It is surprising that farmers grow food and keep animals to feed millions of people yet they are not the healthiest. Eating healthier food is not only good for our bodies but also improves the health of our farmland, environment and rural communities.
Farming is perceived as a healthy lifestyle, but that is not the case. It has become a much less physical occupation than it once was, with an increased digitization and mechanization.
What should you eat as a farmer?
1. Make water your best friend
Water is the healthiest and most natural beverage you can drink.
It helps flush the body of waste products and toxins, although most of us are always dehydrated — tired, with low energy, and headaches.
Stop peeling potatoes, eat them with the skin, it makes them more delicious and is a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Also choose high fiber or whole grain foods like; brown rice, whole wheat, corn (githeri) and etc which keep you feeling full throughout the day.
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
It is recommended to have at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in our diet every day.
Add an array of colors to your plate and think of it as eating the rainbow, dark, greens, oranges, tomatoes, avocadoes.
4. Limit processed food.
While the thought of processed food awakens our taste-buds, they are not the healthiest. Most processed foods have lost some of their fiber and nutrients and gained sugar, chemicals and other ingredients instead.
They have also been linked to inflammation and an increased risk of heart diseases.
5. Eat more fish
Fish is a good source of vitamins and proteins. Oily fish like salmon and sardines are rich in omega-3 fats which help prevent heart diseases.
6. Read labels
We cannot emphasize this enough, food labels can help you limit the amount of fat, sugar and cholesterol in your diet by making it easy for you to compare one food item with another and pick the healthiest.
You can also use food labels to find food items higher in vitamins, fiber and protein. Be aware of health sensitive ingredients, net weight, serving size and nutritional amounts.
7. Cut down saturated fat and sugars
As famers we need all the energy we can get. It does not help to have plenty of saturated fats and sugars in our diet. It leads to an increased cholesterol in blood, a predisposing factor for heart diseases. Exercise.
If you are a farmer who digs your shamba a lot, the consistent bending can be bad for your physical structure over time. Make sure to exercise and do stretches to ensure your body is in good shape and form.
Exercise is good for everyone at any age. Regular exercise can improve your muscle strength and boost your immunity.
Exercise also delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.