Mental Magnitude


It has been physiologically established that the average daily water balance for an adult is approximately as follows:


Drunk as such    =  2(1/2) pints

Contained in food   =  1(1/3) pints

From oxidation of food  = 1/2 pints

Total   =             4(1/3) pints


Lost  in urine   =   2(1/2) pints

From skin surface   =   1 pint

From lungs  =  2/3 pints

In faeces    =   1/6 pints

Total  =   4(1/3) pints


Assuming that we neither overfeed nor underfeed, and granting that our diet is balanced and of the right quality, the quantity of actual water or liquid which we need take a day is 2(1/2) pints. It is the duty of the educators and teachers to break this down into so many glasses and calabashes of water, mineral water, beer, or palm wine.

Just as the air we breathe and the water we drink must be of the requisite quality and quantity, so must be the food we eat. Most people fill their stomachs without regard to the quality of the food they eat; whilst many believe that it is a mark of affluence to overfill their stomachs. For healthy and happy living, the food we eat each day must have the following chemical constituents:

(I) Carbohydrate: this is mainly energy-giving, and is obtain able from sugar, starchy foods, cellulose, etc.

(2) Protein: this is mainly a body-builder, and it is supplied by lean meat, beans, cheese, etc.

(3) Fat: this is heat-giving, and can be derived from fat meat, edible oils, butter, etc.

These constituents must be taken in the right quantity and proportions. Otherwise, there will be deficiency or excess, as well as imbalance in their supplies to the body, with injurious effects.

By the processes of mastication, digestion, respiration, and circulation, part of the food we eat is carried in the form of blood through the tissues to all the parts of the body. What is not wanted is eliminated in the forms of sweat, urine, and faeces. A deficiency or imbalance in the supply of food, therefore, means a lowering of the health and strength of the body as a whole. An excess of supply will overtax the various organs which are responsible for distributing to the body su h part of the food as is requisite for man’s balanced growth and development. The result is obviously ill-health.

Apart from carbohydrate, protein, and fat, there are two other constituents of food which are indispensable to the normal and healthy growth of the body, and the constant maintenance of its health. These are VITAMINS and MINERALS. Many diseases such as eye-trouble, bad teeth, rickets, sterility, constipation, and vanous nervous disorders are caused by the absence or deficiency of vitamins and minerals. The vitamin are classed as A, B, C, D and E – more are still being discovered like phosphorus, cobalt, copper, zinc, etc.

Vitamins and minerals are present in practically all the foods we eat, but not always in the quantities requisite for the health of the body. Certain foodstuffs, while they provide carbohydrate, protein, hard fat, are also rich in vitamins. Such foodstuffs include eggs, fresh fruits, fresh and uncooked vegetables, unpolished rice, boiled (not roasted) maize, palm oil (not fried), etc. Fruits, because they possess indigestible stuffs which exceedingly facilitate and promote bowel movement, are essential to health and must be taken regularly. Ignorance concerning the value of fruits is so deep that the eating of them is regarded in educated circles as a demonstration of weaIth or fashionable consumption, while the average farmer would rather sell all the fruits produced by him, than eat any of them. He should be told – indeed all of us should be told – that the more fruit we eat, the greater our chances of good health.

Without air, man can live for a few minutes only. Without water, for a few hours; without food, for a few days; and without shelter for a few months or even years. But he can live to a good old age without clothing, provided he has some sort of shelter underneath which he can protect himself against the rigours of the everchanging seasons. It is commonplace, however, that a life without shelter or clothing is a most primitive and wretched life indeed.

For healthy and happy living, therefore, man needs a shelter which is decent and well-ventilated, and clothing which is clean and adequate. In some parts of the country there are rules – mostly enforced in the breach – which govern the building of new houses to ensure conformity with health requirements. But in most parts or the country, people are left free to build according to their ignorant fancies, and largely after the pattern of their primitive ancestors. No one has made or will ever make the attempt to regulate by legislation the quantity, quality, and style of clothes which a person must wear at any given time. The masses of the people do not know – and only very few educated persons do know – that our health and survival depend on every one of the innumerable pores in our body being able to breathe as freely as we breathe through our nose. It has been demonstrated, for instance, that a man can be completely suffocated, if all the pores of his body are totally closed and are unable to breathe for a sufficiently long time.

In the tropics, therefore, the lighter and the less tight the clothing, and the more ventilated the house, the better.

Even when all the requirements of air, water, food, shelter, and clothing, as we have adumbrated them, have been satisfied, there still remain four other vital requirements which must be satisfied before man can live a full, healthy and happy life. They are:

(I) the eradication of negative emotions and the cultivation at the same time of positive emotions;

(2) the sublimation of instinctive urges;

(3) the understanding of and adaptation to environmental circumstances and conditions, and where necessary a complete reorganization and redirection of such circumstances and conditions; and

(4) exercise.



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