This series will be reviewing emerging lifestyles vis-a-vis common eating habits as well as essential but often ignored or completely misunderstood measures we could adopt to remain healthy.
I will start this discussion, which I intend to make as interactive as possible, with my thoughts on fasting (an exercise that has become a major practice among almost all religious adherents) and how you should go about recovering lost energy and nutrients.
Fasting beyond its spiritualties is an opportunity to deal with bad habits that negatively affect health and adopt healthier, nutritious diets. Its major health benefit is that it relieves and strengthens the digestive system while increasing its efficiency. It also adjusts the body fat level.
Unfortunately, many people miss this golden opportunity when fasting. With abundance of food, they break their fasting with lavish, sweet and oily feasts. This increases cholesterol level and, perhaps, triggers diabetes. A few individuals, on the other hand, overstrain their systems, leading to deficiency of vital nutrients. These two contradictory challenges make post-fasting (in the case of extended rite) a crucial moment.
What types of food should we eat after a long period of ‘waiting’? This question calls for reflection as some people are often carried away by the desire to recover lost energy and nutrients. Adequate food intake after physiological discipline comes from five classes of food, which includes fruits and vegetables.
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables helps to reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart diseases, high blood pressure and cancers because they contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which keep one healthy and energized.
Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium and calories, and they have no cholesterols.
The same is true with hygienically-packaged 100% fruit juice from reputable brands like Chivita, which contain a range of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and bioactive compounds such as phytochemicals, which are sources of many essential nutrients that are under-consumed, including potassium, vitamin C and folate (folic acid).
Consumption of fruit juices contributes significantly to potassium and some other micronutrients. It is important to note that 100% fruit juice, especially orange juice, is a valuable source of nutrients and bioactives, such as carotenoids and flavanones, which are bioavailable in fruit juice.
By bioavailability, we mean the degree to which food nutrients are available for absorption and utilisation in the body.
It is important to stress here that pure fruit juice (which is processed without additives, sweeteners or colours) provides similar levels of carotenoids and flavanones contained in whole fruits. Different studies by renowned institutions have confirmed the potential health impact of the bioactives found in pure fruit juice.
When a research compared the micronutrient levels of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium in juices with those of whole fruits they were extracted from, it found no significant difference. In some cases, sodium may be higher in fruit juices while the content of potassium; phosphorus and magnesium may be lower compared with the corresponding fruit extracts.
Why you need pure fruit juice after fasting: After a prolonged fasting, pure fruit juice becomes a necessity for its ease of digestion and body revitalization.
Beyond this, it is required because of the following:
Absorption of iron: Some compounds present in foods inhibit intestinal absorption of non-haem iron.
The role of vitamin C in this regard is so important that the World Health Organisation (WHO) considered its impact on the bioavailability of iron when developing Dietary Reference Values. Thus, consuming 100% fruit juice with foods rich in non-haem iron helps to increase absorption of vita minerals required to replenish your body after a long period of denial.
Potassium and blood pressure: Potassium is found in significant quantities in fruit juices, vegetables, whole-grain cereals and legumes.
When considering the daily intake of potassium, aim to consume 3,500 to 4,700 miligramme (mg) of the mineral per day. WHO suggests a potassium intake of 3,510 mg/day, as this helps keep blood pressure within tolerable limit and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Consumption of pure fruit juice such as Chivita 100% fruit juice as part of a balanced diet can help individuals to achieve recommended potassium intake and support the maintenance of normal blood pressure.
Phytochemicals: Phytocompounds, which you cannot get from whole fruits, are present in most 100% fruit juices. This is because industrial pressing makes it possible for a greater amount of phytocompounds to squeeze into the juice.
So, when you think of rejuvenating after a long spiritual exercise, think about the wholesome benefits of 100% fruit juice.
* Malomo is a clinical dietitian (Twitter: @malomoolusola)