May 28, 2017

Dont let food send you to an early grave?- Emeka Nwolisa

Dont let food send you to an early grave?- Emeka Nwolisa

Today the gist is about food . Unlike water wey no get enemy according to Abami Eda, food can be your enemy.  

When last did your children eat Eba or Akpu or Amala or Tuwo with any of the sumptuous and highly nutritious local soups? One day ago, one week , one month? Can’t remember?  Oh yeah, I dey feel you.

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Your children are obviously ajebutter or you are forming Ajebutter. Well done, carry on. You consider these meals obviously local. Akpu smells, Amala is too black and Tuwo is for talakawas abi?

Your children’s meals have become fried rice, noodles, meat pie and donuts. They now basically eat things made from refined materials. While forming oyibo, think and think again deeply. Your children do not even know the unique relationship between Akara and Akamu nor that between boiled yam and red palm oil. Come and chop knuckle…well done!

A popular quote says: we are what we eat and I dare add that the foundation of several diseases that occur later in life is dug by food eaten in childhood.

Over the ages, diverse meals have evolved amongst the different ethnic groups in the country. These meals have significantly influenced their long term health and health indices.

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The Igbos of South-eastern Nigeria have unique soups like ofe onugbu, ofe oha, ofe Owerre , ofe ugba. These soups contain unique and peculiar vegetables, red palm oil amongst other ingredients and are usually garnished with an assortment of animal protein sources.

Even in this recession the soups still manage to have obstacles that are highly nutritious.

The low level of measles-induced blindness documented within the South-east is traceable to the presence of red palm oil in most of their meals. Palm oil is a rich source of Vitamin A  which is critical for the health of the eyes.   Years back, scientific studies  also documented lower levels of cancer of the gastrointestinal system in peoples of the South -east and some areas of the South- south because of their high intake of fibers and vegetables in their regular meals.  These important health benefits are at risk because of the changing pattern of food now eaten.

The preference for fast food which, mostly, contains refined sugars will in later years increase the prevalence of non-communicable diseases(NC). NCs are diseases that are essentially caused by lifestyle choices including food. They are not caused by infectious agents and are not infectious or transferable from one individual to another. The common noncommunicable diseases expected to surge include heart related diseases like hypertension and cardiovascular accidents. Others include diabetes mellitus, cancers, and obesity. Obesity comes with its own myriad of both medical and life style issues that have to do with the individual’s psychological health.

Non-communicable diseases are usually life-long, cost intensive to manage and they often come with complications that are even more cost intensive to address. The consequences are increased demands on the already challenged health system and increased expenditure on curative and palliative rather than preventive health care.

It is common to hear people reminisce on the good old days and on how long their forebears lived in spite of rudimentary  orthodox medical services. Truth is that they ate right and did the right things.

Do not let food  send you to an early grave o!

 

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