BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative





Vegetables are an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. As children grow, parents make conscious efforts to ensure they instill the habit of eating vegetables as a staple in the everyday meal plan of their child. This is primarily because of the health benefits of vegetables. Every individual, children and adults alike ought to adopt a pattern of eating vegetables daily to ensure a healthy, balanced diet. In the words of former American politician, Doug Larson: “Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacons.” While it is true that some vegetables don’t smell or taste good, there is a wide range of options to choose from since it is essential to inculcate continuous consumption of a variety of vegetables in our diet.

Vegetables are parts of plants such as the leaves, the fruits and the roots of plants which are safe for human consumption.[1] Vegetables are considered staple foods because they are locally sourced and readily available foods in most countries of the world.[2] As reported by the food and agriculture organization of the United Nations, there are about 1000 types of vegetables in the world.[3] Some common examples of vegetables are tomatoes, carrots, cabbages, cucumbers, eggplants, onions, broccolis and a lot more. Vegetables form an extensive part of human sustenance in various parts of the world.[4]Vegetables can be cooked and dished in many ways. They can be steamed, fried, boiled or eaten raw.[5] Like fruits, vegetables are seasonal. This means that the availability and accessibility of varied vegetables is dependent on what time of the year it is. However, some vegetables are available in every time and season. Vegetables are categorized or grouped based on what part of a plant that is edible. Some categories of vegetables are: 

  • Root vegetables: examples of these vegetables are onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.
  • Leaf vegetables: examples of these vegetables are lettuce, cabbages, broccolis, etc.
  • Fruit vegetables: examples of these vegetables are cucumbers, eggplants, etc.

The health benefits of eating vegetables cannot be overemphasized. Vegetables are highly nutritional because they stem from plants which are abundant in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.[6] Vegetables generally have little amounts of calories and are mostly composed of highly beneficial dietary fiber and water.[7] Given the associated benefits of fibre and water, vegetables have been linked to regulation of blood sugar and reduction of death rate.[8] Research shows that meals rich in vegetables reduce chances of cardiovascular diseases.[9] Vegetarian diets have also been shown to reduce blood pressure, decrease the possibilities of heart diseases and help deter some types of cancer.[10] The world health organization suggest that everybody should consume not less than five servings of varied vegetables daily.[11] No vegetable can solely provide all the nutrients needed for the body to keep fit.[12] Thus, vegetarian diets must be served as meals consisting of a variety of vegetables to ensure a healthy diet. Vegetables are numerous and they serve varied nutritional purposes accordingly to the body. This means that carrots do not perform the same nutritional functions as broccolis. We shall now look at the diverse nutritional functions of some varied vegetables to the human body. 

Carrots are rich in vitamins A, fiber, and potassium and are also a great source of antioxidants and beta- carotene which have been revealed to help reduce the risk of some types of cancer.[13] Carrots have been shown to aid weight-loss and enhanced eye sight.[14] Carrots are abounding in fiber which may impede the development of type 2 diabetes.[15]Broccolis are a good source of vitamin c, vitamin k, iron, fiber[16] and have been shown to also lower the risk of diabetes and reducing the chances of developing some types of cancer.[17] Cucumbers are abounding in potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber. Habitual consumption of cucumbers have been shown to be lower the risks of heart diseases and reduce blood pressure.[18] Cucumbers have also been shown to aid hydration and bowel movement.[19] Cucumbers are also great for keeping the skin healthy and strengthening the bone.[20]

Conclusively, as rightly said by the American physician and author, Michael Greger: “We should all be eating fruits and vegetables as if our lives depend on it- because they do.” This goes to show beyond doubt, how essential the consumption of vegetables is to the human body.























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Water is an essential part of our everyday lives; we need water to quench our thirst, to have our bath, to make our meals, to survive. The words of renowned poet, H. Auden: “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water” goes to show the essentiality of water and how fundamental it is to life form existence. Water covers about 71% of the earth’s surface and the human body is made up of about 60% of water. It is trite knowledge that water is one of the three basic needs of all living things, without which no creature on earth will survive.

Water is a substance composed of the chemical elements hydrogen and oxygen and existing in gaseous, liquid and solid states. The chemical formula for water is H2O. The two major types of water are ground water and surface water. The latter is water that is on the earth’s surface in oceans, lakes, rivers, icecaps, glaciers whereas the former is water beneath the earth’s surface.

Water has both physical and chemical properties. The most basic and widely known physical property of water is its appearance which is that water is colorless, odorless and tasteless. However, other physical properties of water include the boiling point of water. This is the temperature at which water changes its state from liquid to gaseous state otherwise known as steam or vapor. The boiling point of water is 100°C or 212°F. The freezing point of water is another physical property of water. This is the temperature at which the water changes from liquid to solidstate, otherwise known as ice or frozen water. The freezing point of water is 0°C or 32°F. Another physical property of water is that it has a polar nature. This means that water is capable of dissolving more substances than any other liquid. This is why water called the universal solvent. Other physical properties of water according to unacademy are:1. The density of water which is the ratio of mass of water to its volume depending on the temperature of the water.2. The specific heat capacity of water which is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of water.3. The viscosity of water which is the tendency of water to resist any change in its shape or motion4. The surface tension of water which is the capacity of water to get shrunken in the minimum surface area.

One of the chemical properties of water is that is that it can act as both acid and base. This means that water is amphoteric in nature.

Water can be classified into two types: Hard and soft water. This classification is based on the mineral content of water. The hardness of water is determined by the amount of calcium and magnesium present in it. Hard water contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium while soft water is free from these minerals.

The benefits of water are endless. In the human body, one of the many benefits of drinking water are:

Hydration: Health experts recommend that an adult person should take eight- ounce glasses of water daily which is about 2 litres of water. Staying hydrated also helps in maintaining one’s body temperature. 

Lubrication: Water is crucial for many bodily functions such as lubricating the joints, Transportation: Water delivers oxygen throughout the body, preventing kidney damage.

Digestion: Water aids digestion. Health experts confirm that drinking water before, during and after one’s meal will help the body break down the food more easily.

Conclusively, the importance of the water cannot be overstated. The popular saying: “water is life” to a great degree depicts the immeasurable value of water. Water goes beyond its chemical formation, water is vital for the existence of all living creatures.




Fruits are mature, ripe and edible ovaries of plants. They provide nourishment to animals, may be seed-containing or seedless, sweet or sour tasting, and can be consumed raw or cooked, depending on the type.  There are over two thousand (2,000) varieties of fruits around the world, and some fruits are more likely to grow in some climates or parts of the world. While some fruits are seasonal- being available and affordable only at certain times of the year, others remain available all year round irrespective of seasons. According to Better Health- an Australian health information channel, fruits are grouped based on some similarities as follows:

  • Apples and pears
  • Citrus including oranges, grapefruits, mandarins and limes
  • Stone fruits such as nectarines, apricots, peaches and plums
  • Tropical fruits like bananas, pineapples and mangoes
  • Berries including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwifruit and passionfruit
  • Melons like watermelons, rock melons and honeydew melons
  • Tomatoes and avocados

The importance and benefits of fruits in a healthy diet cannot be overstated. Many vitamins, minerals and compounds needed for efficient body functioning are naturally occurring in fruits. Fruits have a variety of colours and  similar coloured fruits may contain similar chemical compounds needed for the body. For instance, red fruits such as watermelon and tomatoes contain lycopene- an organic pigment, powerful anti-oxidant and protective carotenoid compound which can prevent some cancers by protecting cells from damage. Additionally, bluish black fruits such as blue and black berries contain anthocyanin- a pigment associated with improved memory, heart health and brain function. Diets rich in anthocyanin may possess anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-cancerous and  antimicrobial properties. It is therefore essential to enjoy a vast range of fruit types and colours due to the differences in their nutritional components, providing the body with diverse minerals, vitamins, antioxidants,  and fibre,  for an array of health benefits., 

Notable nutrients present in fruits include vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, Vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and folic acid.  The following are some of the many  benefits of Fruits:

  • Regulate blood pressure and blood sugar
  • Prevent overeating by keeping us full longer
  • Facilitate weight loss
  • Promote digestive health and vision
  • Reduce risk of stroke, some cancers and cardiac problems
  • Reduce the risk of diabetes
  • Protect the body from chronic diseases
  • Speed up wound healing

Research shows that nutrients absorbed from fruits are more beneficial than nutrients from supplements due to a higher potency of these nutrients in fruits. Given the extensive benefits of fruits, two servings are recommended daily for a healthy balanced diet. More importantly, it is necessary for these fruits to be of various types and colours to get all possible nutrients. The following serving methods and  tips are helpful to  incorporate fruits into daily diet:

  • Enjoy lots of fruit  salad
  • Buy fruits when they are in season for affordability
  • Explore canned and dried fruits options
  • Snack on raw fruits
  • Try new fruits and eat a variety of colours

Diets devoid of, or lacking sufficient amounts and varieties of fruits can cause deficiencies in essential vitamins and nutrients needed by the body. For instance, scurvy, bleeding disorders and night blindness are diseases associated with deficiency of vitamins and minerals. These can be prevented by eating a fruit-rich balanced diet.

Vitamins are organic micronutrients required by the body to perform a range of functions. They need to be obtained from our diet because our bodies are not able to produce them. Vitamins are generally classified as either fat soluble or water soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. These vitamins have the unique characteristic of dissolving in organic solvents such as fat, and tend to be stored in the body in large quantities.

On the other hand, water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins, they can only  be absorbed by the body in a solution of water, hence they cannot be stored. All unused or unabsorbed water-soluble vitamins are excreted from the body through urine. 

All vitamins are required in certain amounts by the body. Nutrient reference values, also known as dietary reference intakes (DRI) are developed and recommended by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in the United States. These DRIs form the scientific and medical basis for good nutrition and food guidelines in both the U.S. and Canada. DRIs may differ based on age, gender, health status, and stage of life. For most people, DRI for all vitamins can be obtained by eating a healthy, balanced diet. However, some others may require higher amounts of some vitamins due to their lifestyle or health conditions. These extra amounts of vitamins can be sourced from vitamin supplements in consultation with a health professional. 

Benefits and sources of Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins

Vitamin A: Vitamin A is essential for proper visual functions and for maintaining normal mucous membranes. It is naturally occurring in animal food including liver, milk, and eggs. Also, some processed foods such as margarines, and certain breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin A.
Vitamin D: When converted to the active form in the liver, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the intestines. Additionally, it positively influences bone mineralization and maintains blood concentrations of calcium and phosphate. Two forms of vitamin D are important in body functions, Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) which is made by the ultraviolet (UV) irradiation of ergosterol, and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) which is formed when sunlight acts on the skin. 

Vitamin E: Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that protects polyunsaturated fatty acids from rupturing in cell membranes. The highest source of vitamin E is vegetable oils, others include nuts, whole grains, and wheat germ. Animal foods are not rich sources of Vitamin E.

Vitamin K: Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting factors in the liver. Like vitamin D, there are two derived forms, Vitamin K1, (phylloquinone) which is synthesized by plants, and vitamin K2 (menaquinones) which is synthesized by microflora of the gut. Dietary sources of vitamin K include dark-green leafy vegetables, cereals, meats, and fruits.

Water-soluble vitamins

Vitamin C: Also known as Ascorbic acid, vitamin C protects the body cells, maintains a healthy skin, and facilitates wound healing. Lack of, or below DRI levels of vitamin C causes scurvy while excess amounts (over 1,000mg per day) may cause stomach-ache, diarrhoea, and gassiness. Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables including oranges, peppers, and broccoli.

Vitamin B:

There are eight (8) types of vitamin B and they are thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin (vitamin B7), folate and folic acid, and vitamin B12.

Thiamin (vitamin B1): Thiamin helps in the breakdown and release energy from food as well as in keeping the nervous system healthy. Sources are peas, liver, nuts, and bananas.

Riboflavin (vitamin B2): Riboflavin performs the same functions as thiamine by releasing energy from food and keeping the skin, eyes, and nervous system healthy. Sources are milk, eggs, mushrooms, and yoghurt.

Niacin (vitamin B3): Niacin maintains skin health, participates in energy release from food and preserves  the nervous system. Sources include meat, fish, and wheat flour.

Pantothenic acid: Pantothenic acid has several functions, such as helping the body to release energy from food. Sources of pantothenic acid are chicken, and eggs.

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6): Pyridoxine facilitates the use and storage of energy from protein and carbohydrates in food. Sources are pork, peanuts, chicken, oats, and soya beans.

Biotin (vitamin B7): Biotin is needed in very small amounts to help the body make fatty acids. It is found at low levels in a wide range of foods. Sources include milk and fortified cereals.

Folate and folic acid: Folate helps the body make red blood cells and reduces the risk of neural tube defects in unborn babies. Folic acid is the synthesized form of folate and lack of folate causes anaemia. Sources include broccoli, leafy green veggies, Brussel sprouts and fortified cereals.

Vitamin B12: This vitamin plays a role in making red blood cells and keeping the nervous system stable. It also releases energy from food like many B vitamins. Lack of vitamin B12 may lead to vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia. Sources are meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs.

In addition to Carbohydrates and proteins, fats are a major source of energy, providing structure and cushion to cells and membranes. Fats are more energy dense than carbohydrates and proteins and contain 9 calories per gram, in contrast to 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates and proteins. Fats are fundamental part of a healthy, balanced diet and are the body’s only source of essential fatty acids, since these can not be made by the body. Similar to carbohydrates and proteins, unused fat is converted into body fat and stored as residual energy sources.

The following are the functions of Fats in the body:

  • Prevent damage to the organs by providing cushion.
  • Absorb nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • Maintain normal levels of cholesterol and blood pressure. 
  • Store and provide energy. 
  • Support cell growth.

According to the American Heart Association, there are four major dietary fats in food including:

  • Saturated fats
  • Trans fats
  • Monounsaturated fats
  • Polyunsaturated fats)

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are types of unsaturated fats.The different types of fat have varying chemical composition and structures, and consequently, vary in their physical properties. Based on these, saturated fats and trans fats are considered ‘bad’ and appear solid in room temperature while unsaturated fats- monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated are considered ‘good’ fats remain liquid in room temperature. Fats play an essential role in determining the cholesterol level of the body. Good and bad fats have various effects on the body’s cholesterol level. For instance, diets high in good fats increases the body’s good cholesterol level, also called high-density lipoprotein (HDL). In the same vein, diets high in bad fats increases the body’s bad cholesterol known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

Sources of good fat include tofu, flaxseed, avocados, olives, soy, sesame seed, nuts, dairy, fatty fish, canola, and coconut. On the contrary, baked foods, pizza dough, chips, vegetable shortening, fried foods, margarine, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil are sources of bad fat, particularly trans-fat. Although both bad fats, Trans fats are worse than saturated fats and are not recommended for a healthy diet. However, red meat, chicken skin, ice cream, cheese, cream, butter are sources of saturated fats which are only recommended in small quantities, even though they are considered  bad fats and increase bad cholesterol.

As advised by the World health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Health Services, it is important to consume more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated (good) fats than saturated and trans (bad) fats. Bad fats, particularly Trans fats have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). In contrast, Unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) reduce the risk of heart attacks by decreasing the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) cholesterol and increasing the good cholesterol level (HDL).

Food is anything consumed by living organisms in order to stay alive. Foods offer nutrients, energy and growth, they can be of plant, animal, or fungal origin. All living organisms, including plants and animals, need food to survive. While plants produce and store their own food, animals depend on this stored food. Also, higher animals depend on lower animals for food. Components of food include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. These components determine the appearance, texture, taste and benefits of the food. To effectively provide the desired benefits, food  is ingested, digested and then absorbed by the cells of an organism.

In general, foods consumed by humans are grouped in various ways depending on several factors. These factors may include the building blocks of the food, processing methods or relative benefits of the food. Fundamentally, the four basic food groups used by many systems describe their origin and relative nutritional function: Fruits and Vegetables, Cereals and Bread, Dairy, and Meat. The World Health Organization uses a broader, more specific system with nineteen food types:

  • cereals, beverages, milk
  • roots, pulses, nuts
  • fish and shellfish
  • meat, insects
  • vegetables, fruits
  • fats and oils
  • sweets and sugars
  • spices and condiments
  • food additives

Based on the nutritional components, there are six main classes of food as mentioned earlier which are: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are macronutrients because they provide calories and are energy giving while vitamins, minerals, and water are micronutrients because they do not give energy. All nutrients including macro and micro nutrients are important for health,  and beneficial to the body. 

Carbohydrate is a major macro nutrient that provides energy. These carbohydrates consists of sugars or starches that are broken down by the body and stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. Carbohydrates are stored to ensure the body has enough energy for activities, especially during fasting.When needed, the stored carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which is used by the body cells for energy. Common sources of carbohydrates are fruits, grains, rice, beans, and numerous vegetables. Some carbohydrate-rich vegetables are potatoes, yams, and corn.

Proteins are the building blocks with which the body builds cells and other tissues. When ingested,  proteins are broken down into amino acids, which are basic components of growth, development, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. Proteins provide structure to muscle and bones and helps to repair damaged tissues. The skin contains a protein called keratin which helps to repair and heal damaged skin layers.  Major sources of protein include beef, pork, chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and dairy products. Proteins come from both plant and animal sources, however ,research shows that  animal proteins are better absorbed by the body  when compared to plant proteins.

It was a beautiful Sunday noon to have some fried rice and a glass of apple-grape juice. So I thought, until the juice glass broke in my hands leaving a deep ugly tear on my left pinky finger! What an inconvenience, I just wanted to eat and my day was already planned.

Too bad… an emergency that would reroute my entire day had just begun.

Thank God my sister was home. I screamed and sent my little one running up the stairs to get her aunt. I stood still, isolated by glass and a pool of blood as I watched my poor finger…  wondering how much damage was done and if she’d ever make it alive. My sister came running, screaming at the gory sight and ready to dial 911. She immediately  grabbed a bandage from her first aid kit and gave me to wrap the wound and stop the bleeding. While she dialled 911, I ran my finger over the kitchen tap and wrapped the bandage around the wound.

“Hello, how can I help you?” asked the emergency respondent. “I have a deep cut and I need help!” I blurted. After a few more questions bordering on  violence, our call was redirected to EMT and we were  asked for our address so an ambulance would be dispatched.

I’m not sure what discouraged me. It could be  the sudden realization of the cost of an ambulance, or the fact that being quite conscious, I could definitely afford to get to the ER myself, at least, leaving the limited EMT for life threatening emergencies. At once, I declined the offer, and my sister booked an uber instead, headed to the nearest emergency room. I grabbed my health-card, IDs and wallet while my sister prepared to clean the glass-juice-blood mess and take care of my little one. Off I went (around 1pm), and in about 26 minutes, I was in one of Canada’s Emergency Room.

It didn’t matter if you came by EMT or uber, you were greeted by a most likely nonchalant lady (in my case) and then asked a redundant question:” Are you here to see a Doctor?” “Well, I don’t know. I’m here to see whoever the hell will suture my wound” I thought. I certainly didn’t think I needed a doctor but I guess that is the only profession that can suture a wound in Canada. A pinky finger wound. And clearly, it didn’t matter if you had to wait 5 hours for one. So, I said yes and was pointed to the line up of “emergency” patients waiting to be registered to see a doctor.

When you hear emergency room, what comes to mind? 

If you’ve ever watched a series on medical  movies such as Greys Anatomy or New Amsterdam, you’d  think an ER as a busy, fast paced environment where injured and sick people who need urgent care are treated and given immediate attention. Have you ever been to a real life ER? Quite the opposite… more like a dull room filled with long line ups,  check-in desk, long wait times and even longer wait times!

Maybe a deep cut on the finger that gushed blood wasn’t “emergency” enough. Maybe reporting I felt numb when asked to rate my pain level on a scale of 1 to 10 was the problem. Maybe it didn’t matter the kind of ailment one had, the same fate awaited us all. I was not alone.  After hours of waiting, I was moved to yet another wait room and then finally, to the suture room at 6pm  where the good  doctor showed up after a while. At this time, the wound which was just fresh and numb when I arrived had become painful and swollen. I could never understand why the problem of long wait times have lingered in the Canadian health care system and to be fair, many  publicly funded healthcare systems. Hundreds of research and millions of dollars later, it doesn’t seem like there’s been much of a headway- at least, in this case.

A potential solution to this persistent problem of long wait times may be increasing the training and clinical privileges of non-doctor health professionals to reduce the burden on Doctors. Research documents a similar method termed task-shifting which was adopted during the covid-19 pandemic to maximize human resources in healthcare.

Sleep is a state of rest in which the eyes are closed, muscles relaxed and mind is unconscious. Sleep disorders are conditions that interfere with or change normal sleep patterns. Disorders affect the timing, quality, and quantity of sleep in such ways that cause distress during the day as well as impair one’s ability to perform to their maximum capacity. These disorders limit the amount of sleep one gets and therefore affect the overall health and quality of life. When the body is deprived of sufficient amount of sleep, the risk of other health problems increase. Some markers or factors associated with sleep disorders include excessive body movement or speech while sleeping, sleeping at odd times or in odd places,  difficulty sleeping, constant sleepiness during the day, abnormal breathing while asleep, and irregular sleep cycle.

Fundamentally, sleep is critical to physical and psychological health in humans. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), adults need about eight hours of sleep nightly. Since the body works on a 24-hour cycle (circadian rhythm), it helps us know when to sleep. An average person sleeps for one third of the day which adds up to one third of a lifetime. Clearly, sleep is an important part of living and is required to continue living. In general, the body sleeps in two different ways which are expressed in different cycles:

  • Rapid Eye Movement (REM): As the name suggests, the eyes move around rapidly in a range of directions in this stage of sleep, but no visual signals or notifications are sent to the brain. This phase of sleep usually begins 90 mins after one falls asleep and is also where dreams happen. The first cycle of REM typically lasts 10 minutes, and becomes longer in subsequent cycles, with the final one lasting up to an hour. REM is a very important sleep phase because it stimulates protein production as well as the areas of the brain that enhance learning. Unlike adults, infants spend up to half of their sleep period in the REM stage.
  • Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM): This stage of sleep happens in three phases, and each of these lasts for about 10 minutes. These three stages of NREM happen before the REM. In the first stage which lasts 10 minutes or less, the eyes are closed, but it’s easy to wake up. In the second stage of NREM, sleep is light as the body prepares for deep sleep by reducing both the heart rate and body temperature. In the third and final stage of NREM, the body is in deep sleep and will be difficult to wake. Disruption of sleep at this age would result in disorientation for a few minutes and may require some time to regain consciousness. Tissue growth, bone and muscle building, immune strengthening and repair all occur during the deep stage of NREM sleep.

Most people do not get the required amount of sleep, reporting their sleep quality as poor. About 30% adults sleep less than six hours each night and research shows that over 50 million Americans experience sleep disorders. Sleep helps the brain function properly, so, insufficient sleep or poor-quality sleep causes fatigue, moodiness, poor decision making, low energy, depression, anxiety, irritability, heart diseases, diabetes, and lack of focus. These disorders may also be warning signs for medical or neurological problems, such as congestive heart failure, osteoarthritis, and Parkinson’s disease. Sleep disorders treatable and preventable following accurate and timely diagnosis. They are  classified either by their causes or symptoms, and include:

  • Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night.
  • Sleep apnea: Abnormal patterns in breathing while sleeping
  • Narcolepsy: Sudden or excessive sleepiness during the day 

Eating Disorder



Eating disorders are recurring food-related behaviors and conditions that adversely affect wellbeing, emotions, and energy levels throughout the day. Eating disorders are quite common and may not appear to be serious conditions, but they are dangerous. Additionally, these disorders can affect overall health and ability to function properly or carry out daily activities. More so, the relationship with food as well as a person’s attitudes and behaviors towards food can significantly impact the body’s nutrition. Food nourishes the entire body and eating disorders can cause diseases that affect all the body organs including the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, and the brain. The most common causes of eating disorders include exaggerated focus on weight loss, body shape and fear of weight gain. Most eating disorders begin at ages when good looks and weight loss is often prioritized such as teen and young adult years, however, they can also begin at other ages.

Although the exact cause is not always known, there are several sources and risk factors associated with eating disorders and they include genetic makeup, biological composition, psychological and emotional health, family history, age, preexisting mental health conditions, dieting and stress. Described below are the most common eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder

Anorexia nervosa: Anorexia, simply put, is an eating disorder characterized by factors such as extreme fear of weight gain, low body weight and unrealistic perception of body size. People experiencing anorexia try to control their weight by using adverse means and methods including calorie restriction, excess exercise, induced vomiting, laxatives, and diet aids. These means and methods can cause starvation, negatively affecting health and the ability to engage in or carry out routine activities.

Bulimia nervosa: Bulimia is a severe, potentially life-threatening eating disorder reflected by cycles of bingeing and purging. Individuals who have this condition enjoy the thrill of eating but not the consequences of overeating. For this reason, they induce purging to prevent food from being stored in their bodies as well as prevent or reduce associated weight gain. These individuals may also restrict their eating by following  very strict diets, then overcompensate by eating large amounts of food in a short period of time. Many people with bulimia also restrict their eating during the day, which often leads to more binge eating and purging. Like Anorexia, guilt from overeating and fear of weight gain leads to using adverse methods such as purging and laxatives, to get rid of the calories.

Binge-eating disorder: Binge-eating disorders are characterized by frequent overeating and a feeling of lacking control. People who have this condition may eat quickly, ear more food than planned, and may continue eating even when no longer hungry. This habit is followed by feelings of guilt, disgust, shame, and embarrassment, and may lead to hiding while eating.

Rumination disorder: Rumination disorder involves the constant regurgitation of food after eating. This disorder is not associated with mental health and may be natural and unintentional. In this disorder, food is clawed back into the mouth without vomiting. Sometimes, the clawed back food may be chewed again and swallowed or discarded. This disorder is predominant in infants and people who have an intellectual disability.

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder: In this disorder, food is not avoided for fear of gaining weight but due to specific sensory features, such as color, texture, smell, or taste. People with this disorder may lack interest in food and eventually fall below daily calorie requirement given their constant food avoiding or restricting behaviors. This eventually leads to significant weight loss and nutritional deficiencies that result in health problems.

Eating disorders are both preventable and treatable. These are some of the ways to prevent or overcome them:

  • Diet with caution and cultivate a positive body image
  • Be informed about eating disorders and their symptoms as well as factors that can contribute to them 
  • Live a healthy, balanced lifestyle because health and well-being are possible in any shape and size.
  • Do not engage in discussions and entertainment that reinforce body shaming or ideal body types
  • Develop a healthy self esteem
  • Visit a licensed health practitioner for advise

From time to time, we all get anxious. In fact, anxiety is a normal part of life because most people worry occasionally about life and things such as health, the future, money, problems, and life situations. However, there is a borderline to what constitutes “normal’.

Anxiety disorder is a medical condition characterized by symptoms of long-term intense and irrational worry, panic, and fear. In general, these disorders may result directly from physical health problems, and is reflected by persistent and excessive anxiety about ordinary things and routine activities. These symptoms frequently impair one’s quality of life by interfering with daily activities such as work, school, and life. In these situations, the feelings of anxiety do not just vanish or go away but instead, they increase and continue to get worse with time. Consequently, patients who suffer anxiety disorders require professional help and medical treatment to recover. Research shows that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the risk of developing an anxiety disorder. Although risk factors for each type of anxiety disorder may vary, general risk factors are shyness, trauma, and genetic predisposition. In addition, some illnesses such as thyroid or heart conditions, as well as substances such as caffeine may aggravate anxiety disorders.

There are various types of anxiety disorders depending on the symptoms, and they include:

  1. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): This involves a constant feeling of fear beyond what is considered normal for months or years, hindering daily life. Symptoms may include restlessness, fatigue, lack of concentration, irritability, body aches and insomnia.
  2. Panic disorder: People experiencing panic disorder suffer recurrent and sudden panic attacks. These are periods of intense fear, irritation, or feelings of loss of control, especially without any cause or impending danger. Some people experience occasional panic attacks and are not considered to have a panic disorder. This disorder is characterized by profuse sweating, increased heartbeat, chest pain, quivering and lack of control.
  3. Phobia-related disorders: Phobia is an extreme fear of, or aversion to specific things or places. It is characterized by disproportionate amount of fear compared to the actual danger caused by the situation or object. Symptoms include irrational or excessive fear about facing an object or situation, taking active steps to avoid the feared object or situation and experiencing immediate and extreme anxiety on facing the feared object or situation. Types of phobias include specific phobia such as phobia for heights, social phobia, agoraphobia, and separation anxiety disorders. 

Treatment options for anxiety disorders are Psychotherapy and Medication

  1. Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy may help people with anxiety disorders if directed at their specific anxieties by a professional therapist. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an example of psychotherapy that helps people feel less anxious by teaching them different ways of thinking, acting, and responding to situations. Another example of Psychotherapy is Exposure therapy which focuses on confrontation and facing one’s fears. Finally, Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a Psychotherapy that uses methods like mindfulness and goal setting to reduce discomfort and anxiety. Stress management methods such as exercise, and meditation may reduce anxiety symptoms and improve the results of psychotherapy.
  2. Medication: Medication does not cure anxiety disorders but can help relieve symptoms. Health care providers, such as a psychiatrist or primary care providers, can prescribe medication for anxiety. Some of these medications include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and beta-blockers. Some medications may work better for specific types of anxiety disorders, so it is necessary to work closely with a health care provider to identify the best option as self-medication is deadly. More so, substances such as caffeine, some drugs, and herbal supplements may interact with prescribed medication.
  3. Support and Self-help groups: Problem sharing, accountability and learning from others can help people to cope with anxiety disorders. These groups are often confidential and convenient- available in person and online. It is important to remain cautious with suggestions from these groups and they should not replace treatment recommendations from health care providers.