Wednesday 20 November 2019

Fad diets; All you need to know about!

Several diets are being promoted as the best approach to losing weight. Unfortunately, many of these diets involve eliminating foods that contain necessary nutrients. Some even cut entire food groups. They typically promise rapid weight loss and other health benefits, yet often have no scientific evidence supporting their use. In addition, they are often nutritionally unbalanced and ineffective over the long term.  For example, fad diets may include those that are fat-free, very-low-carbohydrate, or high protein. Some fad diets focus on a particular food, such as grapefruit or cabbage. Some have you eliminate certain foods at specific times of the day. Others allow you certain foods, as long as you eat them along with certain other foods.
   A fad diet is a diet or eating plan that gains rapid popularity. They’re called fad diets because they are riding the waves of a trend. You may be hearing about them from a multitude of sources like television, magazines, friends, and family. Fad diets range far in wide; there’s a new one for everyone. Some of them focus on detox drinks like drinking only lemon or grape juice and others focus on eating only meat. The thing that they all have in common however, is that they all offer some type of rapid weight loss that will happen in a manner of weeks.
   While most fad diets do actually give you some results, this is normally only in the beginning. Most of them will help you lose weight rapidly, but it will not last. It is normally only a matter of time before you begin to put back on the weight. This is primarily because fad diets are unsustainable. You can’t live off solely drinking sugar free lemonade. This means when the diet is over, you inevitably return back to your original eating style – the style that helped you put on all that weight in the first place.

Your weight loss program may be a fad diet if it:

  • Promises weight loss of more than 2 pounds (1 kg) per week.
  • Does not provide support for long-term weight loss success.
  • Is rigid and does not fit into your lifestyle or state of health.
  • Cuts out major food categories (like gluten or carbohydrates) and stops you from enjoying your favourite foods.
  • Forces you to buy the company’s foods or supplements rather than show you how to make better choices from a grocery store.
  • Gives you nutrition advice that is based on testimonials rather than scientific evidence.
  • Promotes unproven ways to lose weight such as starch blockers, fat burners and colonic cleanses.
  • Encourage little or no  physical activity.

Types of Fad diets

1. It restricts carbs to 20 grams per day, while allowing unlimited amounts of protein and fat.

2. South Beach Diet: The South Beach Diet is a high-protein, lower-carb, lower-fat diet.

3. Vegan Diet: It is a diet that restricts any form of animal product.

4. Ketogenic diets: They typically provide less than 50 grams of total carbs per day, and often less than 30.

5. Paleo Diet: The paleo diet is a balanced, healthy way of eating that eliminates processed foods and encourages its followers to eat a wide variety of plant and animal foods.

6. The Zone diet: The Zone diet specifies a diet composed of 30% lean protein, 30% healthy fat and 40% high-fiber carbs. 

7. The 5:2 diet: The 5:2 diet is a form of alternate-day fasting that involves eating 500–600 calories two days a week, and eating normally otherwise

Some tips that apply to any healthy weight loss plan include:

  • Eat breakfast every day and don’t skip meals.
  • Limit liquid calories by avoiding soda and alcohol. Choose whole fruits instead of juice. Drink plenty of water every day.
  • Eat a variety of foods to ensure that you get all of your daily nutrients.
  • Watch what types of fat you consume. Do not eat any trans fats. Trans fats are found in many fried and baked goods. 
  • Read nutrition labels as you grocery shop.
  • Consume only moderate amounts of sugars, and food and drinks containing added sugars. In particular, limit sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Limit your daily intake of saturated fat and sodium. Try to eat healthy fats instead of opting for a strict low-fat diet. The latter typically is higher in carbs.
  • Watch your portions size. 
  • Exercise on a regular basis. Pick an activity that you enjoy. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes, 4 to 6 times per week.

Fad diets will always be popular, and new plans will continue to be created to address people’s desire to lose weight quickly. However, just because a diet is effective for weight loss doesn’t mean it is sustainable long-term. To achieve and maintain your weight loss goal, it’s important to find a healthy way of eating that you enjoy and can follow for life. If you need help to figure out what weight loss plan will work best for you, you may want to think about seeing a consulting dietitian in private practice. 

Sunday 17 November 2019

Choline: The New Essential Nutrient

The dietary component choline is the latest addition to the list of essential nutrients. It is an organic, water-soluble compound. It is neither a vitamin nor a mineral though, it is often grouped with the vitamin B complex due to its similarities. It is part of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter associated with attention, muscle control, learning and memory and several other functions. It impacts liver function, healthy brain development, muscle movement, your nervous system and metabolism. Humans can produce it endogenously in the liver, however you must obtain the majority through your diet or through dietary supplements.

    Functions of choline
  • Helps in foetal development: Choline is involved in several vital body processes, starting with your development as a fetus. Prenatal vitamins usually contain choline because it is critical for healthy fetal development, especially the brain and nervous system.
  • It helps the efficient use of fat: Choline has a crucial role in bringing fats out of the liver for the body. It helps the body to metabolize fats out of the liver and send it into the bloodstream so that the body can use it for energy, absorb fat-soluble nutrients, and to make brain components such as myelin. On the flipside, if fat stays in the liver, it results to fatty liver disease, which can cause pain, enlargement of the liver, extreme fatigue, and toxic overload.
  • DNA synthesis: Choline and other vitamins, such as B12 and folate, help with a process that's important for DNA synthesis.
  • Regulates healthy nervous system: This nutrient is required to make acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. It's involved in memory, muscle movement, regulating heartbeat and other basic functions.

Who Are at Risk of Deficiency?
Although choline deficiency is rare, certain people are at an increased risk.
  • Pregnant women: Choline requirements increase during pregnancy. This is most likely due to the unborn baby requiring choline for development.
  • Postmenopausal women: Estrogen helps produce choline in the body. Since estrogen levels tend to drop in postmenopausal women, they may be at greater risk of deficiency.
  • Endurance athletes: Levels fall during long endurance exercises, such as marathons. It's unclear if taking supplements improves performance.
  • High alcohol intake: Alcohol can increase choline requirements and your risk of deficiency, especially when intake is low.


Many foods contain choline. The main dietary sources of choline consist primarily of animal-based products—meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and eggs. Cruciferous vegetables likered-fleshed sweet potato, cauliflower, broccoli etc and certain beans are also rich in choline, and other dietary sources of choline include nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Choline is also present in breast milk and is added to most commercial infant formulas.

NB: Instead of animal products, choose fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans, which are plentiful in choline. 



Thursday 14 November 2019

World Diabetes Day 2019

World Diabetes Day takes place on the 14th November every year. The purpose of this one day is to raise awareness of a condition that millions of people all around the world live with every day. Essentially, diabetes is about the body’s inability (or lack of it) to produce the required amount of a hormone called insulin to control glucose levels in the blood. There are broadly two types of diabetes: Type 1 (Diabetes Insupidus) requires daily administration of artificial insulin by means of injection or insulin pump. Type 2 (Diabetes Mellitus) is more generally managed by a combination of dietary control and medication in the form of tablets.
    Diabetes incidence have dramatically increased among adults and children in the past decades. It results from improper regulation of blood glucose in either hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) or hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). Diabetes is diagnosed when one's fasting blood glucose is 126 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood or greater. It ranks sixth among the leading causes of death, and was responsible for four million deaths in 2017. If untreated or unmanaged, it can lead to life-changing complications. These include amputation and several other major diseases, like stroke, heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure.
Causes of Diabetes

1. Changes in lifestyle

i. Physical inactivity, overnutrition and obesity predispose one to developing diabetes mellitus later in life. Men whose waist circumference is more than 40 inches (102 cm) and more than 35 inches (89cm) in women are at higher risk of diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and dyslipidaemia. 

ii. Drugs and hormones: several drugs especially the oral contraceptives cause glucose intolerance and in susceptible individuals may induce diabetes

2. Acquired and environmental factors

i. Infection: it may precipitate insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus

Symptoms of Diabetes mellitus

A lack of knowledge about diabetes means that spotting the warning sign is an issue impacting a cross-section of society. The warning signs can be so mild that you don't notice them. Some people don't find out they have it until they get problems from long-term damage caused by the disease.

1. Excretion of large amounts of glucose in urine: losing so much solute in the urine causes osmotic diuresis and the volume of urine increases(polyuria). The patient constantly feels thirst.

2. Slow-healing sores or cuts. Over time, high blood sugar can affect your blood flow and cause nerve damage that makes it hard for your body to heal wounds.

3. Pain or numbness in your feet or legs. This is another result of nerve damage (poly-dipsia) and drinks large quantities of water.

Friday 1 November 2019



Potassium plays an important role in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. Its deficiency is characterized by an increase in blood pressure, fatigue, salt sensitivity, irritability and kidney stones. As deficiency progresses, symptoms like irregular heartbeats, muscle weakness, and glucose intolerance will be experienced. An average intake for potassium for adults is 4700 milligrams (4.7g) per day.
  Potassium toxicity (overdose) from natural sources is nearly impossible except through overconsumption of potassium salts or supplements.
  Low levels of potassium in the diet plays an important role in the development of high blood pressure. Low potassium intakes raise blood pressure, while high potassium intakes together with low sodium intakes prevent and correct hypertension.

NB: some diuretics(drugs) used to treat high blood pressure deplete the body potassium. Thus, people who take potassium-wasting diuretics need to monitor their potassium intakes carefully.
  Rich sources of potassium include purple fresh fruits/vegetables(e.g. eggplant, beetroot), banana, orange, sun-dried tomatoes, honeydew, dates, pears, avocados, whole-wheat products, coconut water, walnuts, non-fat dairy products, shrimp, fish, chicken, vegetables (cucumber, potatoes, spinach, lettuce, pumpkin leaves(ugu), carrots, broccoli etc) and legumes like kidney beans, lima beans, soybeans, etc.

Why You Need Potassium

For starters, it helps your blood pressure. It does this in two different ways:
  • It aids your kidneys. Potassium helps remove extra sodium from your body through your urine. This is a good thing, because too much sodium can cause high blood pressure.

  • It also helps the walls of your blood vessels to relax or loosen up. When they’re too tense or rigid, it can lead to high blood pressure, which can cause heart problems. Getting enough potassium is good for your heart.
You also need enough potassium for good muscle health -- so that your muscles can flex or contract the way they should. And your nerves need potassium so that they can work well.

Sunday 27 October 2019

Is Junk Really Cheaper Than Main Meal?

Many people are of the notion that "eating healthy is expensive" but this belief may be costing them more while potentially damaging their health. We are often lured in by the convenience and marketing of junk food, disregarding the detrimental effects on our own health.  
Processed fast food usually has fewer nutrients than homemade and you’re feeding into the addiction to a highly processed food, riddled with large amounts of excess sodium, sugar, saturated fats, trans fat and cholesterol.  These foods over time can lead to obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes type 2, heart and stroke disease and certain cancers. Getting into a healthy mindset helps preserve your current health and decreases your susceptibility to preventable diseases too. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, a good number of total disease and injury burden is attributable to overweight and obesity. (Two per cent can be blamed on low fruit consumption.)

In general, follow these rules:
  • Have a salad, steamed vegetables, fruit or soup instead of fries.
  • Choose water, low-fat milk, or diet sodas instead of regular sodas, fruit drinks, or milkshakes, which can be a huge source of calories and sugar. Instead of a slice of pie or cookie for dessert try fruit and yogurt.
  • Choose foods that are broiled, steamed, or grilled instead of fried. For example, pick a grilled chicken instead of fried chicken or chicken nuggets and choose steamed vegetables or fresh fruit instead of French fries.
  • When ordering a sandwich, select lean meats such as turkey or grilled chicken instead of items such as burgers, steak, or cheese sandwiches. Ask if they have a whole wheat bread or wrap option.
  • Ask for sauces or dressings that come with meals to be served on the side and use just a small amount.

Sunday 20 October 2019

Canned Food! Good or Bad?

In today’s life everybody is very busy and so no time to cook. Our busy lifestyles make convenient cooking, enticing. However, the question is often asked: is canned food healthy for you? Always, a question comes in our mind that what is the  health factor behind canned food. Canned foods can be a lifesaver; they can also be dangerous.

The good:
  • Canned food is a convenience alternative to fresh foods. They are convenient and can be found almost anywhere. It’s practical way to add more nutrient-dense foods to your diet, they don’t spoil easily and can be stored safely for years. 
  • They are also affordable.
  • Fresh fruit can cost a pretty penny when out of season. Canned is a great way to enjoy fruit any time of year. 

The bad:
  • Canning is used to preserve foods for long periods. During this process, foods are prepared, sealed and heated. Heat is used to kill harmful bacteria and prevent spoiling, but can also destroy heat-sensitive nutrients like Vitamins B and C. For this reason, canned foods often get a bad rep for being less nutritious than fresh or frozen foods.
  • May Contain Deadly Bacteria- canned foods that weren’t processed properly may contain dangerous bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum. Consuming contaminated food can cause botulism, a serious illness that can lead to paralysis and death if left untreated. It’s important to never eat from cans that are bulging, dented, cracked or leaking.
  • Added Salt, Sugar or Preservatives-Salt, sugar and preservatives are sometimes added during the canning process. Excess salt or sugar may pose health problems. A variety of other natural or chemical preservatives may be added as well.
  • May Contain Trace Amounts of BPA- BPA (Bisphenol) is a chemical that is often used in food packaging, including cans. So BPA can migrate in the food content. BPA is linked to health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and male sexual dysfunction.

How to make the right choices

All canned foods aren’t created equal. So, you still need to be mindful when going to the shop:
  • Always read food labels and the ingredients list.
  • Choose lower sugar and lower sodium versions.
  • Look for any dents in the cans. If you see a dent, find another can to prevent the risk of botulism.

  • Choose BPA free cans – BPA has been linked to heart disease and other chronic diseases.
  • Never eat from cans that are bulging, dented, discoloured, rusted, cracked, or leaking.

  • Check the best before date.

Sunday 6 October 2019

Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin, one of the most essential vitamins in an individual’s daily diet. It acts as a potent antioxidant helping to reduce the damage caused by free radicals and thereby helping prevent the development of conditions like heart disease and cancer. It plays vital functions in the body including growth, maintaining the health of the body,  repair of  tissues like the skin, joints, blood vessels, bones, and teeth, boost the absorption of other nutrients in the body. It is critically important in wound healing and is also a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C can have a huge impact on the health from the inside out. It is needed for numerous daily functions, supports immune function, and facilitates the absorption of iron. 

   Found primarily in fruits and vegetables, it is abundant throughout the diet. A deficiency in this important vitamin can wreak havoc on health, causing symptoms like easy bruising, bleeding gums, fatigue, weakened immunity,  increased risk of conditions like gout and heart disease and, in severe cases, scurvy. 
     You need to consume vitamin C daily—preferably through foods rich in vitamin C. Most people think of oranges—and they are a great source—but many other fruits and vegetables are loaded with this nutrient, like strawberries, papaya, broccoli, tomatoes, red bell peppers, and cauliflower. It is also found in fresh milk, fish and offal such as liver and kidney, it can also be gotten from fortified foods such as cereals.

   The recommended daily intake for Vitamin C differs according to age and gender.  Pregnant and breastfeeding women need higher amounts of this vitamin in their diet. Adult women are advised to take 75 mg daily; while men should consume 90 mg daily. You can easily get what you need from these foods; Red pepper — 1 cup: 190 mg, guava — 1 fruit: 126 mg, green bell pepper — 1 cup: 120 mg,  orange — 1 large: 98 mg, strawberries — 1 cup: 89 mg, papaya — 1 cup: 87 mg, broccoli — 1 cup, raw: 81 mg,  pineapple — 1 cup: 79 mg, cauliflower — 1 cup, raw: 46 mg, mango — 1 cup: 46 mg, lemon — 1 fruit: 45 mg, grapefruit — 1/2 fruit: 38 mg, peas — 1 cup, cooked: 23 mg, tomatoes — 1 cup, raw: 23mg.
  Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency

While symptoms of severe vitamin C deficiency can take months to develop, there are some subtle signs to watch out for.

  • Sudden, swollen and unexpected bleeding from your gums:The gums are made up partially of collagen, which is why they tend to be more sensitive when vitamin C levels in the body dip. Swollen gums are a result of inflammation, a process that vitamin C helps prevent as an antioxidant. 

  • Beeding Nose: Nose bleeds occur when the tiny blood vessels in the nose burst, so frequent nose bleeds are a sign of weak blood vessels in the nose. Since blood vessels are strengthened by collagen, having a vitamin C deficiency can result in weakened blood vessels, causing them to burst and create nose bleeds frequently. 

  • Slow wound healing: The immune response that works to repair wounds and fights infection relies on vitamin C. The nutrient also helps with the formation of collagen, which strengthens the scar tissue that forms over wounds. With a vitamin C deficiency, this process is less efficient, causing longer bleeding and slower healing. 

  • Slit, dry hair: When the hair is healthy and shiny, it’s a good sign that one is eating a balanced diet. When the ends of one's hair are splitting and dry, there might be a vitamin C deficiency. Hair depends on collagen for strength and health: When one is low on vitamin C,the collagen production can pay the price, leading to weak and brittle hair that falls out easily. 

  • Iron deficiency: The body absorbs two types of iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron typically comes from animal sources and is easily absorbed, while nonheme iron comes from plant sources (like spinach, plantain, kale, broccoli, etc). Vitamin C helps the body absorb nonheme iron more efficiently and has been shown to be a strong indicator of iron status; that’s why iron deficiencies often go hand in hand with vitamin C deficiencies. Getting enough vitamin C ensures that your body can make the most of iron-rich foods.

  • Easy bruising: When small blood vessels right under the surface of the skin burst, one ends up with a bruise. If bruise occurs easily, it could be a sign that the blood vessel walls—which are made largely from collagen—are weak. Vitamin C helps strengthen the blood vessels by boosting collagen production so they don’t breakdown as easily. 

  • Frequent infection: Vitamin C helps stimulate the production of white blood cells that attack bacteria and viruses as part of the immune response. As an antioxidant, vitamin C also helps protect the health of immune cells so that they can work efficiently to prevent infections. Frequent wound infections or suffering from common infections like the flu, Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), or strep throat is an indication of a weakened immune system. You can boost your immunity by getting enough vitamin C. 

  • Fatigue and moodiness: Vitamin C plays a key role in energy production and mood stabilization, so a lack of vitamin C can throw both your energy and mood out of balance. There is evidence that eating produce high in vitamin C can enhance overall mood, reduce fatigue, increase vigor, and reduce depression.

    By incorporating just a few servings of vitamin C foods in your diet, it’s a simple way to take advantage of all the health benefits this water-soluble vitamin has to offer. Since your body doesn’t store it, developing a vitamin C deficiency is easier than you might expect.

Saturday 28 September 2019

Nutrients Dense Food For Picky/Fussy Eaters

Every mom desires to feed her children with nutritious foods, made in the home, that will nourish their growing bodies and minds. While you strive to provide the very best in nourishment for the kids, it's more challenging by the picky tastes children can develop. The foods they are eating today are the building blocks for the rest of their lives.
    There are all sorts of reasons why your child may not seem to be eating enough, be it a period of fussy eating, a reduced appetite due to a period of illness or even just being too tired to eat much after a jam packed day of school/nursery or play.
     Healthy eating styles are based on choosing foods that contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other healthful nutrients or ingredients and choosing the amount of calories you need to maintain a healthy weight. A way to do this is by packing all the 5 food groups in your child’s daily diet. The five essential food groups:

  • Grains (like rice, wheat, millet, maize and products produced from them )
  • Nuts (like peanut, almonds, cashew nuts etc)
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables including green leafy vegetables
  • Protein-rich foods (such as beans, eggs, seafood, poultry and other meat products)
  • Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt)

Getting your picky eater to try new foods can be a major challenge. Luckily, there are several ways you can change their habits, making mealtime a breeze!

  • Have a plan: Because it can take a while for little palates to come around, try pairing these easier-to-accept foods with other items they aren’t ready to eat (yet)Don't be too restrictive: Have standards for the foods your kids eat, but don't be so rigid that they never can have an occasional unhealthy dessert. Studies have shown that children who are excessively restricted with foods are more likely to overeat when they're alone.

  • Make meals family-style: Family-style means that each food item is placed on the table in a serving dish, and each person helps themselves to whatever items they desire. A picky eater will be less picky if he or she can serve their own plate. Additionally, this will greatly decrease the stress surrounding mealtime. Letting your child feel in control of their own plate eliminates the power-struggle that results from controlling your child’s meals. When kids are more relaxed, they are more likely to try new foods on their own. They can also get very excited about eating your food, so if family-style isn’t an option, letting them try food off your plate may have a similar effect.

  • Make whole food smoothies: Smoothies are a great way to get a lot of nutrient-dense foods in your growing kids. Blending foods like coconut milk and oil, avocados, probiotics (yoghurt) and leafy greens with some berries and cocoa in a yummy drink is a treat most kids will enjoy!

  • Provide palatable protein sources: Most children get their share of protein from milk and yogurt but it’s the nutrients in eggs, meat, fish, and beans – iron, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc – that are essential for growth. If your child won't eat any animal protein; meat, chicken, eggs, fish, hide it the the food they like most. Meat is a good source of protein, but not all kids are fans. So get creative and disguise meat by adding it into other foods. For instance, you can add grided/minced meat in a jollof pasta/rice when frying the sauce. 

  • Explain to them food benefits in terms they will understand: Having conversations about what their food is doing for them, like, "Avocados make your brain nice and strong or beans make you to grow tall and strong" is a great way for them to start making good food choices. Little boys will eat veggies and drink milk if they know it will make them big and strong or “taller than daddy.” Little girls will eat veggies containing biotin if they know if will make their hair grow long and pretty. Conversely, having an age-appropriate but honest conversations about what junk food does to the body is important.

  • Eat together when possible: Studies have shown children who eat together with their family tend to eat healthier foods than children who don't. This is not always possible for everyone; but whenever you can, make a point to eat with your family. Turn off your cellphone and television, and use that time to talk and connect with your kids.

  • Be creative: Make food fun! Arranging vegetables in the shape of a silly face can be a simple way to engage your child in healthy foods.

  • Don’t force a food if they can get the benefits elsewhere: Don’t force your child to try meat if they enjoy eggs or yogurt. The important thing is that they have a balanced diet of protein, fat, carbs, and vitamins/minerals. If they don’t like one source of the nutrients, try another. 

  • Be consistent and patient: These tips are not miracle cures for a picky eater. As with anything in parenting, consistency and patience are two crucial qualities for you to have.

  • Make them aware of how precious and valuable they are: Teach your kids to love themselves enough to nourish their bodies with good things. If we fully realized our unique gifts and potential, would we fill ourselves with junk?

  • Be a good eater: If your children watch you eat healthy foods, they will be more likely to eat those foods. Your children watch you constantly and model your behavior. Eating a wide variety of new and healthy foods will encourage them to as well. Take steps to be a healthy parent role model.

Monday 23 September 2019

Healthy Snacking

Eating healthy doesn’t apply solely to what you consume for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The right snacks can help us to focus mentally by taking the edge off our hunger and can provide a much-needed energy boost until the next meal. Snacking isn’t bad if  done in moderation.  It is an important part of a healthy diet, since it helps to keep the body going and also helps to keep one from overeating in the next main meal. Making a  healthy snack choices does not only keep your kid healthy but revitalize their brains and energy for the day's activities.
It’s good to add more fruits and vegetables to their diets for a variety of health benefits, including to maintain a healthy weight. Whether you cook at home or you buy lunch outside for them, try easy ways to sneak more colorful, nutritious and delicious vegetables and fruits into their lunch boxes (even breakfast). If you add many different types of fruits and veggies, you’re sure of them getting all the different types of nutrient their body need. 
It’s important to choose wisely when selecting your snacks. 
As boring as “healthy snacks” might sound, you’d be surprised at just how tasty they are, all the new things you’ll get to try, and how easy they are to tote around with you on the go. (Seriously, they fit in your laptop bag, purse, workout bag or backpack just as easily as the prepackaged stuff). The best way to get all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need is to eat a variety of colorful fruits and veggies. Add color to your plate each day with the five main color groups. Junk food such as candy bars, soda and potato chips won’t help power you through your afternoon — and consistent consumption of junk foods can harm your body over the long run by boosting your risk for disease.

  • Read serving size information. What looks like a small package of cookies can contain 2 or more servings — which means double or even triple the amounts of fat, calories, and sugar shown on the label.
  • Choose your snacks wisely: With sugary treats like cookies and chips, you’re getting calories with little extra nutrition. Get the nutrition you need with snacks that are lower in sugar, like carrpts, healthy nuts like almonds or walnut.Don’t skip meals: Skipping meals may leave you with intense cravings that can trigger your appetite and may result in an unintended binge. As a general rule, eating every 3-4 hours will help your body feel satisfied and leave you less likely to snack excessively. Don’t feel like you’re limited to the basic 3-meals-a-day rule – feel free to eat 4 or 5 smaller meals throughout the day to keep your energy levels high.
  • Eat slowly: Eating your food slowly gives your brain and stomach the time to effectively send messages (hormones and nerve impulses) about how much food you need and when it’s time to stop eating. Try sitting back in your chair every few bites and having a drink of water. Or if you’re eating a number of smaller food items as one meal, try holding off before getting another item for a few minutes when you feel about 80% full. That should give some time for your brain to register how full you are.
  • Pack in some protein: Some people find adding a food choice that is higher in protein with meals and snacks help keep their appetite in check. Having protein-rich snacks readily available like roasted almonds, hard-boiled eggs, a glass of milk, or yogurt are great ways to keep your body feeling full and satisfied – so you can avoid those impulse snacks that can often be full of calories. Keep protein-rich snacks close by, and you’ll be well on your way to curbing those afternoon cravings.
  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration may sometimes be disguised as feelings of hunger, so make sure to stay on top of your fluid intake. If you feel a sudden hunger set in, try drinking a tall glass of water and waiting 5 minutes. You’ll find the feeling may pass or subside. 
  • Snack mindfully: stop what you're doing for a few minutes and eat your snack like you would a small meal. Don't eat your snack while doing something else — like surfing the Internet, watching TV, or working at your desk.

Sunday 22 September 2019

Benefits of African Walnut


African walnuts are seasonal fruits with enormous nutritional and health benefits to human health. Round shaped  with dark brown shells and whitish nuts encased within the shell, cultivated mostly for its nuts which can be eaten boiled or roasted as snacks.  It is mostly found in Nigeria and some other parts of Africa. In the Western part of Nigeria, it is known as “ASALA” while in the Southern part, it is called “UKPA”. It is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients needed for the healthy functioning of the human’s body. Like all nuts, walnuts contain good fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) also, they are a good source of the essential fatty acid omega-3, contain iron, selenium, calcium, zinc, vitamin E and some B vitamins required daily for overall maintenance and development.

  • Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and proteins which aid eye and brain development in children.
  •  Helps lower blood cholesterol level and increase the good cholesterol (HDL).
  • Reduces inflammation of blood vessels. 
  • Helps relax blood vessels and control high blood pressures.
  • Walnuts are rich sources of proteins and fiber that offers a feeling of fullness. This helps in weight management.
  • Walnut contains copper that aids proper growth and development of a growing fetus.
  • Walnuts contain antioxidants such as vitamin E, polyphenols, manganese and copper. These help ward off the free radicals and strengthens the immune system.
  • Walnuts are a rich source of vitamins, fibre, magnesium. They are also loaded with calcium, iron, zinc, and selenium. These nutrients add to the numerous advantages of walnuts.
  • Walnuts increase the melatonin which acts on the brain and signal the body to give you a sound sleep.

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Drinking During Pregnancy


A woman's nutrition has the most direct influence on the developing foetus, while her genetics and that of the man contribute to the making of the baby. Her body provides the environment for the growth and development of the new human being. Prior to pregnancy, a woman has a unique opportunity to prepare herself physically, mentally and emotionally for many changes to come.
  One out of ten pregnant women drinks alcohol at one point during her pregnancy and  1 out of 50 drinks frequently. Alcohol freely crosses the placenta and deprives the foetus of both oxygen and nutrients. It causes damage in two ways; directly by intoxication and indirectly, by malnutrition. Its consumption during this period endangers the foetus by causing irreversible and physical retardation of the foetus-fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and in severe end; foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Tragically, children with FAS never fully recover.

   How much is safe?

The problem with drinking alcohol during your pregnancy is that there is no amount that has been proven to be safe. In other words, a pregnant woman never drinks alone. She shares each glass of wine, each beer, each cocktail equally with her baby. But it takes the fetus twice as long as the mother to eliminate the alcohol from its system. Some women may drink alcohol during pregnancy and have babies who seem healthy. It’s also difficult to predict the impact of drinking on any given pregnancy because some women have higher levels of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol. Some may have very little alcohol during pregnancy and have babies with serious health conditions. Every pregnancy is different. Alcohol may hurt one baby more than another. The best way to keep your baby safe from problems caused by alcohol during pregnancy is not to drink alcohol when you’re pregnant.

Risks of Drinking While Pregnant

The reason no amount is considered safe during pregnancy is because of the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome. This can cause miscarriage, low birth weight, premature births, many birth defects which is a range of physical, cognitive, developmental and emotional problems. These effects will continue to impact the baby after they are born and as they grow.

When is the Damage Done?

The type of abnormality depends on the developmental events occurring at the time of alcohol exposure. During the first trimester, developing organs such as heart, brain, and kidneys may be malformed. During the second trimester, the risk of spontaneous abortion increases. During the third trimester, body and brain may be retarded.

Drinking can make you have any of these problems:
  • Low birthweight (also called LBW). This is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
  • Miscarriage. This is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Premature birth. This is when your baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature babies may have serious health problems at birth and later in life. 
  • Birth defects, like heart defects, hearing problems or vision problems. Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth. It changes the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. They can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops, or in how the body works.
  • Brain damage and problems with growth and development.
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (also called FASDs). Children with FASDs may have a range of problems, including intellectual and developmental disabilities. These are problems with how the brain works that can cause a person to have trouble in learning, communicating, taking care of himself or getting along with others. They also may have problems or delays in physical development. FASDs usually last a lifetime. Binge drinking during pregnancy increases your chances of having a baby with FASDs. Binge drinking is when you drink four or more drinks in 2 to 3 hours.

Tips To Avoid Alcohol During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a natural stage of life and shouldn’t stop you from socialising. But if you are in a situation where drinking is involved, a good alternative is to have a non-alcoholic drink you enjoy. You might also find it helpful to say:
  • I have a big day/early meeting tomorrow so no thanks;
  • No, thank you, I’m not drinking tonight;
  • No, thank you, I have to drive;
  • I’m not feeling the best so would rather not, thanks.
  • If you’re used to drinking at home, perhaps at the end of the day to relax, you might consider alternatives like taking a bath, going for a walk or reading a book.
  • Get rid of all the alcohol in your home.
  • If you're pregnant or even thinking about getting pregnant, don’t drink alcohol. 
  • Stay away from situations or places where you usually drink, like parties or bars. 
  • Alcohol can cause problems for your baby at any time in pregnancy, even before you know you’re pregnant.  

Sunday 25 August 2019

Essential Nutrients To Feed Your Baby After The First 6 Months


Undernutrition is estimated to be associated with 2.7 million child deaths annually or 45% of all child deaths.  Globally in 2016, 155 million children under 5 were estimated to be stunted (too short for age), 52 million were estimated to be wasted (too thin for height), and 41 million were overweight or obese. The first 2 years of a child’s life are particularly important, as optimal nutrition during this period lowers morbidity and mortality, reduces the risk of chronic disease, and fosters better development overall. Few children receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods; in many countries less than a fourth of infants 6–23 months of age meet the criteria of dietary diversity and feeding frequency that are appropriate for their age.
   The single best indicator of a child's nutritional status is growth, particularly weight gain in short run and length (height) in the long run. Improving their diets leads to improved growth. Eating a poor diet as an infant or a child hampers the cell division that occurs at this critical stage. Consuming an adequate diet later usually won't compensate for lost growth as the hormonal and other conditions needed for growth will not likely be present.

Nutrients critical for growth

The baby's weight doubles in the first 4 to 6 months and triples within the first year. Such rapid growth requires a lot nourishment and sleep. After the first year, growth is slower; it takes 5 years to double the weight seen at 1 year. In most cases especially in third placed countries, when a child is weaned from breast milk, they are fed a high carbohydrate, low-protein diet. This diet supports some growth but does not allow children to attain their full genetic potential. To guide your food choices for your baby, focus on the following vitamins and minerals in addition to all of the nutrients your baby is continuing to get from breastmilk, formula or both. Make sure to choose foods that are appropriate for their age and stage, as well as for your baby’s oral motor skill level. 

1. Iron: During their first 4-6 months, babies will have a sufficient store of iron, built up during their days in-utero. After those 4-6 months, those stores become depleted. Luckily breast milk and iron-fortified formulas supply iron, but it probably won't be enough, especially when solid foods are not introduced. Most easily absorbed iron are from animal sources which include meat, and eggs. It can also be obtained from plant sources, like spinach and other greens, broccoli, beans, soybean, whole grains, dates and iron-fortified infant cereals. 
N:B When iron-rich plant foods is eaten along with foods containing vitamin C, the iron absorption is improved. Fresh fruits and veggies like peppers, papayas, mango, strawberries, broccolis are great Vitamin C rich first foods for the baby.

2. Proteins: Proteins are literally a part of every cell in their body - working hard to build, maintain and repair body tissues hence, its importance for their growth and development. That means baby needs to acquire them from food. Luckily, there's just the right amount of protein in breast milk and iron-fortified formula, and when solids are introduced, there are plenty of rich sources one can try; such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy. Baby also gets protein from non-animal sources such as nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, as well as some fruits and vegetables. 
N:B: Make sure your baby gets protein from a variety of sources.

3. Zinc. Zinc is an important mineral that plays a key role in maintaining immune function and also, needed for baby's growth and development as it's required for making proteins and DNA. Babies who are deficient in zinc can have increased susceptibility to infections and growth impairment. Found in beef, lamb, turkey, shrimp, pumpkin, nuts(cashew nut), sesame seeds, spinach and yogurt.

4. Calcium: Calcium helps in strengthening of teeth and bones. It also makes sure that bones become strong enough to avoid any fracture when your baby starts running and playing. More often the requirements are met through breast milk as well as the formula milk. Foods like cheese, orange juice, oatmeal and yoghurt are excellent sources.

5. Omega3'S: The benefits of omega 3 for adults are very well known, but it works for the younger ones too. They are not only essential for immunity, vision and brain development, but are also necessary for developing cognitive skills in babies. DHA and EPA are the essential omega 3 fatty acids, which our bodies cannot produce. Hence, it is very important to include them in the diet. Breast Milk is the richest source of DHA, the brainy fat. Adding avocado, cooked egg yolk/chicken, fish like salmon, or powdered flax seeds  from 6 months and powdered walnut from 1 year is a great way of adding Omega 3 to baby's diet. 

6. Vitamins: All Vitamins are essential for the baby's overall growth and development. Fat-soluble vitamin like Vitamin A is great for baby's skin, eyes and for building baby's immunity. Dairy, eggs, and colored fruits and veggies are great sources of this vitamin. Vitamin D is great for bone mineralization and for immunity.  Water-soluble vitamins, like, B vitamins, are the true energy boosting nutrients that keep baby active and alert. Whole grains like oats and cereals are all great sources of many B vitamins. Introduce baby to a variety of grains but one at a time. 

Saturday 10 August 2019

Benefits of African Pear(Ube)

It is the late season of this sweet, fibrous, fleshy and buttery pear of the West African mainly found in the South Eastern part of Nigeria popularly known as Ube.  They are rich in important flavonoids, vitamins, and dietary fiber .the antioxidant vitamin (vitamin C) which helps to fight the free radicals in the body. It is pink or grey in colour when unripe but turns dark purple when ripped; It has a butter-like nature when roasted or dipped in hot water and is enjoyed by all. It is mainly eaten alone, with roasted or cooked corn, can also be mashed into baby's food.

Boosts Immune System

Immune boosting property in African bush pear comes from vitamin C and essential minerals that act as antioxidants that helps to strengthen immunity and improve the infection-fighting ability of the immune systems.

Reduces Constipation

Local pear contains soluble fiber which gives it the ability to aid a normal bowel movement and  reduce constipation. This fibre contains pectin, cellulose and lignin that resist the action of the digestive enzyme. 

Promotes Healthy Bones And Teeth

It contains some important minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. These minerals have key roles to play in the skeletal system, in maintaining bone health, muscle contraction, immune system and blood clotting in both adults and children.

Helps to Maintain a Healthy skin

Ube also helps to improve the texture of your skin by making it smoother and reducing wrinkles as a result of its rich amount of vitamin C which works to fend off cell damage from free radicals even more than othrer fruits like oranges and lemons, They are also Allergy-Free Fruits

Good for the heart

Local pear also contains a lot of soluble fibre which  reduces absorption of cholesterol and bile acid from the small intestines, thereby reducing blood cholesterol level.

Rich in vitamin B5

It is rich in vitamin B5 which is very essential in the body. This vitamin is responsible for hormone stimulation, amazing skin care, healthy heart and hair, boost one’s immune system and stamina. Along with all these benefits, vitamin B5 helps to increase the body’s metabolic rate which can be crucial to weight loss, relieve stress, boost haemoglobin generation, prevent arthritis and even heal wounds.

Good For Pregnancy

As surprising as it may sound, local pear is a pregnancy super fruit. It contains natural folic acid which is very good in pregnancy supplement as it helps to prevent deficiencies in baby's brain and spinal cord.


It is healthy for patients suffering from diabetes and cancer because of it high loads of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is also very good for the body and does not have any side effect as it is a hypo-allergenic fruit, hence it is  recommended for infants and toddlers as a snack or mashed into their meals.

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Introduction to baby's first solids

The decision about what, when and how to introduce solid foods to babies have always being a great call for concern for new moms and old time moms alike which is often influenced by their cultural factors.
They often face; 
when to introduce solids
what foods should be introduced and in what order
what texture the foods should be.

While it is advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) to exclusive breastfeeding of infants to around six months of age to provide optimal nutrition and health benefits. This delay is informed by the understanding that:

  • An infant’s nutritional needs can be met by breast or formula milk until this age but not beyond (eg the iron requirements of children older than six months must be provided by solid foods like egg yolk, liver etc).

  • Breastfeeding reduces diarrhoeal disease in children, which is particularly vital in developing economies for improving child survival

  • Most children will be developmentally ready to accept solid foods by six months of age (that is; most children will be able to sit and have the tongue and head control needed to facilitate eating).

Signs that your baby is hungry and ready to start eating solid foods 

  • Getting excited when they see you getting their food ready
  • Leaning towards you while they are sitting in the highchair
  • Opening their mouth as you’re about to feed them.
  • Loses the tongue thrust reflex that automatically pushes food out of his mouth.
  • Still seems hungry even after getting a full day's portion of milk (eight to 10 breastfeedings or about 32 ounces of formula
Weaning From Breast-Feeding

When you choose to wean your baby, introduce either infant formula or cow's milk, depending on your baby's age. If your baby is under 12 months of age, wean from breast milk to iron-fortified infant formula. If your baby is 12 months or older, whole cow milk is appropriate.

Examples of appropriate complementary foods listed by age:


  • Mashed banana, avocado or peeled cooked beans
  • Cooked and pureed carrots, peas or sweet potato
  • Ground, cooked, single-grain cereal (like rice, maize, acha(hungry rice), millet etc) or infant cereal with breast milk or formula
  • Pureed mango
  • Yoghurt
  • Cooked and pureed meat or poultry
  • Mashed egg yolk
  • Peanut butter (groundnut paste) pureed with water

9 -12months:
  • Sliced and quartered bananas or small pieces of other soft fruits
  • A variety of cooked vegetables cut into small pieces, such as squash and green beans
  • Whole cooked beans
  • Well-cooked, minced or finely chopped meat, poultry or fish

12 months:

  • Small pieces of fruit
  • Small pieces of cooked vegetables
  • Soft, shredded meat, poultry or fish
  • Mixed food dishes the family is eating in appropriately sized pieces