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Column in 'Love Wise' #2 (januari 2004)


HIV/AIDS and nutrition in the picture

Welcome in this second edition of "Nutrition in the picture". Why do we eat and what is the function of food for our body? These questions form the basis for the composition of a healthy diet and will be discussed in the column of this month.

You are what you eat…this statement is actually right. Our body is built up of the components we also find in the food we eat. Food exist of different components; carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins. These components serve the body for growth, energy, body repair, maintenance and protection. Most of the food we eat contains of a mixture of this components. But based on their function, they can be divided in different food groups.

Energy foods
The components in our food, which provide energy, are carbohydrates (sugar and starch) and fats. Food energy is measured in calories and provides the body with fuel so it can keep running. Energy is needed for all body functions including the maintenance of body temperature, the movement of our muscles and the action of our organs. When the energy in our diet is not enough, the energy from the body stores will be used. The energy stores in the body are body fat and muscles and using these stores leads to weight loss. Weight loss is a warning signal for increasing the amount of energy in the diet. Carbohydrates provide less than half the calories provided by fat, which is a rich source of energy.
Energy foods like starchy foods (plantain, cassava, yam, sweet potato), cereals (corn, rice millet, sorghum, wheat), sugar and fatty foods (oil groundnuts, oilseeds).

Building foods
Muscles, organs and many other substances that make our immune system are all made of proteins. In case of sickness, the intake of energy is probably not enough to cover the body’s needs. The body will use their own proteins (muscles) to make up the lack of energy. As a consequence, the proteins cannot be used for maintenance of our muscles and keeping the immune system working. To stay healthy, to fight against infection and to maintain body weight a right amount of proteins in combination with enough enery should be eaten.
Protein rich-foods are legumes (beans, peas and groundnuts) and meat, fish, eggs and milk.

Protecting foods
Vitamins and minerals are the ingredients of our food we need for the control of several body processes including for a good immune system. There are several vitamins and minerals and all have their own specific function. In case of sickness the need for vitamins and minerals is increased. Most of the time a diet that provides enough energy and exists of a variety of foods contains enough vitamins and minerals. But in case of sickness the need for vitamins and minerals is increased and a multivitamin supplement on daily basis is advisable to prevent a lack of these nutrients.
Protecting foods are fresh vegetables and fruits like dark green leaves, oranged coloured fruits and vegetables and citrus fruits.

Although many people don’t think of it, water is one of the most important parts of the diet. The body uses water for most of the body processes (including the regulation of our temperature and the elimination of waste) and every day we need at least 1,5 liter of water to replace it. In case of diarrhea, fever, sweating more water should be taken to prevent dehydration.
Foods, which contain water, are any drinks (pure water, tea, juice, milk, minerals) and foods (soup, porridge, yogurt).

Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods…no single food is perfect. To prepare a balanced meal, food from each group should be added to make a balanced meal. But besides eating for physical reason…foods also provide enjoyment and pleasure. Therefore… a balanced meal is only perfect when it is adjusted to somebody’s taste, likes and dislikes, medical situation and other circumstances.

Next month…the topic "Healthy eating" will be continued and practical advises will be given.


Npo To Po To
Recipe for 4 persons

6 small coco yams or 4 middle size coco yams
6-8 green peppers
2 pieces garlic
1 small piece ginger
1 cube Magi, Royco or any other brand
Dried or smoked fish (any type can be used)
1 tin tomato’s
2 onion
2 tomato’s
1 ladle of red oil

Peal the coco yams and cut them into pieces. Boil the coco yams in twice amount of water till the coco yam is soft. Add pounded pepper, garlic and ginger together with the cube. Clean the fish from bones cut it into pieces and add it. Add the tin tomato’s and stir it all together. Cook the coco yam mixture for 2 minutes. Chop the onion and tomato and add these together with the red oil. Stir it all together and cook it for an other 2 minutes.


Every vegetable like cabbage, carrots, green beans or shallot can be added to make this recipe healthier.


Lees verder over ...

Column Love Wise , #1 (december 2003)

Column Love Wise , #2 (januari 2004)


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