Food is life no doubt.
But in getting food into our system, it is important that we understand a few basics.
What we eat every day might sometimes be injurious to our health if eaten in excess. Below are some of the common Nigerian foods that should raise red flags in our heads.
Cassava: Yes Cassava!
Cassava which is a common food in Nigeria. When prepared wet locally, it is called fufu. Don’t get me wrong, cassava is a very good source of energy and easy to grow even in very severe conditions. The problem is that, cassava, if not well processed, has its very negative effects on the consumer.
Cashew: Cashew is a very common fruit in the tropics and sub Saharan regions, Nigeria precisely. On the good side, Cashew is known to lower the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
On the flipside also, cashew is known to contain sodium; high intake of sodium contents (like cashew) can cause heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and high blood pressure.
Medically, an adult only requires 1,500 mg of sodium per day, while the tolerable upper limit for adults is 2,300 mg. A single ounce of cashews contains 5 mg of sodium, if they are unsalted. However, salted cashews can add 87g of sodium per ounce to the human body.
Additionally, also, some individuals are allergic to cashews. Cashew nuts are known to cause anaphylaxis or constricting of the airways in children allergic to cashew.
Magnesium from cashews may also interact with diabetic medications, thyroid medications, diuretics and penicillamine. Cashew nuts are also known to influence rapid weight gain.
Fried plantain: Don’t crucify me, I love plantains too. In fact, I call myself the Last Dodo Bender!
Dodo is sweet. But you know what is sweeter? Life!
And this life, must be lived in good health. As opposed to frying your plantains, it is best you have it boiled or roasted to avoid raising your cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack.
Stew: What is a Nigerian stew without oil? Bland yea?
Honestly, considering the Nigerian factors involved, I dare say the tastier the stew, the unhealthier it likely is for you. In addition to potentially contributing to cholesterol problems, oily stew can also promote stomach ulcers and heart burn. To have a good night’s sleep free of heartburn, my advice is to jaapa whenever you’re served stew at night.
Salt and Pepper: Yoruba people am I communicating?
When it comes to your health, there’s nothing cool about adding plenty pepper or salt to your food. Salt increases your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease while pepper can increase stomach ulcer and cancer risk.
What then is the way forward?
Permit me to remind you of the following general rules for a healthy diet.
· Variety is good
· The more color the better
· Moderation in all
· Eat fish instead of meat where possible
· Limit portion size – no use food kill yourself
· Include fiber daily to avoid child birthing gymnastics every time you go to the toilet.
Poor diets are linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney failure, ensure to eat balanced diet and tone down on snacks and junks.
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