A university don and a Professor of Applied Biochemistry at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Ganiyu Oboh, has linked prevalent chronic and killer diseases to dietary pattern.
Oboh specifically identified consumption of some foods responsible for the high rate of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes in Nigeria.
Oboh who made this revelation while delivering the 85th inaugural lecture of the university, also noted that protein malnutrition as a major public health challenge in the developing nations.
According to him, various researches have indicated that at least four of the 10 leading causes of death–heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes– are directly . to what we eat.
Professor Oboh, who spoke on ‘Functional Foods: Paradigm for Health and Wellness’ said “nutrition is an important factor that affects human health and quality of life.”
He said the only way out is a change in dietary habit and advised people to eat functional food to stay healthy and live long.
He also advised that individuals who want to stay healthy should eat more vegetables and fruits and avoid junk foods, saying there are strong evidences of global increase in the consumption of heavily processed foods.
He noted that changes in lifestyle and cultural shifts away from fresh and wholesome homemade meals to take-outs has also contributed to the rise in these chronic and deadly diseases.
The Don said, “Today, there are different problems . to diet and lifestyles. There are many modern systemic diseases in which dietary pattern plays significant role in the incidence and pathogenesis of such diseases. Proper nutrition and healthy lifestyles may represent good prerequisites for the prevention and management of these diseases”.
Defining functional foods, he said they are foods or food components that confer additional health benefits to the consumer beyond their conventional nutritive values.
The don also said the science of functional food is a junction between two important concepts: food and health Oboh said though functional food research seem to be an emerging field, there are evidences to support that interests in how food can promote health and prevent diseases has been preserved over the centuries, especially in ancient Indian and Chinese traditional medicine.
He further said with prevalent global epidemics of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and other predominantly diet-. diseases there is an urgent need to explore innovative strategies for promoting healthy eating.
Oboh said his research group has investigated some common staples in Nigeria vis-à-vis their nutritive and medicinal potentials and discovered that tropical green leafy vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, pepper fruits, tomatoes and spices are potent antioxidants.
He however warned against blanching which reduces antioxidant properties of most vegetables.
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