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Food nutrition & oil consumption in Nigeria

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By Mercy Kelani

A healthy heart can only be achieved by consumption of safe oil.

Functionally efficient foods are foods that ensure the provision of health benefits beyond their nutritional value. The values include ingredients rich in vitamins and minerals. It is important to eat a balanced diet that contains all nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fat (oil), vitamins, and minerals. The food we consume must perform the functions of repairing, healing, or rebuilding. The diet must contain food that gives additional nutritional advantages. It is worthy to note that Nigerians cook most of their foods with oil. Therefore, the oil chosen to cook the food must have a positive impact on health.

Dr. Monisola Adanijo, The Co-Founder and Chief Medical Director of Naveen Healthcare & Naveen Technology Services in Lagos, is known for her great achievements in Medicine and cardiology in the Public Sector. With her two decades of medical experience, she has paved the way for the invention of Naveen Healthcare 10,000 Hearts Project which is designed to detect, protect, and correct cardiovascular diseases in individuals and also help efficiency and staff health. In an interview, she suggested more consumption of safe and edible oil which will aid healthy hearts over unhealthy and non-safe cooking oil in Nigeria.

Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids are good for the heart.

She stated that it is healthier to eat functionally efficient foods for they consist of essential nutrients for a healthy heart. Dr. Monisola affirmed that the best safe cooking oils are those that are rich in poly and monounsaturated fatty acids in comparison to unsaturated fatty acids which can result to Heart Disease. She added that one of the significances of cooking is not just about the flavour it adds to food, but the nutrient it supplies to the body such as Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids which aids in the fundamental function for the Heart Health.

Also, some cooking oils contain Vitamin A which is useful for the health of the eye and building a strong immunity and well-functional reproductive system. Some cooking oils are also rich in Vitamin D which develops healthy bones and skeletal system. Salt is also said to enrich the body with electrolytes and minerals like Iodine, apart from the flavour it adds to food, which is useful in production of thyroid hormones to improve the function of the heart and other organs.

Saturated fatty acids increases blood cholesterol.

Dr. Monisola said that foods with no benefits like sugar should be avoided; this is because healthy heart foods must be consumed moderately and excessive consumption of this food will result in negative impact. She highlighted the policy that was established consistently by government agencies to balance the consumption of functionally efficient staple foods by the people globally. The policy is set on scientific and evidence-based research on nutritional value of food products and its safety for the health of each member of the population, particularly within Nigeria.

In addition, she added that stakeholders, the regulators of The Co-Founder and Chief Medical Director of Naveen Healthcare & Naveen Technology Services and healthcare practitioners needs to develop and monitor the ingredient policy for the well-being of the population. Scientifically, Dr. Monisola divided the cooking oils into many types, but categorically stated two — vegetable oil and Palm Oil. She added that Oils contains fatty acids, also known as saturated fatty acids which increase blood cholesterol, atherosclerosis and plaque formation, precisely in the arteries, narrowing them to reduce blood flow to important organs, while unsaturated fatty acids reduce the risk of cholesterol levels such as inflammation. An example of this oil is Soya for it contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 and rich in Vitamins A, D, & E.

Bad oils cause long-term heart diseases and other diseases.

During her interview, it was stated that public enlightenment and Education aid in the promotion of good health practices among the people during the time of picking the best ingredients to use. She said that complaints on the price of unsaturated oils have created a class structure in the minds of the people, leading to purchase of the affordable saturated oils. Unfortunately, this decision will result to usage of the short-term affordable oils, buying the negative will lead to long-term heart diseases and another dangerous diseases. She added that the health practitioners and the regulators will need to ensure public enlightenment on Nutrition and the right choice to pick the right ingredients for their food through media, influencers, wellness sector and among others.


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