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21 May, 2018 00:00 00 AM

Staying healthy

Prof. Dr. Md. Shahidullah
Staying healthy

The saying "Health is Wealth" reminds us the importance of health. We all want to stay healthy and fit. Staying healthy and fit is not that difficult if we follow some rules in our day to day life. To stay healthy and fit, we have to do certain things regularly. These include eating right, exercise on regular basis, quitting bad habits like smoking, reducing stress and maintaining good personal hygiene.

Eat healthy: Healthy eating implies aiming for regular meals (usually 3 meals per day in the morning, afternoon, and evening) and healthy snacks (when one is hungry or need extra energy in between those 3 major meals) through eating foods from all of the food groups (grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats) each day to meet the nutritional needs.

Eating 3 meals with snacks in between is the best way to maintain required energy and a healthy weight. Good nutritious food is important for our body. We need a balanced diet that includes an appropriate amount of carbohydrate (rice and bread), protein (fish, meat, milk, egg, dal), fat (oil), vitamins, minerals, water and dietary fibres.

A lot of whole-grain food and fruits and vegetables must be present in the diet. They constitute what is called healthy carbohydrates. Healthy carbohydrates are digested slowly and hence help one feel full longer and keep blood sugar and insulin levels stable. Unhealthy carbohydrates (or bad carbohydrates) are foods such as white flour, refined sugar and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber and nutrients. Unhealthy carbohydrates are digested quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels and energy. Eating a wide variety of foods without getting too many calories or too much of any one nutrient is important.

We will get the requisite amount of energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibres from them. Dietary fibre is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. A healthy diet should contain approximately 20-30 grams of dietary fibre a day.

Diet poor in fibres may lead to cancer of colon and rectum. There may be a link between a high-fat diet and certain cancers, such as cancers of the breast, colon, uterus, and prostate. Eating slowly and by proper chewing is also a part of healthy eating. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important.

The weight that is right for one depends on many factors including one’s sex, height and age. Excess body weight or fat increases the chances for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some types of cancer and other illnesses. On the other hand, being too thin can increase the risk for osteoporosis, menstrual irregularities and other health problems. To maintain a healthy weight, eating should be from a wide variety of foods without getting too many calories or too much of any one nutrient. Unsaturated fats (soybean oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, nuts, fish fat) should be present in diet in adequate amount while saturated fat (fat present in red meat like beef, mutton, butter, cheese, egg yolk) and trans fat (banaspati, dalda) should be reduced or eliminated from the diet. Salt itself is not bad. Rather it increases the taste of food and curry. But extra salt is to be avoided because excess salt can lead to hypertension and heart diseases.

Do exercise: Physical activity or exercise is important for health. Physical activity is a key determinant of energy expenditure, and thus is fundamental to energy balance and weight control.

Regular exercise or physical activity maintains good body weight,  lowers blood pressure, lowers bad cholesterol ‘LDL’, increases good cholesterol ‘HDL’ and thus lowers the chance of build up of plaques in arteries. In this way it reduces the chance of hypertension, stroke and cardiovascular diseases.

Physical activity also reduces the risk of Type II diabetes mellitus. It reduces the risk for colon cancer and breast cancer among women too. It also reduces the chances of osteoporosis and mental disorders, such as depression. Different types and amounts of physical activity are required for different health outcomes.

At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity 5 days per week, such as walking at a speed of 100 steps per minute for 30 minutes 5 days per week is beneficial for the above mentioned problems.

Quit smoking: Smoking is injurious to health. It can cause various health problems like lung cancer, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, etc. So smoking should be avoided at any cost. Other habits like chewing betel nut and drinking alcohol which are detrimental to health are to be avoided too.

Reduce stress: Stress can disturb our health. It can disturb our sleep thus producing headaches and insomnia. Stress induces various cardiovascular diseases including heart attack and stroke. It is important to relieve us from stress to stay healthy.

A sound mind gives a healthy body. There are ways to reduce stress. Exercise, yoga and meditation, religious exercise, reading good books, playing with pets, listening to some good music- are the examples of some ways to reduce stress.

Maintain good personal hygiene: A rule of good hygiene is to be followed. Those having bad hygiene often fall sick. Personal hygiene means practice of all personal health habits that contribute to the attainment and maintenance of good health. Personal hygiene is as it says, personal.

Good personal hygiene is the base for a healthy life, a disease free life.  Adequate rest, recreation and sleep are important for staying healthy.

The habit of early rising is healthy. There goes the saying: Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Trimming nail, brushing teeth, caring bowel, etc. are important. We must try to keep our bodies free from bacteria. Taking bath regularly and wearing clean clothes are important in this regard. Developing the habit of washing hands regularly to stop the spread of germs is very vital. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

 It is best to wash the hands with soap and clean running water for about 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can also be used to keep hands free from microorganisms. Alcohol-based hand rubs significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast acting.

To wash hands, they are to be wet with clean running water and then soap is to be applied. Then hands are to be rubbed together to make a lather. Rubbing hands is to be continued for a period of 20 seconds before washing them well under running water.

Hand washing is needed before preparing or eating food, after going to the bathroom, after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has gone to the bathroom, before and after attending to someone who is sick, after blowing nose, coughing, or sneezing, after handling an animal or animal waste and after handling garbage.

Get regular check-ups: Regular check-ups for high blood pressure, blood lipids, diabetes mellitus, cancer, etc are very much essential. Getting the right screening test done at the right time through visiting a doctor is very important for health.

Screenings can detect diseases like cancer or diabetes much early before they produce symptoms. And if such diseases are detected earlier, then they are easier to treat and they will do less harm to the body.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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