Thu | Jan 18, 2018

Eat right to feel right

Published:Sunday | January 29, 2017 | 12:00 AMPaul Messam

It is often said that we are what we eat. The energy that we use to walk, run, work, play, or study and to keep the vital organs of the body operating comes from the food we eat. It was the Czech Proverb, which says "The way one eats is the way one works." Let's look at what do. Students need to effectively study. It all depends on the health and well-being of the brain, which, by extension depends on the diet and nutrition.

"Proper eating habits are essential," says Patricia Thompson, a nutritionist. "A healthy diet is important for optimal brain development and function because the brain needs an adequate supply of protein and nutrients to perform properly.

Thompson further explained that students, in particular, should eat every four hours, and if that's a challenge, they could have snacks in between meals. "A good breakfast is scientifically proven for academic performance." She explained that like a car, the body needs, regular supply of energy.

"A healthy diet is arguably the most vital element for peak brain performance" says Sybil Lewis, former home economics teacher.

Thompson explained the sources of nutrients:

Animal: Red meat is a rich source of iron, especially if curried example goat meat.

Plant: Vitamin A, C example lycopene. Animal: Lutein in egg yolk for eye health.

Plant: carotenoids/vitamin A. Ackee fat is monounsaturated. Animal: Cheese rich in calcium Plant: carotenoids/vitamin A, phyosterols. Animal: Clams rich in omega-3oils, calcium and folate.

Plant: Green leaves rich I carotene/vitamin A, Calcium, magnesium.

Animal: Sardines rich in omega oils, iron and calcium. Animal: Liver rich in linoleic acid, iron, vitamin A, B. Plant: Flavonoids and phyto sterols in grapes and legume.

The body needs six essential nutrients.

These are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. The body is about 60 per cent water by weight. Water is needed to move nutrients through the blood and keep your body the right temperature.

It is recommended that one should drink at least six to eight glasses of water daily to hydrate the body and to help to reduce fatigue and help the brain work as it should. Whether we are studying for an exam, preparing for a presentation, or for maintaining good health, the body uses three main steps to turn food you eat into energy. These steps are digestion, absorption and metabolism.

The brain and body need fresh air. The more fresh air the body receives, the more alert, awake, and aware you are going to be. Eat small meals frequently so that your body will not send as much oxygen to your stomach for digestion. Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for brain health. Fish is a rich source of this. For example mackerel, sardines, salmon, tuna, trout halibut and herring.

In a nutshell, we must eat in order to live, and growth is one characteristic of life. Although eating right can be a challenge, we have to try and use our dollars wisely and not be 'penny wise and pound foolish.'

- The author is a guidance counsellor