Environment & Health

Health, Hygiene, Fitness Nigerians

Good hygiene, physical fitness and good health should be seen as a matter of life and death.

These are particularly more so for Nigerians and other Africans abroad as we tend to have very healthy appetite to indulgent levels. It is crucial that we are alert to the attendant perils of what and how much and when we eat.

And bearing in mind that a great deal of the foods consumed by Nigerians nay Africans in the Diaspora are over-processed foods. Over-processed foods are frequently stripped of their natural roughage or fiber, those natural regularity inducing particles or elements in foods.

Most foods abroad, unlike in Nigeria, are laden with artificial preservatives, and sweeteners in order to prolong food shelf-life through the rigors of manufacture, distribution, sale and kitchen table end journey with consumers.

Food is plentiful and cheap in the Diaspora, at least in America. Foods are also gradually, but steadily, getting genetically engineered or modified as well; more care is needed in our consumption pattern.

Even food items as simple as apples, peaches and pears, are often laden with and coated with an assortments and combinations of chemicals; from bee-wax to Alar, and as a result, discerning consumers must thoroughly was, even fresh fruits before ingesting them.

Life abroad, is, or can be very sedentary. From riding escalators to elevators to the car to the train or public buses and airplanes etc.

It is therefore a matter of a particular effort and discipline on all our parts to maintain physical fitness through regular exercise or physically vigorous activities. Fitness and good health in the circumstances should be actively sought after.

Time is frequently unavailable to engage in extra curricular activities, after long hours of daily schlepping, which is what life in the Diaspora entails. Imagine then that Nigerians who are having to compete with myriad factors of life abroad, must then have to be alert to quality and quantity of foods which could induce adverse heart conditions.

There are over-sweetened over-sugared foods in their abundance in America, and the sweeter the foods, the cheaper they tend to be too, and there is a correlation between sugar-added foods and the amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol such foods contain. Fattening foods are so cheap and available, whereas whole-foods or organic foods comes at premium prices.

It is a double whamming for anyone who eats mounds of these sweetened foods, and then, worse, if such persons are averse to physical exertion, coupled with the relative ease of life in America without physical efforts requiring sweats or perspirations, the risks of fattening foods is therefore heightened by physical hassles-free life. Mental stress may result from adjustments to new life in a new land, but sweat generating muscle movement are frequently unnecessary around here.

Considering all these aforementioned issues, it is of little surprise to me therefore, that a preponderance of Nigerians in America tend to almost invariably become overweight

Nigerians at home and particularly abroad, need to be very attentive and become more particular about good health through consumption of good food and healthy serving size. We need to watch the quantity and types of foods that we pile on our plates. I am always amazed at the size of the mountain of food on some plates at Nigerian parties!

Overeating is no favors to yourself. As a matter of fact, you should deliberately share your foods, that is a better favor to yourself, you will avoid unnecessary calories in the process. Engage in calories and fat avoidance program-policy, give some of your lunch to your colleague or friend or family or save some of it for the homeless guy at the train station, he will be glad to see you, on your way home from work!

Nigerians need to be particular about good health through fitness, which in turn enhances longevity. We need a more physically active lifestyles. Enroll at gyms, we need to move; engage in long walks and whatever else it takes. Exercising can be fun. I thoroughly enjoy my exercise time, I create the fun out of it, by listening to my favorite songs. I take the chore out of my workouts by listening to songs that moves and uplift my heart and spirit.

We need to pay detail attention to quality and quantity of foods we eat, this is the most delicate way for me to say that we need to eat less, no more gobbling. We should probably ease up on the oils, fats and salt, all of which are a source of and are contributing factors to why too many Nigerians in America have become super-sized and extra-large persons! As the cliché goes, we are certainly what we eat, and how much we eat!

Nigerians abroad may need to consider changing some old social habits, such as eating of foods that can feed more than one person. We must unlearn eating late in the evening or at night and shortly before going to bed. It is advisable to eat last meal of the day before bedtime, several hours before night rest. The old advice of eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper remains a wise counsel.

We must unlearn such aspects of our culture which suggests or presupposed a fat man to be a man who is living-well; we do not have to literarily live-large, that is not living-well at all, it instead, courting adverse heart events or even sudden death.

There are old habit which are in dire need of changing, for instance, I recently came across a debate on the Internet by some Nigerians in which foul body odor was the culprit. And, the need to use deodorants and the necessity of shaving under-arm hairs or arm-pit hair that is.

It is equally important to add other items such as shaving or waxing genital area hairs or pubic hairs, for it will give you, that smooth-all-over-cleanliness feeling! Men should shave their facial hairs daily, as a matter of course. But shave under-arm and between-thighs hairs weekly, or bi-monthly. We should cultivate the habit of using dental floss at minimum, once a day, it rids in-between teeth of food particles or residues which result is foul smell of some mouths, when food residues are allowed to reside for several hours or even overnight without flossing.

Personal hygiene through dental floss and use of deodorants would get rid of unnecessary odors, which our friends, family and professional colleague will not have to endure any further. My late father used to tell us kids that it took a good, a true friend to mention your bad breathe to you, but, it is still, a delicate matter, even at that.

Shaving or waxing unnecessary hairs in visible and in concealed regions of the body complete the body’s sweet smell efforts.

Nigerian guys must lose the beer belly and the so-called love-handless and thick-back of neck; Nigerian women must trim down and lose weight before fussing about 100 percent human hair-extensions imported from China or is it Hong Kong!

There is a need to be more physically active, for instance, by joining gymnasiums, by participating in physical exertions and sundry physicality. Regular long walks with your spouse, girl or boy friend, would suffice. It may actually lead to closer familial relationships amongst our people.

In the interest of our good health and physical fitness, we must exercise and be active. Just move! Regular exercise is a proven and reliable fountain of youth, without ingestion of chemicals, botulism or some other concoctions. Regular exercise has been established as capable of regenerating brain cells, for better memory and sharper mental focus. You will feel a better mental attitude, and people around you would notice the difference in your uplift. Regular exercise has spectacular benefits that are at once tangible and intangible as well.

Regular exercise cure for lethargic morning awakenings, and it can reduce our feel of fatigue considerably. It has enhanced my physical and mental endurance or stamina; reduces stress and anxiety of modern day work and life. Regular exercise has cured some persons of irritability and even insomnia. Regular vigorous exercise regimen can improve your sex life, with prolonged foreplay, and stems premature ejaculations.

Winter is not my favorite season of the four seasons, but, I have been able to reduce my winter-blues or through regular exercise. I lost 40 pounds and moved from my size 40inches to size 36inches trouser waist requiring the re-tailoring or refitting of most of my wardrobe. I have a permanent better mood. But of course, I mind what I eat, it is a lifestyle change and work in progress!

We must eat less. Eat better quality foods, eat less fats, use less salt and oils. We must eat more fruits and consume more vegetables. And when possible, eat less of over-processed foods, and avoid junk foods like the plague! I personally favor foods from the earth, whole foods, whole grains and prefer fresh over their refrigerated cousins etc

Personally, I make deliberate efforts at avoiding or excluding certain staples and condiments such as cheese, butter, mayonnaise, sugar, I let the fruits and vegetables in my salad do the flavoring of my salads, no salad dressings or creams for me. I might use a tinge of extra virgin olive oil; I eat spinach steamed, no cream. When I eat cereal at all, I use banana, or strawberry or some other fruit to season instead of using sugar.

We may not become vainglorious or become anorexic, but, we must watch our weights, size and body mass.

Fitness and good health is amply helped by good personal hygiene, fitness and good health is a matter of life or death. Here is to fitness and good health! Our lives and our longevity depend on these!

3 Comments

  1. Good piece. I have always tried to balance Nigerian food with western cuisine. Our foods are laden with lots of carbs and calories and can be difficult to exercise off due to our sedentary lifestyle. I mean back home, a trip to the market and back is enough to burn off a plate of pounded yam and egusi soup! Here, you have to spend an hour and a half at the gym. Now I limit my heavy Nigerian dishes to one or two nights a week and eat lots of protein to help build muscle and get rid of fat. Most importantly, I exercise 4-5 times a week.

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  2. The simple reason most people do not exercise is that ‘they do not have time,’ while this seems to be good reason due to the nature our work and responsibilities, it is equally not doing self a favor by extending your health, life-expectancy and or stay away from doctors. One maybe feeling alright now but, if felt sick, one will have to call off work, use the time to visit physician loosing paid time for those on clock and for those on salary may work extra days ahead. Mr. Paul Adujie rightly noted that any chosen exercise is good for the mind, body and spirit; it’s also important to point here which exercise actually is for life-time, increases one’s health, burns more calories and extends one’s life-expectancy than others.

    Tennis is one such sport! Did you know that Tennis burns (493) more calories in 1 hour than: Weightlifting (422), Stationary biking (387) and or Low impact aerobics 352? (Medicine Science in Study, 2000). Further, a study out John Hopkins University followed a group of Hopkins grads over a 48 year period and found that those who stay active specifically in tennis-more than any other activity-were far less likely to experience heart disease as they aged. The study conclude people who play tennis well has a 12 percent risk of heart disease, as compared to 15 percent for those who play tennis poorly and people who did not play tennis at all have a 28 percent risk of heart disease. As sports expert in specific-tennis for nearly twenty years, I am a testimony that tennis has added more value to my physical appearance and age, in short my wellbeing. Thus, Nigerians and rest of Africans in Diaspora must create time to exercise. It takes only two-three hours per week reenergized your body and soul, added to, to stay away from physicians and use the time off and or holidays spend with your family and or more exercise. Mr. Adujie excellent observation!

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