone and relegating preventive health care to the background. Much more needs to be done in terms of teaching the Ghanaian populace how to prevent lifestyle related diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and several others.

It is hard to find a properly functioning dietetic unit in major hospitals in the regions of Ghana. It is about time the government takes a look at increasing the workforce in this aspect of healthcare so that more and more of our country men and women can be helped out of preventable diseases.

Doctors and nurses must also help the situation by speaking out about the need for people to change their lifestyles for better health. I know they are overwhelmed daily by the numbers they have to offer treatment to at the hospitals across the country but that burden will greatly be reduced if much more effort goes into teaching people how to prevent lifestyle diseases.

What can we do to help ourselves?

We can help ourselves by setting priorities right. If you have the opportunity to take care of yourself, do that and do not use time for your health-check on funerals, weddings and out-doorings. Give healthy eating a chance. You do no one but yourself so much good by exercising daily. Some people have to follow certain exercise regimes daily in order to give life a chance. If you are not there yet, you can prevent getting there by starting some regular exercise program now.

Walking for thirty (30) minutes three (3) to five (5) days a week can help. Swimming is a good exercise too. It is possible to walk up and down your sitting room or corridor or compound at home for a few minutes preparing for work. Instead of saying there is no time, it is better to start doing something like this to help yourself.

Plan well so you prepare your own healthy meals instead of eating out all the time. That can be done once in a long while. Get help so you have your meals prepared at home. It is better to do this now than to keep relying on vendored food till you develop hypertension or stroke. At which time you will have to be on very strict diet regimes. Include a plan to carry your meals along to work. This will help prevent problems associated with out of home meals.

Start your day with a healthy breakfast, take lunch and supper as well. Skipping of meals is a recipe for disaster so take all your meals. There are several metabolic disorders linked to skipping of meals. It is however advisable to eat all three meals at good times. Breakfast should be eaten before starting all of the day’s activities; best time is before 8am. Take lunch latest by 1pm and eat supper latest by 6.30pm. This will be of immense benefit to you.

Include loads of vegetables in your foods. Eat kontonmire, garden eggs, okro, salad leaves, among others. These vegetables contain lots of fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. These nutrients work together to help prevent diabetes, reduce cholesterol levels, reduce weight or fatness level and also prevent cancers. They are good for us so include them in your meals.

The more colourful the vegetables are the better. The colourful ones contain loads of antioxidants and plant chemicals that keep us healthy. They also prevent us from falling ill. It really pays to consume vegetables on a daily basis.

Fry less, boil, grill or roast more. First of all, frying increases how much energy you stand to get from that piece of food. This leads to the over-consumption of food energy or calories, excess of which gets stored in the body. You can become fat, develop high cholesterol, and develop diabetes, among others if you store too much food as fat in the body. Secondly, oils used for frying end up being over heated. Overheated oils tend to assume properties of oils or fats that come from animal foods; largely blamed for heart diseases. So do not fry excessively.

When you reduce intake of soft drinks and fruit juices, you do not only reduce chances of becoming fat and sick but you also give your oral health a major boost. Sugar from these juices and drinks remain in the mouth and serve as food for bacteria there. Once these bacteria continue to have a field day in your mouth, diseases of the tooth and gum will be the result. Dentist advice that once you eat supper, you should brush your teeth. After that do not eat or drink anything sweet. For example, soft drinks, toffees, etc.

This year, make it a point to eat a little more roughage with your meals. Also known a fibre, roughage makes your feel satisfied in time. This way, you do not have to load up on so much “carbo” before you feel full. It also guarantees free bowel movements helping prevent constipation.

Stay blessed and keep doing your best to eat well for health and wellness.

By Wise Chukwudi Letsa

 

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