Food is one of the most essential things in life, some would argue mobile data because we live in a generation that revolves around the internet, but food is a basic need of everyone.
However, as an undergraduate in the University of Ibadan, accessibility to food is not a problem. In fact, almost every strategic place on campus has a place you can sit and get a refill if you need one. It becomes obvious that what is really a concern is the feeding habit of undergraduates.
A report published on teachers.ab.ca, which is centred around feeding and its effects on students’ retention, states: “Students who hadn’t eaten a good breakfast before coming to school had difficulty recalling words and facts, as well as doing arithmetic. Other studies have shown significant links between poor eating habits and attention deficit disorder (ADD), hyperactivity, depression, moodiness, and chronic fatigue.”
This begs for the question, how many students eat breakfast?
I remember one Friday morning, back then in my 100 level, I got dressed early and went for classes without breakfast. The first two lectures were perfectly useless to me, I was in the class but definitely not in “the class.” God so gracious, classes held back to back; somewhere around 11am, I had a GES 101 class, followed by an impromptu test. As you might have expected, I failed woefully, simply because I missed breakfast.
Little acts such as missing breakfast, undereating or overeating go a long way on the psychological and retentive ability of students. Many students find joy in consuming on-the-go food such as snacks, soft drinks, biscuits, etc. Though some understandably due to early scheduling of classes (some classes start 7am in UI), when this habit becomes regular, it becomes a problem.
Presence of excess sugar in the blood causes cell walls to get inflamed, grow thicker than normal and more stiff, this stresses your heart and damages it over time. This can lead to heart diseases, like heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes which can in turn lead to death, all because of bad feeding habit.
Another of such habits is late night eating. Eating late at night is almost never avoidable for a UIte especially if you live off-campus. After a long and stressful day in school, it only takes a genius in time planning to not eat late into the night. One of the characteristics of newly admitted students (freshers) is that in their first few weeks they add weight. This is not because they are having to eat too much, it’s the timing of their eating. Although many experts may fault this analogy as pure myth, a new study backs up the idea that it’s not only what you eat but also when you eat that counts. Researchers at Northwestern University found that mice given high-fat foods during the day (when these nocturnal animals should have been sleeping) gained significantly more weight than mice given the same diet at night.
One way to solve this problem is time planning, but as a student in UI your control over your time is minimal, though some lecturers are nice enough to leave the class when their time is up, but some are just the other way round.
Also, a bad feeding habit found among students is emotional eating. After a long tired day filled with back-to-back classes and assignments, it’s expected that one gets frustrated. Many student take a revenge unconsciously in themselves by eating up. Many would just go to the available restraunt and fill up, even when eating may not be necessary. One effect this causes is adding up of weight and another important effect is “pocket money go quick finish“. So, when times like that arise and nothing just seems to be working again with studies, your first solution shouldn’t be eating. Take a walk away from study and engage in some other things for a while, that would really help instead of just eating.
Another important feeding habit rampant amongst students is eating too quickly. I understand you might be running out of time and getting late for classes or practicals, never wolf down your food too quickly. Wolfing down your food, whether you’re snacking or eating a meal, doesn’t give your brain time to catch up with your stomach. Your brain doesn’t signal that you’re full until about 15 to 20 minutes after you’ve started eating. If you gulp down your meal in 10 minutes or less, you could end up eating way more than you need. In a study of 3,200 men and women, Japanese researchers found that eating too quickly was strongly associated with being overweight. Instead of just having to rush down the food just take a little piece you can be able to finish with the time available and better still package it in a pack or cooler and find a space to eat at your free time.
Water is life. One rampant habit common amongst young persons is the resentment toward drinking water. Many students would rather take soft drinks, zobo, kunu, or anything else apart from water. The immediate effect of not having enough water ranges from muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting and constipation etc. Many students end up in Jaja simply because they don’t drink enough water. The solution is not too far from the cause, just drink WATER.
As students, there are some specific nutrients and vitamins that should always find their ways into your menu as they help to enhance brain capacity and retention. They include Oily fish, nuts and seeds. They contain Omega-3 that helps to keep the brain healthy. Deficiency in Omega-3 can lead to fatigue and loss of memory. Also, fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C have proven to help in providing mental agility. Dark chocolates are also very integral, they can help reduce blood pressure, as well as get more blood flow to your brain and help you get more fuel. Grabbing a piece of dark chocolate before your test may be a great way to keep focused and relaxed. Whole grains are another important component to overall wellness. The complex carbohydrates in whole grains have a low glycemic index, so they digest slowly and release glucose, your brain’s best source of energy, over a longer period of time. This means you will have energy longer and can make it through a lengthy test or paper. The fiber in whole grains keeps cholesterol in check and improves blood flow to the brain and other organs.