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For a healthy, stress free life, try this

Take for instance Helena Rutega, a 55 years old woman who has been jogging in the morning and eating healthy foods for the past three years. This is after reading countless books on how to be healthy. “For the past three years I feel lighter, better than I did three years ago. My morning jogging routine has become part of my life. There are very few days when I don’t jog,” she says.

Her continuous routine has helped her in ways that medicine would not have, for example Rutega has not fallen sick ever since she started her exercise routine. “I have not had malaria or any other disease for the last three years, the only time I fell ill is when I got a stomach upset after eating something bad,” she recalls. And with that Rutega says she feels young and active again.

Exercise is part of living a healthy life but nutritionist Scholastica Mlinda of Nutrition Consultation Centre reveals that the food that you put in your mouth affects your life more. She says a person has to eat small proportional balanced food from a variety of food groups in all meals.

Drawing a map on what a person should eat in a day; Mlinda says for breakfast, a person needs to eat a heavy breakfast which can provide enough calories for the day. “As one starts a new day he or she needs enough amounts of calories to provide energy which will enable the brain to function properly, also enough vitamins and minerals are needed for proper nerve function and coordination.”

Adding, “breakfast must contain adequate amount of carbohydrates, preferably whole grain/cereal products like(brown bread, brown chapatti, brown maandazi, boiled corn, boiled cassava/ potatoes), protein from either plant or animal source, vegetables/ fruits, and milk, tea or fresh juices,” she says. For lunch, she says, an adequate amount of balanced food depends on the type of work to be performed.

Meals must contain carbohydrates, protein from animal or plant source, vegetables and fruits. Dinner, is a little different
according to her, one needs very light food which is easily digested. “At night we do not need much energy because a person is not performing heavy activity, so he/she is required to consume a diet which can supply minimum energy from carbohydrates and protein but a person can consume unlimited amount of vegetables and fruits,”.

As for the anti-aging food, Mlinda says these are the type of foods that delay the aging process and they fall into several categories. “Anti aging food is one that stimulates the body’s security system to create more of its own antioxidants to slow cell destruction and breakdown. Which means anti-aging foods are those that are found in its natural states and mostly comes from plant source but which are able

to supply us with adequate proteins (fish and legumes example (beans, peas, lentils, chickpea), nuts (groundnuts, cashew nuts,
almonds, sesame, sunflower and other nuts), carbohydrates and fats/oils ( whole grains or cereals, roots and tubers, vegetable oils), and vitamins and minerals (from colorful vegetables and fruits),” she explained. The nutritionist says people should eat very little red meat, skin of the chicken, eggs, whole fresh milk, butter and ghee.

And one should avoid continuous eating of deep fried foods. Former Chief Medical Officer Dr Ali Mzige says there are certain things that one needs to do to live a long healthy life. First is doing physical exercise regularly, at least 3 times a week reduces sugar and hypertension. Mental exercise like reading, learning to speak other languages or anything that will challenge your brain is necessary. Last but not least, he says a sound sleep of 7-9 hours in a day is recommended.

“People who are constantly seated in the office need to take a walk after a few hours of sitting down. The movement will help the body’s air circulation – generating more oxygen hence reduce cancer cells,” he says.

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Mwandishi: HASINA MJINGO

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