Sickle cell and new year tenacity

Hello everyone, this is my first personal post this year. I thought about what I would like to write regarding sickle cell. Then the idea came to just give some general advice on how to manage sickle cell better for those of us who live with the disease and for those who are carers of someone living with sickle cell.

The first thing I would mention is of course the issue of making sure that one is hydrated enough so that the blood cells do not clot. By this, I mean drinking plenty of water. Many adults tell me that the taste of water is so bland, and they do not like to drink water. My reply is mixing your water with something else. Mix it with a bit of squash or fruits cut into small pieces such as lemon, ginger or lime, orange or tangerine, etc. All this will change the taste of the water slightly. You can also add a bit of honey or sugarcane to your water so that again you get a different taste. Water is particularly good for anyone who lives with sickle cell because there are a lot of benefits to it. The main ones are that it boosts one’s energy, helps with kidney function, aids digestive effectiveness, benefits one’s joint health, and essentially relieves blood cells from sticking together.

The next piece of advice that I would give is on eating leafy green vegetables. If you want to be healthier in 2023, then what you eat will matter. You need to eat as many types of leafy green vegetables as possible. I am not going to name anyone in particular. But if they are leafy and green, do eat them. These vegetables are usually packed with vitamins minerals and fibre. They equally help boost one’s immune system.

My subsequent recommendation is on eating beans called pulses or legumes. These are beans, lentils, and peas. There are different kinds of beans across the world. I went to a restaurant some time ago and ordered this beans dish. The dish consisted of a variety of beans together with different sausages. It was really nice and tasty. I actually didn’t know that one could cook different beans in such a way and since then I have incorporated the meal into my weekly eating timetable. My thinking is I get to have the benefits of different kinds of beans on one plate.

Another suggestion is soaking in the sun. I’m sure that many people do not know that there are several benefits to being under the sun. One of the benefits of being under the sun is that it improves one’s sleep. Being under the sun, a hormone called melatonin is created which helps with one’s sleep. Another hormone that is released with sunlight is serotonin and this is a happiness hormone. Tell me anyone living with sickle cell that wouldn’t want to be happy. The sun also helps maintain strong bones, reduces stress, helps fight depression, helps strengthen the immune system, and it equally gives one a longer life. I know that those people who read my column and live in an African country take the sun for granted and you don’t know that actually being in the sun has its benefits especially if you are living with sickle cell.

This article is about what we can do to improve our health in 2023. I am mentioning little things that we can incorporate into our eating habits that will fight infection and also improve our immune system. Let’s continue reading and learning some more.

My next proposition is to eat protein such as eggs, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, and duck. Eggs for example are packed with several nutrients and vitamins. Eggs also contain antioxidants that are good for eye health. Eggs can also lower the odds of one having a stroke.

The benefits of eating beef are numerous. For example, beef helps with one’s muscle mass. Beef is equally rich in minerals that we need in our bodies.

I am talking about calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc, and others. Eating beef also helps prevent iron deficiency anaemia. Beef equally has its fair share of vitamins, examples are B12, B3, B6, B2, and B5. In the case of eating lamb, it equally has the same benefit as eating beef. The same goes for pork. As regards eating chicken, it helps with building muscle, gives one stronger bones, aids with brain activity and boosts one’s immunity. The benefit of eating duck meat is that it is an excellent source of iron. It actually produces 50 per cent of the iron we need daily. Iron, as we know, helps make healthy blood and this in turn gives us energy and enables growth. Duck eggs are equally an excellent source of B vitamins such as B12. Eating Turkey meat assists one’s eyesight. It also enhances one’s immune system and is rich in nutrients and vitamins such as vitamin B12.

I’ will conclude this article next week as we try to help ourselves more this year. Another new year resolution that you might want to incorporate is don’t keep quiet if you are going through hard times because of sickle cell and its vast complications. There’s help out there. There are many NGOs helping to solicit money for individuals who need to go for surgery and there are local sickle cell groups who give out Folic Acid and vitamin C.


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