Sunday, 16 January 2022



According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breastmilk is the ideal food for neonates and infants in the first 6 months of life. It provides all the nutrients in the right quantity for their optimum growth and development. It is safe and contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses like lower respiratory diseases, diarrhea and pneumonia- the primary causes of childhood mortality globally. Economically, breastmilk is affordable, and readily available, which helps ensure that they get adequate nutrition. Aside the short-term benefits, breastfeeding contributes to a lifetime of good health. It reduces the likelihood to develop nutrition-related chronic diseases later in life.

Apart from breastmilk, the other milk that can be given to infants is baby formula. This type is specifically formulated for infants, 0-6 months or 7-12 months of age. No other type should be given to babies until one year of age.

When it comes to choosing an infant formula, no brand is best for all babies. When picking an infant formula for your babies, select the one that is specifically made for babies within the same age with your child.

When choosing an infant formula,

  •   Ensure it is fortified with iron and other nutrients needed for babies.

  • Make sure it hasn’t expired

  • Make sure it labelled for the same age range with your baby

  • Make sure the container is sealed in good condition. If there are puffy side/ends, rust spots or any leaks, do not feed it to your baby

If you’re thinking of switching infant formula brand, type or have any questions about an infant formula for your baby, talk to a pediatrician, dietitian or nurse.

Friday, 31 December 2021

Nutrition for Brain Health


You are already known that eating healthy is good for physical health, have you also considered its impacts on your mental wellbeing? Good nutrition helps maintain or improve brain health. Making healthy food choices keep the brain healthy hence, help decrease the risk of developing neurological problems later in life.

Brain is the power house of the body, it works 24/7 even while asleep. This means the brain requires a constant supply of fuel. The fuel comes from the foods you eat- what is in the fuel makes the difference. Like any other part, brain functions best with good food. An adequate diet (loaded with micronutrients and antioxidants) nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress of free radicals which could lead to brain damage.

Similarly, eating refined foods which are high in sugar, saturated fats can harm the brain because the brain has little ability to eliminate the wastes thus, impairing its normal functioning.

Foods for healthy functioning of the brain

  • Fish: about 60% of the brain is made up of fat, and half of that fat is omega-3 fatty acid. The brain uses omega-3 to build brain and nerve cells and helps in learning and memory. it also helps with mental decline and Alzheimer disease.

  •  Nuts: are source of healthful fats and proteins, antioxidants and vitamin E. As one ages, oxidative stress sets in, vitamin E helps support brain health in older adults, improved cognition and reduce the risk of Alzheimer disease. The nuts with the highest health benefits are almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts.

  • Fruits and vegetables: vitamins especially vitamin C are a powerful antioxidant that help fight off the free radicals that can damage brain cells. Excellent sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, guava, bell pepper, tomatoes and strawberries. Foods rich in antioxidants helps reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment.
  •  Eggs: are excellent source of healthy nutrients tied to brain health, including choline, folate, vitamins B6 and B12. Choline is deficient in many people’s diet. Eating eggs is an easy way to get choline.

There is no single magic food that one must eat for brain health, a variety of nutrients should be included in the diet for optimal benefits and brain health


Saturday, 25 December 2021

Vitamin D - How much do you know about the sunlight vitamin?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and helps calcium, magnesium and phosphate absorption in the body. It is also known as the sunlight vitamin as it is synthesized by the skin in response to the early morning sun. The synthesis depends on the season and time of the day etc. This vitamin is most vital for facilitating normal immune system function and is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against diseases. 

 Its deficiency may result in adverse health problems especially in pregnant women and infants. The deficiency is linked to preeclampsia, low birthweight, neonatal hypocalcemia, poor postnatal growth, bone fragility, and increased incidence of autoimmune. It is also associated with disorders of bone and mineral metabolism and, in particular, the development of rickets and osteomalacia in children. 

Vitamin D deficiency is quite common but most people are not aware of it. Vitamin D deficiency can have multiple symptoms. Not just your overall health, it can affect the skin as well. Some signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are visible on your skin as well.

Some other symptoms of vitamin D deficiency you may experience include-

  • Rickets in children

  • Osteomalacia (bones are weak and prone to fracture and malformation)

  • Osteoporosis (low bone density and fragility in adults)

  • Muscle weakness and frequent falls

Who are the most vulnerable groups of vitamin D deficiency?

  • Pregnant and lactating mothers

  • Neonates and infants

  • Older adults 65 years and above

  • People who are indoors for a long period of time and those whose skin are always covered 

  • High levels of melanin in skin (dark skinned people)

How do we obtain it?

Vitamin D is found in foods such as fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, tuna), fish and marine animal lover, soy milk, egg yolk, orange juice, cocoa, mushrooms and fortified foods (Cereals, milk, margerine). However, for most people, the dietary intake of vitamin D is relatively low and the majority of it is not synthesised.

Make sure you have enough vitamin D-rich foods in order to lead a healthy life. Consult a doctor if you see these symptoms to ensure proper medications and advice. 

Wednesday, 15 December 2021


Childhood obesity has been called “one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Childhood obesity is a condition where excess body fat negatively affects a child's health or well-being.

Globally, an estimated 43 million preschool children (under age 5) were overweight or obese in 2010 and over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016. Currently, childhood obesity represents a significant public health challenge in both developed and developing countries by increasing the burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as high blood glucose levels, raised blood pressure, abdominal obesity and high lipid profiles. Recent estimates suggest that over 38 million children younger than 5 years of age were overweight or obese in 2019.

 According to The World Health Organization (WHO), children in low-and middle-income countries are more vulnerable to inadequate prenatal, infant- and young- child nutritional states. These children are also exposed to energy dense, high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, micronutrients-poor foods, which tend to be lower in cost and also lower in nutrients quality. These dietary patterns, in conjunction with lower levels of physical activities resultin a sharp increase in childhood obesity.


To help prevent excess weight gain in your child, you can:

  • Set a good example. Make healthy eating and regular physical activity a family affair. Everyone will benefit and no one will feel singled out.
  • Reduce portion size and go for nutrients dense rather than energy dense foods
  • Have healthy snacks available. Options include whole fruits with low-fat yogurt, whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, air-popped popcorn without butter.
  • Offer new foods multiple times. Don't be discouraged if your child doesn't immediately like a new food. It usually takes multiple exposures to a food to gain acceptance.
  • Eliminate or reduce sugar sweetened beverages such as soft drinks and fruits juice.
  • Choose nonfood rewards. Promising a fruit drink for good behavior is a bad idea.
  • Be sure your child gets enough sleep. Some studies indicate that too little sleep may increase the risk of obesity. Sleep deprivation can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to increased appetite.

Dtn Millicent Onyinyechi.
You can contact us for any diet related-health conditions. 

Tuesday, 7 December 2021



Most people understand that too much fat in the diet, especially certain kinds of fat, imposes health risks, but may be surprised to know that too little does, too. Fats belong to a group of organic compounds called lipids. They provide a more concentrated source of energy and slightly more than twice calorie content than carbohydrates. In addition to providing energy, fats are essential for the functioning and structure of body tissues and are a necessary part of cell membranes (cell walls). They contain essential fatty acids and act as carriers for fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. The fat stored in body tissues provides energy when one cannot eat, as may occur during some illness.

Dietary fat is found in both animal and plant products- Animal fats consist of a larger content of saturated fats while plant derived fats are normally in the form of oils and contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They perform many essential functions in the body, but uncertainties exist as to the types and the amount of fat that we should eat. The healthy fat focused issues of fat include; the heart friendly fat and the negative risks ones.

Main categories of fatty acids

Saturated fatty acids are usually solid at room temperature and are obtained from animal fats and their products, e.g. meat, poultry, egg yolks, whole milk, whole milk cheeses, cream, ice cream, and butter. Although with the exception of plant oils such as chocolate, coconut, palm oil, and palm kernel oils which also contains some saturated fats. They contribute to a range of heart diseases and help raise the bad cholesterol. 

Trans trans-fatty acids alter blood cholesterol the same way some saturated fats do: they raise LDL (bad cholesterol) and, at high intakes and lower  HDL (good cholesterol). Trans-fatty acids also appear to increase inflammation and insulin resistance. Limiting the intake of trans-fatty acids can improve blood cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. Both saturated and trans fats contribute to heart disease, obesity, high blood cholesterol and other health problems. The major source of Trans Fatty Acids in the diet is from baked goods and foods eaten in restaurants.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids: the two major polyunsaturated fatty acids  are the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They have a vital role in the immune response, blood clotting, and inflammation. They are important in neural development of the fetus and infant. Omega-3 fatty acids have been reported to help lower the risk of heart disease. Omega-6 (linoleic acid) has a cholesterol-lowering effect. Foods containing polyunsaturated fats include cooking oils made from sunflower, safflower, or sesame seeds, corn or soybeans; soft margarines whose major ingredient is liquid vegetable oil; and fish. Foods containing high proportions of polyunsaturated fats are usually soft or oily.

Monounsaturated fats. These lipids generally from plant sources and are found in nuts, avocado, canola, corn oil, safflower oil, olive, and peanut oil. They lower the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (“bad cholesterol”) in the blood and have no effect on high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) (“good cholesterol”).

Tips to make a healthier fat choice

  •  Use small amounts of vegetable oils in place of solid fats.
  • Use butter or stick margarine sparingly; select soft margarines instead of hard margarines.
  •  Use fruit butters, reduced-kcalorie margarines, or butter replacers instead of butter
  •  Use low-fat or fat-free mayonnaise and salad dressing instead of regular.
  •  Limit use of lard and meat fat.
  •  Limit use of products made with coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and palm oil (read labels on bakery goods, processed foods, , and non dairy creamers).
  • Reduce use of hydrogenated shortenings and stick margarines and products that contain them (read labels on crackers, cookies, and other commercially prepared baked goods); use vegetable oils instead
  • Choose soft fat because the softer a fat is, the more unsaturated it is

Fats are an essential part of a healthful diet but, for optimal health, the total amount and type of fat consumed need careful attention. When choosing oils, alternate among the various types of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to obtain the benefits different oils offer.



Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Healthy Snacking During Pregnancy

Pregnancy imposes increased nutritional requirements for both maternal and child wellbeing. While period is your (amazing) excuse to eat extra calories (400-500 more per day by the second and third trimesters) it’s more crucial than ever to use those extra calories to fill your body with key nutrients that support the baby’s development — particularly protein, folate, calcium, vitamin D, DHA (omega-3 fatty acid), iodine and iron. Snacking smart is a sure way of achieving the balance for these nutrient needs either with every meal or over a week period. Snacking healthily often means changing the amounts of different foods you eat, so that your diet is varied, rather than cutting out all your favourites.

Here are some snack foods that will help you get the nutrients you need while avoiding less-healthy cravings:

Craving something cold and rich, try a yogurt smoothie. Yogurt is a good source of calcium, which is necessary for the development of your baby’s bones and teeth, as well as heart, nerve and muscle function. If you don’t consume enough calcium, your body will take it from your bones. Yogurt also provides protein — the building block of tissues — as well as probiotics (good bacteria that help you digest food). Just be sure to watch out for additives in the yogurt you choose. Many flavored varieties are loaded with sugar. Also, if you like the tartness, opt for Greek yogurt because it contains more protein.

  • Need to boost fiber intake? Fruits and vegetables are good sources of fiber. Along with drinking enough fluid, getting good sources of fiber from fruits and vegetables is a sure way of keeping constipation at bay. They are loaded with substances (antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals) that protect the health of cells and support immune system, which is slightly lowered during pregnancy.
  • Want something savory? Eggs are a good choice to go to when the feeling of something savory and filling comes. This is because, the yolks are excellent source of choline, a nutrient that’s vital for your baby’s brain development. Ensure the eggs are well cooked to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
  • Want something crunchy? Go for nuts.

Nuts are excellent snacks during pregnancy.  They are nutrient-dense food that provides healthy fat, minerals protein and fiber. They are also leaded with Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids which are important for foetal brain development.

Foods to limit

  • High Fats foods: Fat is very high in calories, so eating too many fatty foods, or eating them too often, can make you put on weight. Eating too much saturated fat can also increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases one’s chances of developing pregnancy complications |(gestational diabetes mellitus, preeclampsia and preterm delivery). Foods that are high in fat include: all spreading fats (such as butter salad dressings), oils, pastries, cake, cream, chocolate. Try to cut down on saturated fat, and have small amounts of foods rich in unsaturated fat instead, such as vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.
  • Foods high in sodium: A staggering 75-80% of our sodium intake is hidden in processed food, ready meals, takeaways and restaurant foods. High sodium intake can have a negative impact on blood pressure. It affects the kidneys, causing the body to retain fluid. Extra fluids result in greater blood volume, which can cause pre-eclampsia. To cut down on sodium intake, check sodium levels on pre-packaged food and aim for less than 600mg per 100g.

  • Foods high sugar: Sugary foods and drinks are often high in calories, which can contribute to weight gain. Having sugary foods and drinks can also lead to gestational diabetes.

If you're having foods and drinks that are high in sugar and fat, have these less often and in small amounts.




Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Overfed yet Starving


Hunger once seemed like a simple problem which often mean not getting enough calories. Surprising, hunger co-exist with overfeeding within the same individual, household and community.  And the tricky part? Hunger can't be "fixed" by just feeding on empty calories. You've got to nourish with healthy, nutrient-dense foods, so you don't become obese.

 Overfeeding can correlate with being deficient in a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C and D, B12, folate, iron, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, etc. Low intakes of these nutrients can lead to development of chronic diseases and conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, iron-deficiency anemia, stunted growth and even scurvy (lack of vitamin C) and rickets (lack of vitamin D and calcium)

Overweight and obesity are currently among the epidemic of public health importance. There effects come across all age groups irrespective of socio-economic conditions of the family. Overweight or obese children if not we'll controlled, grow to become obese adults and the viscous cycle of obesity continues. Overweight or obesity occurs when one frequently feeds on energy-dense rather than nutrients-dense foods leading to increase in weight (attributed to overfeeding) while becoming deficient in some of the micronutrients. According to the World Health Organization estimates that within the next few years noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) will become the most important global cause of morbidity and mortality.

Causes of overfeeding

  • Energy Dense, Nutrient Poor foods: Energy-dense foods are typically high in fat (e.g. butter, oils, fried foods) and includes high levels of refined, processed and sugary foods while low in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The former are typically high in calories (or, empty calories as many call them) and not much else, thus often referred to as ‘energy dense (high in calories) and nutrient poor (low in nutritive value) diet.
  • High consumption of ultra-processed foods: ultra-processed foods are energy-dense and nutrients poor. These foods are usually classified under the ‘‘eat least’’ category in dietary guidelines. They are very high in sugar, sodium, saturated fats, processed proteins and less dietary fibers and micronutrients. The heavy marketing of these foods and beverages together with the sedentary lifestyle are the major causes of obesity. It may surprise you to know that the body is somehow . . . starving after the consumption of these foods. Foods in this category include; carbonated beverages, noodles, and most quick to prepare food items.
  • A high intake of sugars-sweetened beverages: The increasing and high consumption of sugars-sweetened drinks by children and adults is serious health concern. According to the World Health Organization, each additional can or glass of sugars-sweetened drink consumed each day increases the risk of becoming obese by 60%. Most of which relates to soda drinks but fruit drinks which are equally energy-dense and may promote weight gain if taken in large quantities.

General strategies to prevent overfeeding

For infants and young children

  • The promotion of exclusive breastfeeding;
  • Avoiding the use of added sugars when feeding formula
  • Accept your infant’s ability to regulate energy intake rather than feeding until the plate is empty;
  • Feed from diverse family foods, assuring the appropriate micronutrient intake needed to promote optimal linear growth.

For children and adolescents, prevention of obesity implies the need to:

  • Promote an active lifestyle;
  • Limit consumption of fries and carbonated/sweetened beverages
  • limit television viewing;
  • Promote the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fortified cereals;
  • Limit the intake of energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods (e.g. packaged snacks);
  • Diversify your diet by various arrays of fiber-rich tubers, nuts and seeds, fish, animals and wild fruits