Several research have linked the high rate of diseases and sickness on the nature of food individuals consume, hence the call from some organic experts on the need for Nigerians to eat bitter, and simply to stay healthy. JOHN OBA reports.
Several researches have shown that dietary habits influence disease risk. While some foods may trigger chronic health conditions, others offer strong medicinal and protective qualities.
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) considered the diet quality as a critical link between food security and nutrition and this was put on a spotlight in its report of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020. Also research reveals that eating healthy have both physical and mental health benefits and might be a long-term investment in future well-being. It has also been revealed that diets and restrained eating are often counterproductive and may even enhance the risk of long-term weight gain and eating disorders.
According to the report, a promising new perspective entails a shift from food as pure nourishment towards a more positive and well-being centred perspective of human eating behaviour. Hence the advocacy by some nutrition and organic experts called on Nigerians to shift their food choice to organic and bitter for healthy live.
The Nigeria Food Guide developed with the help of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said the guide is a food pyramid divided into five food groups. At the bottom are bread, grains and tubers, followed by vegetables and fruits. Both groups are to be eaten at every meal. Eggs, fish, meat and dairy are on the third level, and are to be eaten in moderation. Oils and fats should be eaten sparingly according to the pyramid, with confectionery limited to rare occasions. A glass of water is placed outside of the pyramid with the advice to always drink plenty of water.
Death in the pot
According to World Health Organisation (WHO’s) report, over 200 diseases are caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances such as heavy metals. This growing public health problem causes considerable socioeconomic impact though strains on health-care systems lost productivity, and harming tourism and trade. These diseases contribute significantly to the global burden of disease and mortality.
It says access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. And that an estimated 600 million, that is 1 in 10 people in the world, fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years. While $110 billion is lost each year in productivity and medical expenses resulting from unsafe food in low and middle-income countries. Diarrhoea diseases are the most common illnesses resulting from the consumption of contaminated food, causing 550 million people to fall ill and 230 000 deaths every year.
Food safety, nutrition and food security are inextricably linked. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, elderly and the sick.
Food supply chains now cross multiple national borders. Good collaboration between governments, producers and consumers helps ensure food safety.
Scientists defines nutritional disease as any of the nutrient-related diseases and conditions that cause illness in humans. They may include deficiencies or excesses in the diet, obesity and eating disorders, and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer, and diabetes mellitus. These also include developmental abnormalities that can be prevented by diet, hereditary metabolic disorders that respond to dietary treatment, the interaction of foods and nutrients with drugs, food allergies and intolerances, and potential hazards in the food supply.
But some experts have called attention to the need to prevent these nutritional diseases by eating some bitter saponins for healthy living, rejuvenating, healthy blood, strengthening human microbiome, as some sweety food kill good bacteria in human guts, and also lead to overgrowth of toxins and bad, harmful bacteria that causes sicknesses.
Speaking during a holiday lecture on an organic platform titled: ‘Journalists Go’, the Founder, Pristine (Pastures, Pastries, Nurtures, Cultures, Skills, Mills), Dr Rasheedah Sadiq, said: “bitter is perfect… It’s one of the seven primary tastes. And the idea of sticking to only ‘sweet’ things and maybe a few adding ‘sour’ and ‘astringent’ is a recipe for kasala. Every woman MUST make bitters purposefully for the family….For balance.”
Eat bitter, work dirty
She advised that a herb doesn’t have to be bitter before it works. “You can start with Pure Cocoa for hot chocolate drink. They’d consume it with honey, unintentionally and gradually as they grow, reduction in the quantity of sweetener.
“Having it all sweet isn’t balanced, even if they’re medicines by nature like honey, stevia et al, Bitters and aromatics like mints, hibiscus, lemongrass, chamomile et al have their place in the body and sweet cannot replace them,” she said.
Also the Executive Director Transparency and Economic Development Initiative (TEDI) NGO based in Abakaliki Ebonyi state, Mr Emeka Ogazi Elder, urged Nigerians to eat bitter as it is good for the body.
“God planted bitter fluid (insulin) in us to neutralize high fructose, glucose high carbs intake we consume. Excess gluttony of sweeties, insulin keep going up, it gets query from our immune system.
“Why all these pumping? Why overflow pump to neutralize the sweets, the immune system blocks the pumping, put gates not to allow insulin quench the excess sweety carbs. It undergoes what we call self-destroy and resists the flowing bitter not to neutralize the excess carbs glucose, fructose we loaded. that is what we call insulin resistant blocking the insulin flow to neutralize the excess glucose. Diabetes sets in, note diabetes is not genetically inherited but acquired through our food culture consistent eating of carbs,” he said
Thomas Emmanuel, an Urban planner by training and specialising as a Landscape Planner and An Environmentalist complements others on the need take bitter herbs saying it strengthens microbiome in human.
“But let support our liver like Madam Rasheedah is advising, little bitter daily or weekly is healthy. Bitter is sweet and healthy, like high intensity pains is healthy to a patient undergoing surgery.
“Eat bitter saponins for healthy living, rejuvenating, healthy blood, strengthening our microbiome, sweety food kill good bacteria in our gut, sweety foods lead to overgrowth of toxins and bad, harmful bacteria making us sick. So l advise you chew two Neem leaves daily to support your pancreas for healthy living.
“Flavonoids are often responsible for this bitterness. Often this flavonoid are on the increase before fruit ripens and decrease to fade out when ripe,” he said.
Mr Ogazi further encouraged Nigerians to get involves in working dirty, saying this comes with serious health values.
“Every day go to work, l walks dirty, l come back from work with dusty leg, my grandson will look to my foot and begin to use his bare hands to clean up the dust on my foot, not knowing he is benefiting from it health wise, he will exclaim, grandpa, your leg is dirty, while he is cleaning it with his hand. He absorbs my good bacteria. He has never been sick since he is born apart from mosquitoes bite transmitting malaria parasites to him. Quassia Amara bitter knocks off the malaria parasites sharp. No wasting time.
“No, can’t fail, no way if the beneficial microbes are working, actively and you didn’t abuse it with sugary carbs, my dear, bacteriophage will wipe off the harms, be it viral be it , bacterial, be it Covid and monkey pox. Consider the plumbers who walk and work on your fecal sewage, are they sick? No. They age strong and healthy while those who walk clean, sanitize kill their good bacteria and become sick. They sleep well in the mortuary.