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Lots of things are important to inculcate if we want to keep fit and healthy. Good food, clean water, enough rest or siesta and exercise help to refresh the body and protect the body against diseases. Food is the substance consumed or drunk to provide nutrient, energy and growth for the body. It could be of animal or plant source which also helps to repair worn-out tissues. Food is eaten by animals, man and absorbed by plants. Food provides the body with carbohydrate, protein, mineral salt, fat and oil, vitamins and water. Carbohydrate, protein and fats are greatly needed by the body and thus classified as macro nutrients. Vitamins, minerals and water are micro nutrients; they are also needed by the body in smaller quantities.
Carbohydrates are the major source of energy. They build the body and brain; provide strength and nutrients for body growth. Starchy foods such as rice, yam, maize, bread and grains are major sources of carbohydrates. Proteins also provide energy, build and repair body tissues and muscles. Sources are beans, milk, meat, fish, and eggs. Fats and oil such as butter and cheese are needed for building the cells, provides energy and also helps in the synthesis of hormones such as the estrogen and progesterone. Milks that contain high fat contents should be avoided. Obesity, over-weight and heart disease result from high consumption of fats or junks with saturated fats.( read on how to avoid over eating here )
Vitamins contain carbon; they help for blood clothing, to heal wounds (Vitamin C) and for bright vision (Vitamin A). Vitamin D helps in building the bones and is gotten from early morning sun. Fruits and vegetables are the major source of vitamins. Minerals are inorganic and do not contain carbon. Iron and calcium are the common minerals needed by the body. Iron helps in blood distribution and the circulation of oxygen through the red blood cells. Calcium helps in bone and teeth development. They also help to maintain fluid in the body. They can be gotten from vegetables, meat, fish, and milk.
Water, the sixth class of food is very important. Two-third of the body is made up of water, cell activities and reactions are carried out mainly by water, and we excrete water through urine, sweat and evaporation. We then need to replace the water used by drinking more water, beverages and fruits. Fatigue, dehydration and difficulty in using the toilet result from the shortage of water in the body. Taking water aids digestion, helps in the transport of nutrients in the cell, regulates the body temperature; it also flushes food and body chemicals out of the body. Water can be gotten from fresh foods, fruits and vegetables. Water melon has great quantity of fresh water. Beverages and soup have high percentage of water. Two cups of water should be taken after getting out of our beds. This helps to empty the bowels and freshens the body. Minimum two litres of water should be taken in a day. ( read more on the importance of water to your health here )
Sleep is a natural state of altered consciousness, muscle relaxation, reduced response to stimulus and interaction with the surroundings. The body is always in the state of near paralysis and alternates between the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NON-REM periods. Sleep helps to freshen up the body and the mind. The muscles, tissues, brain and organs stabilize after sleep. Siesta on the other hand is a nap or rest taken in the afternoon. Hot weather, stress and intake of heavy meal can induce need for siesta.
Sleep is essential for the overall body well-being and helps in maintaining the physical, mental and emotion health. Eight hours should be spent sleeping on the average daily. Night sleep, after the day’s activities is the best and should not be joked with. We become active, up and fit after having a sound sleep. Deprivation of sleep can lead to drowsiness which is dangerous when driving. Some people sleep off behind the wheels and we all know this will definitely lead to an accident. Sleep activates our memories, brings information to our remembrances. Inadequate sleep interferes with student’s academics. It reduces the rate of assimilation, comprehension, learning and concentration. Students who joke with night sleep doze off in classes and thus miss the lessons taught for the day. Reading without taking a nap can result to headache, brain fatigue and failure in the examination halls.( read on reasons why you cant sleep well at night and how to solve it here)
The mental and emotional health grows as a result of sleep. The brain functioning, decision-making process, calculation and precision are affected positively with sound sleep. The physical functioning of the body is being enhanced by sleep. Inadequate sleep or sleep disorders result to high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and mental illness. Respiration and the heart beats are being regulated through sleep. The secretion of insulin that helps in the lowering of the blood sugar is increased through sleep. Thus, sleep deficiency reduces insulin secretion and thereby results to diabetes. One can become a glutton when he or she is deprived of sleep. Sleep maintains the balance between the two hormones that controls hunger. There is over secretion of ghrelin (hunger) and under secretion of leptin (not hungry) when there is no enough sleep. Sleep enhances growth, development, puberty and fertility. Sleep disorders should be reported to the physicians because they reduce life spans.( read on how to solve sleep disorders here)
Physical exercise is the activity that involves the use of physical effort to keep fit and healthy. Both the physical and mental health are worked on through exercise. They come in various ways: walking/trekking, jogging, cycling, dancing, climbing mountains and hills, running, swimming, skipping ropes, weight lifting and isometrics. Engaging in various sports are other forms of exercise, although may become rigorous when they are in form of competition and not for leisure. Exercise varies in length and intensity. An individual should start with the less or mild strenuous ones and then increase the intensity and hours with time.
Exercise helps in the strengthening of the muscles, makes one stronger, improve stamina and inner strength, builds the body, creates air ways, helps in breathing, pumps blood, lowers pulse, promotes blood circulation, lowers the blood pressure, reduces obesity and reduces weight, reduces sleeplessness, reduces headaches, increases life span, eliminates waste products through perspiration, improves sex life, improves the mood as it is fun, control appetite, allows easy labour in child birth among pregnant women, cures and reduces the chance of breast cancer and other forms of cancerous growth.(read and interesting article on physical stress versus mental stress )
No matter how busy we are, we should find time to eat a balanced diet, take lot of water, sleep and exercise our bodies either by taking a walk, stroll, going to the gym, engaging in sports or by swimming. Our health will be at the peak and we live long if all these physical activities are incorporated into our lifestyles.
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