Gbenga Sodeinde in Ado Ekiti
Prof (Mrs) Olubunmi Ajayi has attributed the increase in serious health challenges among Nigerians to changes in dietary patterns towards a more Westernised lifestyle.
Ajayi, who stated that such could precipitate deadly non-communicable diseases, said there is a need to return to the consumption of indigenous foods rich in nutrients that are beneficial to health.
The food and nutritional Biochemistry professor spoke while delivering the Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado Ekiti 82nd inaugural lecture titled ‘Nutrition and Health: The Inseparable Siamese Twins For Life Sustenance’.
She recommended that some indigenous foods and spices that are nutrient-dense but are almost going into extinction should be cultivated by farmers and consumed more because of their potential health-promoting nature.
“In Nigeria, there seems to be a gradual shift from consumption of traditional foods consisting mainly roots, cereals, beans, tubers and vegetables to fatty fast foods, snacks and drinks which is evident by the increased number of eateries in our society and number of people suffering from health challenges like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity,” said Ajayi.
The university’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Edward Olanipekun, said no one can enjoy good health without good nutrition.
The inaugural lecturer, however, recommended that functional foods rich in essential nutrients be taken for healthy body survival.
“Consumption of plant-based foods and drift away from modern westernised lifestyle diet (processed foods) would go a long way to further reduce the rate of early progression of some of the non-communicable diseases highlighted that are becoming rampant in our society,” Ajayi explained. “Many common diseases and disabilities afflicting human population in both developing and developed countries result from general malnutrition deficiencies of specific nutrients or over nutrition.”