Living a long and healthy life

All the great stuff in life is what is most dangerous to the human body. Human beings do not live as long as they should because they are poisoning their bodies with everything from tobacco, to junk food and lack of enough sleep.Maybe living as long as Abraham is a bit too much to ask because our life span was cut down ages ago. Any human lucky enough to make it to a hundred is truly blessed.
Simple aerobics are a great way to keep fit. Net Photo
Simple aerobics are a great way to keep fit. Net Photo

All the great stuff in life is what is most dangerous to the human body. Human beings do not live as long as they should because they are poisoning their bodies with everything from tobacco, to junk food and lack of enough sleep.

Maybe living as long as Abraham is a bit too much to ask because our life span was cut down ages ago. Any human lucky enough to make it to a hundred is truly blessed.

With the exception of murder, freak accidents or sudden death, humans can live very long lives if only they keep themselves healthy.

Justine Kamikaze, 27 years, a Health Consultant working at Kazi’s Clinic, Kimironko, explains why a great healthy lifestyle is the key to a great life.

Drink more water
Kamikaze says that the most important aspect of a healthy life is, drinking lots of water.

“Water is life; everyone should know that by now and therefore take it seriously. I habitually tell customers that water is a medicine most of them under look. It’s not only meant to be taken when thirsty.

“Drinking a healthy amount of water is vital to your health. Imagine that by simply changing this simple step, tremendous health benefits can be gained, and sometimes migraine medicine or pain killers are not necessary,” explains Kamikaze.

Kamikaze emphasizes that water is what the human body functions on.

“The human body is made up of 55 to 78 per cent water depending on an individual’s body size.

“Every cell in the body needs water from the head to the toes. That is why it is so important to drink enough fluid. Take for example, the brain consists of 90 per cent water, if there is a shortage in supply of water, the brain will not function well, hence, dizziness, migraines and fatigue which are all signs of dehydration,” she adds.

Give up on fatty foods
Another thing in Rwanda that is attention catching is the food. French fries, red meat, mayonnaise and mugs of milk is enough to send anyone to an early death.

There is not a single restaurant in Kigali that does not serve the above. And the reason is because the people love that kind of food. For most Rwandans, eating food without French fries is simply unheard of.

Dr. Gary Plotnick, a Cardiologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center recently published a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology which indicated that fruits and vegetables may reduce the immediate adverse effects of high-fat meals on blood vessels.

He was asked whether one can eat high fat foods as long as the occasional fruits and vegetables are also consumed, Dr Plotnick said, ‘No. I think people are looking for a magic bullet. People would like to say “Here, I’m going to take this pill and then I can eat whatever I want.’ I think that’s a mistake.

It is better to have the appropriate diet. A well-balanced meal with fruits and vegetables is the way to go.

“Plus, the calories are important. You can’t take pills and then go to McDonald’s (or any other fast food restaurant) and eat these excess calories because even if you don’t have this bad acute effect to the blood vessels, you have other effects — you gain weight so that puts you at high risk for multiple other reasons,” Dr Plotnick said.

“People here love chips but it is not healthy to eat them everyday. They don’t seem to understand the damage this has on their health,” Kamikaze comments, adding, “It is not a meal if someone doesn’t order for chips and brochette. I wish more vegetarians could pop up because that is the way to go.”

She recommends (for those whose love for meat can not be tamed) that instead of red meats like beef and goat why not replace it with white meat like chicken, fish or turkey?

“White meat is much healthier and contains fewer calories. When cooking, for instance, the meat could be steamed or boiled as opposed to frying. If one must fry then alternatives like olive oil are highly recommendable as opposed to day to day high fat cooking oil,” the Health Consultant explains.

Who would have thought milk could be a health hazard? This is why instead of the full cream milk most people are killing their bodies with; low fat milk could be a replacement.

For someone who is on a mission to lose weight, switching from recurrently drinking whole milk to skimmed milk will greatly help the quest.

The irony of drinking low fat milk however is that milk in general contains lactose which is a sugar. Now think of it this way. For every gallon of milk, with the fat removed from it, what goes to replace the fat to make up the original gallon - you guessed it - lactose. Low fat means less cholesterol, less testosterone, less muscle less fat burning. So you get even fatter.

“I think milk should be left out of the equation completely because other than the sugar it contains, it is also known to cause prostate and breast cancer.

Those who cannot do without milk should start with the skimmed milk till they are finally ready to give it up as a whole. The difference in taste is not as luscious but with time it becomes unrecognizable,” remarks Kamikaze.

Sugar
As the body gets older, we find ourselves more vulnerable to health tribulations like low and high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, et cetera. Sugar is the biggest cause of obesity worldwide.

This addictive commonly used food, feeds cancer cells, triggers weight gain and promotes premature aging.

There are so many alternative sweeteners available now that they seem to be elbowing sugar right off the supermarket shelf. To satisfy a sweet tooth--especially if counting calories, limiting carbs, or dealing with diabetes—try Sweetleaf and Truvia.

These are the latest sugar alternatives made from stevia, a herb found in central and South America that is up to 40 times sweeter than sugar but has zero calories and won’t cause a jump to one’s blood sugar.

Nutritionist Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., author of The Healthiest Meals on Earth suggests that Truvia is one of the most promising sugar alternatives out there and should therefore be exploited efficiently. They can be bought on line through their respective websites.

Physical exercise
Exercise is another way to keep healthy and fit. Some people look at it as a waste of time and money but keeping fit does not mean paying lots of money for gym membership.

“Walking is almost the most efficient way one can keep healthy without doing too much. It is not about the gym only as popularly perceived.

“Steady physical activity strengthens the heart and lungs and improves the body’s ability to use oxygen. Aerobic exercise has the most benefits for your heart.

Over time, aerobic exercise can help keep your heart rate and blood pressure at rest and improve your breathing,” Kamikaze assures.

Sleep
Additionally, sleep is not to be taken for granted. With all the above and enough rest to top it all, one can be certain of a long and healthy life if not interrupted by fate.

“Sleep keeps your heart healthy because heart attacks and strokes are more common during the early morning hours.

“This fact may be explained by the way sleep interacts with the blood vessels. Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, all risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Your heart will be healthier if you get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night,” says Kamikaze.

“Cut out alcohol and smoking of any kind,” she continues. “Those things do nothing but drag a person to their grave. If one finds it hard to quit.

There are rehabilitation centers and counseling services to help with that. Personally, I have helped a number of people stop drinking and smoking,” concludes the consultant.

Health should be everybody’s priority because even though we may not care about ourselves that much, others do and therefore, it comes off mighty selfish to let those people suffer with careless lifestyles.

rachelgaruka@yahoo.co.uk

ADVERTISEMENT