In what many would dub the first of its kind, youths in Nigeria have upturned the barriers of socio-economic class to fight police brutality in the country under the scorching heat and drizzling rain.
Indigenous celebrities, foreign entertainers, and the international community have also started showing solidarity to the protest, even after the causative special anti-robbery squad (SARS) had been dissolved to assuage citizens.
As with the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, the crowd has continued to grow increasingly resilient by the day, even as police operatives used live bullets, tear gas, and water cannons to disperse irate activists in Abuja.
Yet, it’s only commonplace to see people pass out from exhaustion during such movement due to nutritional gaps. To that effect, here’s a listicle spanning essential foods to consume before embarking on protest actions of this sort.
Spinach, chicken, chickpeas, and oranges
Spinach is known for its remarkable abilities to increase vitality and improve blood quality. Its iron content plays a role in the function of red blood cells which transport oxygen and aids both energy production and DNA synthesis.
Orange contains Vitamin C while chicken and chickpeas will help you work more efficiently too as they contain protein that prompts the brain to produce norepinephrine and dopamine, two chemical messengers for alertness.
Light energy-giving foods generally
Speaking to TheCable Lifestyle, Gbenga Sodiq, a nutritionist at the University of Ibadan (UI), noted that emphasis must be on foods that would deliver rapid bouts of energy without inconveniencing the body and digestive tracts.
“There’s no food set aside especially for protests per se. But there are basic nutritional principles that could be followed, albeit, with proper guidance, because you don’t want to take anything too heavy,” he explained.
“Eating foods that are heavy takes a longer time to digest before serving your body the needed energy while doing so. That way, you won’t have the energy to protest. Light energy-giving foods like bread, rice, and cereals are great.
“Foods that are considered heavy and take time to digest are fufu, beans, and eba. The implication is that the body will use up its energy reserves to digest the food because the process is slow. You don’t get the returns on time.
“This explains why most people feel tired after eating them. Aside from regular breakfast foods, fruits are also ideal for a rapid supply of glucose. In preparing for protest, emphasis should be on energy and convenience.”
Water, waTer, and wateR
No one needs to run a degree in human nutrition to know they shouldn’t embark on protest actions without enough water in their backpacks to quench the thirst from all that screaming, chanting, trekking, and running.
Your body is composed of about 60 percent water, the drinking of which helps maintain the balance of body fluids. Some functions of these fluids include digestion, nutrient circulation, and maintenance of the body temperature.
Drinking enough is critical when engaging in activities demanding strength and resilience. Water helps energize the muscles. And cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, thereby resulting in fatigue.
Oyinloye Ibukunoluwa, a dietitian, hedged that foods like beans only prove difficult to digest for people who already have a history of that. She also suggested that protesters carry a glucose-D solution in a water bottle for safety.
“Foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates are good so energy is dissipated slowly and they don’t get hungry quickly. When I say complex carbohydrates, I’m talking about yam, rice, beans, bread,” the nutritionist added.
“It doesn’t make sense to take cornflakes and kellogs. Just eat well. You need a water bottle ’cause you need to stay hydrated. Depending on your preferences, you can put lime into the water to make it easier to take.
“Difficulty in digesting beans only applies to people who have a history of that. It doesn’t really apply to everyone. One can take Amala, gbegiri, or ewedu. Amala digests really fast. Foods like noodles and spaghetti are not the best.”
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