Eat better


Eat better

Warrick Lattibeaudiere

Sunday, February 07, 2021

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DO you grab food on the go? Have you been promising yourself to eat healthier? Are you unsure of the food types you are to be eating more of?

In the words of Hippocrates, the “Father of Modern Medicine “, if we let our food be our medicine and our medicine our food, there seems to be compelling reason to identify a positive correlation between eating healthier and living longer.

Tap into the three food groups

Three main food groups exist.

Carbohydrates consist of cereals such as corn, rice, oats, and ground provisions such as potatoes and yams. In the second group, rich in proteins, vitamins, iron and zinc, are legumes, namely peas and beans, along with animal and animal-derived products, namely, meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk. The final group comprises fruits and vegetables, the source of natural vitamins and mineral, essential to the body. This final group gives the only naturally occurring source of vitamin C.

Variety — still the spice of life

Experts in the field of health know this to be true, that a healthy diet must be balanced. Balance requires varying the items from the food groups.

From the three groups, it is recommended that for each there should be at least one food item from each group, but to also vary the foods as much as possible. So, if peas are part of your selection for a meal, for another meal, choose beans.

Variety requires one to be able to prepare foods in different ways. So while steam fish may be one option, if you choose fish, consider roasting it next time.

Fruits in season

Jamaica is rich in fruits, many of which are seasonal. Seasonal fruits are far more affordable as market supply drives down prices.

So, individuals may want to consider this if there are budgetary constraints.

Eat a variety of fruits — citrus, mangoes (I acquire the taste and eat the skin of all of them), bananas (stick to locally grown ones), apples, guineps, jackfruit, pineapples, and plums. Eat them raw, make smoothies, blend them and extract fruit juices.

Top up aplenty on vitamin C. The body doesn't store it, yet it needs it, and over time a lack of it results in a dreaded condition called scurvy. Wash fruits carefully, though, since flies and other insects tend to land on them.

More fruits and vegetables than meat

Remember to go heavier on fruits and vegetables than meat. Consume smaller portions of food from animal groups such as fish, chicken (preferably without the skin) and meats that are lean. Two servings of fruits and vegetables are good for adults. And be careful of fats and sugars.

Being in a developing country doesn't mean we can't improve our diet. Choose nutritious foods, many times ones that are natural; vary them and their preparation and combine them with others. As you do, remember to eat better and live longer.

Warrick Lattibeaudiere, PhD, a minister of religion for the past 23 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica, where he is also director of the Language, Teaching and Research Centre. E-mail him at

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