HEALTH: 'ENERGY FOODS' FOR PEOPLE ON THE GO

MANILA,
February 6, 2004 (STAR) Every day we deal with the hectic pace of our modern lifestyle, taking care of the household chores, rushing to school or to work, looking after the kids, struggling through traffic, meeting deadlines.

These and many other sources of stress take their toll on our bodies. We don’t get enough rest, we don’t eat properly, and pretty soon our immune system is weakened to the point where our bodies cannot fight off infections.

The worst thing that we can do to our bodies is to not provide it with the energy it needs to maintain itself and its defenses. We often do this by not eating the proper meals, or even skipping a meal or two just to use the extra time to do something else.

Fortunately, there is a proliferation of fast but healthy food – microwavable meals, instant noodles and other instant foods, including take-out food.

It is important, despite the pressures of modern life, to still maintain a complete diet to keep our bodies working properly. To do this we need to make sure that we are getting all the nutrients we need from what we eat. These are the micronutrients and macronutrients.

Micronutrients, better known as vitamins and minerals, can easily be supplemented with multivitamin tablets available in the market today.

On the other hand, there is no tablet supplement for macronutrients. We must therefore source them from rice, noodles, cereal, meat, fish and other food.

Proteins are the building books of our bodies’ tissues. We need them to maintain parts of our bodies such as muscles, skin and hair. Proteins are usually found in meat, fish and soy products.

Fats are our main form of stored energy – easily converted into fuel when our body needs them. They also provide insulation for the body from temperature changes and physical impact.

Fats are also an important component for our body’s hormones. They are found in animal foods such as beef and pork, as well as fish and vegetable oils.

Carbohydrates, the primary source of our body’s energy, fall into two types: simple and complex. Too often we try to compensate for our inadequate diet by loading up on sweets and softdrinks which are packed with simple carbohydrates, more commonly known as sugars.

They provide quick bursts of energy, but unfortunately they cannot sustain us throughout our workday. In fact, when our body burns up all the empty sugars we consume, a "sugar crash" quickly follows, and we feel drained and burned out.

Complex carbohydrates, or starches, on the other hand, take much longer to digest and convert into glucose. This allows energy to be released over long periods, sustaining us for much longer, avoiding the quick boost and quick crash that the empty calories of sugar provide.

But if you’re "on the go" as many consider themselves to be, it would be wise to supplement your meals with convenient snacks that will help you satisfy your daily macronutrient requirement. Instant noodles are a good choice because they are quick and easy to prepare. Choose brands that are fortified with other vitamins and minerals


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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