If we do not take in the nutrients that we need from our diet, some of that chemistry starts to function less well. Picture: Pexels / Elle Hughes
If we do not take in the nutrients that we need from our diet, some of that chemistry starts to function less well. Picture: Pexels / Elle Hughes

World Health Day: Nutrition is key in living a healthy life

By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article published Apr 7, 2021

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Many consumers around the world are trending towards a more health-conscious eating and embracing a healthier lifestyle.

In the times of Covid, we see many people staying proactive, and in some cases creative, to maintain an active lifestyle in the era of social-distancing.

However, despite being willing to be healthy, many are failing to exert their willpower to change their lifestyles and habits.

Today, April 7, the world observed World Health Day.

A day declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to draw the attention of people towards the importance of global health.

In order to keep a healthy eating lifestyle, experts say understanding how food impacts our health may be key.

ADSA spokesperson and registered dietitian, Nathalie Mat says almost all of the nutrients our body needs to stay healthy comes from what we eat and drink.

“The human body is an incredible walking bag of chemical reactions working together.

“If we do not take in the nutrients that we need from our diet, some of that chemistry starts to function less well.

“Eating the right food for our body helps us to perform well mentally and physically whether at work or when exercising.

“Eating the right nutrients means that we will be able to have healthy babies when we want to have children and it means that we will age well and live a long life to watch our children grow.

“What we eat helps to shape how we age,” Mat said.

She adds that food also gives us the energy to get out of bed, move our bodies and do the work of the day.

It gives us the nutrients needed to make things like muscle, hair, nails and hormones.

It also gives us energy to get through the day and perform at our best.

Although we are told about the benefits of getting our five fruits and veggies a day.

Daily Mail reported that in some circumstances, certain fruits and vegetables may actually be bad for our health.

Grapefruit juice, for example, can interfere with statins, increasing the risk of side-effects.

Raw cabbage, along with cauliflower and kale, contains goitrogens – substances that can affect thyroid function by blocking the production of the hormone thyroxine, says Doctor Mark Vanderpump, a consultant endocrinologist at The Physicians’ Clinic in London.

People who are sensitive to latex can also have an allergic reaction to avocado.

Latex comes from the sap of the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis.

A study of 137 patients with rubber latex allergy, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that 21.1% were also allergic to particular foods, including banana (18.3%) and avocado (16.3%).

This is because some of the proteins in latex that cause allergic reactions are also present in these fruits.

The same cross-reactivity can happen with kiwi fruit, says Professor Jean Emberlin, scientific director of Allergy UK.

“The proteins are very similar in the latex and the fruit, so they can trigger similar reactions,” said Emberlin.

So what are some things we can do to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle and routine while the world around us has adapted to limiting exposure to Covid-19?

Here are three things from Health Mil that you can incorporate into your daily life:

Stay active

If you are not ready for the gym, there are lots of safe alternatives to getting physical activity without going against the preventive best practices. Aerobics can be done successfully at home. Another important point to consider is that avoiding crowds does not mean avoiding nature. Going for a brisk walk or jog outside in uncrowded areas outdoors is still considered relatively safe.


Take time to take care of yourself. Be supportive and suggest the same for those close to you. Meditation, relaxation, quality time with family, personal care of yourself promotes overall wellness.

Cope with stress and anxiety

Positively cope with stress and anxiety induced by new precautions we must all now take to combat the spread of Covid-19 in our communities. Positive coping mechanisms would include exercise, meditation, reading, further developing certain skills or hobbies etc. Use this era to increase your daily repetition of these positive activities and develop new or even better routines than you may have adhered to prior to the emergence of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

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