The nutrition status of an individual predetermines the person’s susceptibility to diseases. Good nutrition improves the immunity of a person while malnutrition is detrimental to an individual’s immune response. One does not, however, need to have thousands or millions of shillings for them to achieve good nutrition.
It’s advisable that a balance is struck between the amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fat consumed by an individual for optimal body functioning. Intake of micronutrients is also essential in maintaining a balance in body functioning. These micronutrients include minerals and vitamins.
Here goes some nutritional tips that won’t pinch a student’s pocket:-
1. BUY ENOUGH GREEN VEGETABLES …BUT DO NOT OVERCOOK THEM.
This is an obvious thing for a campus student. Students tend to be more of herbivores especially towards the end of the semester when their pockets start running dry. However, after buying the greens, they end up overcooking them. This destroys water soluble vitamins found in these vegetables.
Have an eye for variety while buying your greens so as to avoid consuming one type of vegetables day in day out. Remember, monotony is the perfect recipe for boredom. Alternate between spinach, managu, kales and any other green leafy vegetable found on the market.
2 USE THE FIVE SHILLINGS CHANGE TO BUY A FRUIT.
It does not necessarily need to be five shillings; it can be ten, twenty or more shillings. Instead of using it to buy roasted maize yet you will eat Ugali later on as supper, use it to buy a fruit. According to the Food Pyramid – a dietary planning tool that sorts out foods of similar origin and nutrient content into groups and then specifies that people eat certain number of servings from each group every day – one needs to take 2 – 4 servings of fruits every day. One serving of fruits is equivalent to one small apple (and I understand that ‘small’ is relative) or a half a cup of fruit juice. The fruit juice should be home-made.
Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons are rich sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic Acid is one of the strongest antioxidants found in the diet that helps prevent the oxidation of free radicals in the body by combining with them to form less carcinogenic compounds. In short, vitamin C is an anticancer micronutrient.
Vitamin A is another important product of carrots and fruits such as pawpaw, quaver, mangoes and melons. Carotene, a form of Vitamin A, is essential for good vision, reproduction, growth of tissues, immune functions and development of bone cells.
Fruits can be taken after meals singly or in a pudding.
3. DON’T FOREGO YOUR BREAKFAST.
Many students wake up very late and hurry to class without taking breakfast. Others view breakfast as useless and prefer taking lunch and supper. However, breakfast is more important than supper. Breakfast equips the body with the energy required to operate throughout the day. It rejuvenates the cells and refuels them. It tells the cells, “hey buddy! Here’s some steam for the day ahead.”
Working on an empty stomach sets the body into a catabolic mode. This is when the body starts to use the stored fat tissues to produce the required energy. Fat metabolism leads to the accumulation of ketone bodies in blood; a condition known as ketonemia. This condition is characterized by fatigue and exhaustion. To avoid this, one is advised to take a heavy breakfast and reduce on food intake as the day progresses ending up with a light meal for supper.
Supper should be taken at least two hours before sleeping time. This enables the body to be at total rest during sleep. The night is the time that the body repairs damaged tissues, replacing the worn out tissues and prepares for the next day. Therefore, overburdening the digestive system with a heavy meal for supper works to the disadvantage of the body.
4. ALLOW YOURSELF SOMETIME FOR EXERCISES.
As busy as a student schedule may be, exercise MUST find its way to maintain good nutritional status. Run to class; not because you are late, but because you want to exercise. Walking briskly benefits the mental health of an individual by enhancing the connectivity of important brain circuits and preventing first decline in brain functioning associated with aging.
Exercises are also essential for people who want to loose, maintain or gain weight. It helps burn extra calories which would have otherwise been converted to fats and stored in the adipose tissues. In lean people, it helps in development of muscles to support the weight gain.
A 30-minutes’ exercise thrice a week should be incorporated into a student’s timetable to enhance concentration in class. These exercises should be moderate and consistent.
In conclusion, one can turn their student lives into healthy lives without any added cost. Try out the above four and see the results. In the mean time, leave your comments, more tips and suggestions below.
PS: This article was to feature in the Second Edition of The Comrades’ Reel, a magazine by Egerton University – Njoro Campus students. The Magazine was never published.