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Adefolake Adekola: You Are Only As Wealthy As The Status Of Your Health

If I were to ask when last we visited a doctor for our general checkup, only a few people will have their hands up. As an Environmentalist, I am always writing on saving the environment and taking precautions, but it is only healthy people that can look after their environment.

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With the rapid spread of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus), everyone is at alert not to contact it and this has led people to take precautionary measures for their health. But it also got me thinking: is it only when there is a health scare that we look after our bodies?

We often pride ourselves in having a good car and taking it to the repair shop the moment we hear a funny noise or when the car feels different, but people go years without visiting a doctor. If I were to ask when last we visited a doctor for our general checkup, only a few people will have their hands up. As an Environmentalist, I am always writing on saving the environment and taking precautions, but it is only healthy people that can look after their environment.

While watching a TV program, a lady talked about how she goes for her yearly medical checkup and before the next one, she had developed cervical cancer – which shows no symptoms until it is late. Thankfully, it was caught in time and treated.

Our bodies are a vehicle and just the way we take care of our cars in order to keep them functioning on the road, we have to also keep our bodies running well and take them for servicing like we do our cars. The way we check the water in our radiators and gauge the tyres is the same way we ought to visit the General Practitioner (GP) or gynecologist or andrologist (andrologist is a medical doctor that specializes in andrology [for men]). Gone are the days when only the elderly are susceptible to cervical or prostate cancer or other gender-related diseases. Now, even young people suffer from such.

I am an advocate for taking care of our environment but, most importantly, for looking after our bodies. As environmentalists, we cannot claim to be after the betterment of the earth and not encourage people to make the best decisions when it comes to their bodies. It is a temple, after all. ?

Ways We Can Look After Our Bodies

Cut down on sugar

There are so many illnesses that can occur as a result of high sugar intake. Everyone focuses on diabetes and obesity but not too many people mention cardiovascular diseases that could emanate from excess sugar intake. Insomnia, aging, weight gain, acne, cancer, poor dental health, and even depression are just a few other diseases linked to excessive sugar intake.

Drink water

Drinking water does not only hydrate the body, it lubricates joints, cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues, aids digestion, maintains blood pressure, prevents kidney failure and increases weight loss.

Eat fruits and vegetables

The importance of fruits and vegetables in our daily meals cannot be overemphasized. Some people argue that they take supplements, but there is no supplement as fresh and organic as the one straight from a farm.

Adequate bowel movement

I know this might sound funny to someone but trust me, it is very important to ‘visit’ the toilet regularly. The form and frequency of your bowel movements may play an important role in the health of your colon.

Right BMI

Not until my last encounter with my doctor, I never thought being a UK size 12 could be referred to as ‘obese’, based on my BMI. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “BMI, formerly called the Quetelet index, is a measure for indicating nutritional status in adults. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms, divided by the square of the person’s height in meters (kg/m2). For example, an adult who weighs 70 kg and whose height is 1.75 m will have a BMI of 22.9.”

Sleep well

Motivational speakers will say, “Sleep for four hours to be successful, that’s how long Dangote sleeps for”. Bill Gates, after reading a book by Matthew Walker (why we sleep), realized that not sleeping for up to 8 hours daily might have worked against him and regular sleep would have increased his brain function, creativity, and mental health. Bill said, “I realize that my all-nighters, combined with almost never getting eight hours of sleep, took a big toll.” Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world also said he “makes a point of getting eight hours a night a top priority”.  It “makes a big difference for me, and I try hard to make that a priority.” he said.

Chew Gum

This sounds absurd, but it is very true. A study by James Levine et al. in the year 2000, shows that chewing of gum has been reported to increase sympathetic nervous system activity, heart rate, and energy expenditure.


Taking walks, exercising, eating nuts, reduction of alcohol intake, regular medical checkups, reduced processed foods, usage of herbs and spices to cook, not overcooking meals (the nutrients and flavor will go and makes it harder to digest or even leads to cancer) and quitting smoking – there are so many ways we can look after our health, not just physically, but also other aspects like mentally, emotionally, spiritually and even financially. Yes, there is such a thing as financial health. Being in a healthy and stable relationship is a way to look after your emotional and mental health. Making better financial choices is good for your financial health.

Extra Tip: Instead of going on a diet, try adopting a healthier lifestyle, like portion control. Focus on nourishing your body instead of depriving it.

Adefolake Ayotunde-Salami is a Social Safeguard Consultant on World Bank Assisted Projects. She has a B.Sc, M.Sc and hold numerous certifications. She is also an Independent Consultant for top companies in Nigeria and has work experience in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. She is the author of a book on Amazon and Smashwords titled “Functioning In The Knowledge Of Who You Are” and a website ( where she writes articles based on extensive research. She is a Columnist for Bellanaija, Nigeria's biggest blog.  

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