A Consultant in Reproductive Endocrinology, Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, urged Nigerians to cultivate the habit of eating local foods to prevent diseases such as diabetes.
Ashiru, who is the Chief Executive Officer of a Lagos-based Detoxification Clinic, Mart-Life Detox Clinic, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
The consultant spoke against the background of the World Diabetes Day (WDD) marked annually on Nov. 14 with the 2018 theme entitled, “The Family and Diabetes“.
“When we were growing up, what were the staple foods? We had garri in the form of `eba` and the ones we made to drink; `ogi`, which is pap; eko, also made from corn.
“There is plantain of different types, beans, okra, ewedu and all these were our staple foods from generations.
“What have we done? We have replaced them with processed foods and junks; most children are now consuming some of these processed foods of which some of them are 100 per cent gluten..
“Most Africans are gluten intolerant; it is of very little nutritional value and danger to our environment.
“Also, we eat wheat products instead of cassava; we can make bread from cassava and tiger nuts; we can do a lot by making tiger nut milk, palm kernel milk, and coconut milk.
“Every single product of our local foods is healthy; we are looking outward instead of inward and those westernised foods are causing several damages to our health,“ he said.
The consultant said that there had been quite a lot of research carried out and publications on our local foods.
According to him, the result of the research , on local foods, have shown to provide nutritional value and help fight diseases in our environment.
“Of great use is bitter leaf; it is one of the most powerful medicinal foods we have in Nigeria and possibly Africa.
“It is very good for the inner function of our system.
“People who have problems with kidney disorders, it helps to reduce the creatinine (a product in the blood system that shows kidney function) level.
“In developed countries, they have now processed bitter leaf into capsules. Meanwhile, we do not know in Africa.
“It is nice to eat bitter leaf, even if it is just once in a week.
“Also, `Ogbono soup` which is known to be anti-oxidant-any antioxidant will prevent the buildup of free radicals which can lead to so many disorders, including cancer.
“We also have bitter kola which is good for the gall bladder. “
He said that diabetes was preventable just by watching what people ate.
According to him, the way forward to achieving a healthy lifestyle is through education on what people should eat.
“A large number of people can control diabetes just by diet.”