Nutritionist advocates utilisation of bio-resources
Professor of Biochemical Nutrition and Toxicology, Dr Ifeoma Irene Ijeh, has expressed concern that Nigeria’s bio-diversity/resources, which include abundant green and leafy vegetables, have not been fully utilised.
Professor Ijeh of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU), Abia State, stated this while delivering her inaugural lecture in the university, entitled ‘The Food And Medicine Wedlock: A Biochemist’s search for suitable indigenous brides.’
She said the endowments provide enormous opportunities for research into novel foods and feeding stuffs for domestic and farm animals, raw materials for industries, chemicals, bio-reagents for health industry, agriculture and development of nutraceuticals.
She added that research findings by several scientists within and outside Africa showed the dual role of the vegetables as food and medicine, saying that many people had been caught in the web of abandoning local foods/menu for the foreign ones.Many of these foods are cooked in fast foods using highly refined flours, sugary products and trans-fats that predispose the consumers to many chronic non-communicable diseases.
She, therefore, urged fast food operators to offer more healthy indigenous menus to the public and tasked appropriate regulatory agencies to enforce their compliance.“Many components of our indigenous foods are rich in bioactive agents that have the potential to prevent, delay the onset or reverse the course of many chronic non-communicable diseases, especially obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer”.
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