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NutritionEvent Experience: Eat This, Drink That

Event Experience: Eat This, Drink That

Lifeland Team

It’s always great when an opportunity to learn how to improve my wellness comes around, well at Workstation Nigeria, Lifeland hosted Mr Collins Akanno AKA The Diet Doctor at the weekly Lunch and Learn with a special focus on Nutrition at the work place. Giving me an opportunity to learn more about dieting and healthy snacks to eat at the office... 
Read more below…

Lunch and learn started with an artfully arranged tray of fruits, red apples, fat, green garden eggs, dates, and ripe bananas. A tasty, yet healthy treat for attendees of the session, and who doesn’t like free food 
Lunch = sorted!

So here's what I learned from the nutrition event

The Diet Doctor had come early enough, and his presentation aids were well set up. The session started with an interactive icebreaker where he introduced himself as Mr Collins Akanno, a trained nutritionist with a background in medical sciences and then took some time to get to know everyone by name (He remembered everyones name all the way through too!)
After giving a brief outline of his presentation, he began by stating that Nigerians generally prefer heavy meals to healthy meals. The average Nigerian would rather spend money on swallow and soup than on fruits and vegetables. This was greeted with smiles and murmurs of assent from the crowd. He went on to advise against this practice, citing the importance of the nutrients and vitamins found in fruits and vegetables. 

Over the course of the presentation, he abolished old myths and shared new information. For example, contrary to popular belief, Mr. Collins dismissed the notion that consuming roasted groundnuts is a one-way ticket to developing pimples, stating that pimples are likely caused due to the action of white blood cells, which help the body fight infections. He also warned against the dangers of packaged foods such as plantain chips and other quick snacks sold on the streets in Nigeria, some of which have a high salt content. Excessive consumption of salt, he explained, is a risk factor for many cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension, heart attacks and stroke, and also causes harm to the kidneys, increasing the risk of developing kidney stones.

Nutrition Tips from the Diet Doctor

  • Steamed carrots have a higher percentage of vitamin A available for absorption when eaten than raw carrots.
  • Eating apples can help combat bad breath, as apples contain certain polyphenols (which act as antioxidants).
  • For diabetics, blending the fruits causes the fructose to enter the bloodstream faster, causing a spike in blood sugar and increasing the risk of hyperglycaemia.
  • Blending fruits also reduces their fiber content, an important constituent that forms the bulk of fruits and aids in digestion and bowel movement.
  • It may be more beneficial to eat fruits, than to blend and drink them.

But when improving eating habits don’t overlook the importance of exercising, Mr Collins himself mentioned that every morning he did 200 push-ups (50 reps, 4 sets) This was met with exclamations of surprise from the crowd, as we questioned his stamina. He explained the concept of muscle memory, and how antioxidants help to maintain this level of activity. 

How do antioxidants help?

Free radicals are reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species are generated by our body by various internal functions, exposure to different physiochemical conditions or pathological states (such as illnesses or stress from overexertion during workouts). Normal cell function allows your body to counter these toxic free radicals with antioxidants (REDOX reaction) which may otherwise damage all components of the cell, including proteinslipids, and DNA. Therefore a balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function.

For example: Imagine leaving an apple slice out in the air, the eventual browning that occurs is caused by a process called ‘oxidation.’ This same process occurs in our bodies.
However, this process is countered by natural antioxidants, such as glutathione which is synthesized in the body. The concentration of glutathione is higher in children but decreases with age. This perhaps accounts for the hyperactivity generally observed in children, and the sluggishness generally observed in older people. As glutathione is essential for it’s antioxidant effect, Mr Collins advised that supplements should be taken to maintain concentrations with age.

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One of such supplements is Cellgevity which contains RiboCeine, a unique molecule that combines ribose and cysteine, nutrients that occur naturally in the body, As glutathione is made up of glutamine, glycine and cysteine, supplementing with cysteine increases the synthesis of glutathione. RiboCeine is also an excellent source of ribose which is is necessary for the synthesis of ATP, the body’s source of fuel and energy.

Healthy office eating habits:

  • Dedicating a period (lunch time) to leaving the desk and eating with good posture. Having a good eating posture is necessary, he explained, as incorrect posture impedes digestion and absorption of food nutrients, as well as prevents normal blood circulation.
  • Choose healthy snacks such as greek yoghurt, nuts or fruits, including dried fruits.
  • If you’re dinner is a bit much, save some for work. Bringing in leftovers from last night’s meal is a great way to spread your meals and not waste any food. Saving some money along the way.
  • When you want a treat, share with friends to reduce the amount you take.
  • If your diet isn't balanced with enough intake of nutrients, supplementing to top up your micronutrients may be useful to maintain health.

Click here to read more about our tips for healthy snacking

Diet234 was started with the aim of combating the confusion surrounding having a good diet, exercising and maintaining health. Diet234 comprises of professionals dedicated to preventing diseases using healthy eating and nutrition education. They are a resource for healthy eating and aim to make this a general lifestyle of the population. Diet234 provides services which include sports nutrition advice, weight management services, detox and anti-aging services, as well as individual programs which could be customized depending on the client’s needs and requirements.
Click here to read about the upcoming Nutrition and Social Wellness activity by Diet234: AugustShowers

Written by Agba Oluchi

Oluchi Agba is a final year student of Pharmacology, at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos. She is concerned about emerging health issues and is passionate about helping people reach their health goals. She enjoys reading mystery novels, taking long, quiet walks, and keeping up with the latest news in medicine and health.
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