Monday 31 January 2022

Which fatty acids are considered ‘bad’ for health

Figuring the types of fat to consume may be confusing especially if you are trying to lower your dietary fat intake. Trans fatty acids and to a lesser extent saturated fatty acids (mainly from animal products such as meat and dairy) are positively associated with coronary heart disease, hypertension and insulin resistance. Dairy fats and meat naturally contain trans fatty acids; however, the majority of dietary trans fatty acids are derived from partially hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenation (a process used to manufacture margarine) converts Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) to more saturated fat.

Trans fat: they are made when liquid oils are turned into solid fats e.g., margarine and shortening. It is the worst kind of dietary fat for the health. Too much trans fats increases the risk of heart disease and other health problems. It can be found in many fried fast packaged or processed foods e.g., cakes, French fries, pies, pie crust, doughnuts, cake mixes etc. Animal foods such as meat and dairy have negligible amounts of trans fats. Most trans fats are found from processed foods.

Health implication of trans fats

  • It lowers the good cholesterol (HDL) and raises the bad (LDL) cholesterol, this can cause cholesterol to build up in the blood vessels thus, increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • It causes weight gain and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes

Saturated fats: they are fats that are solid at room temperature. When consumed, they can raise the level of bad (LDL) cholesterol in the blood which can lead to blockages in the heart and other parts of the body. It also increases the risk of heart diseases and stroke. Foods high in saturated fats include: coconut oil, palm oil, red meat, fat full-dairy products, butter, chicken with the skin, pork, coconut milk, etc.

Consuming enough unsaturated fats such as plant oils, avocado and fish is the ideal approach to a healthful diet in the long-term.







Tuesday 25 January 2022

Why Cow’s milk is not Recommended for Infants


Milk is something that a lot of us find unclear and confusing how it fits into the diets of our little ones. It is not always easy to know the kind of milk needed or suitable at each stage during the early years of life.

Reasons why cow’s milk is not recommended to infants

  • Protein: cow’s milk has a lot of protein. The digestive system of an infant is not adequately developed to handle the high quantity of protein (casein and whey). Too much protein can stress their kidneys which aren’t developed enough yet. The protein can also irritate the intestinal lining, which can cause bleeding. This can lead to blood loss in their stool.
  • Iron: Cows’ milk is low in iron. This can lead to iron deficiency and anemia. Iron deficiency can lead to developmental delays.
  • Fats: Cows’ milk does not have the right kind of fat needed for baby’s growth.
  • Vitamin C: Cows’ milk is also lacking in vitamins C and E. vitamin C is needed for iron absorption and to build the immune system
  • Sodium and potassium: Cow’s milk is high in sodium and potassium much more than what their kidneys can handle.
  • Calcium: it is high in calcium. High content of calcium inhibits the absorption of dietary nonheme iron.

While feeding milk is not advice, milk-based products such as yoghurt are acceptable because of its probiotic content


When to introduce cow’s milk

Once a baby is more than a year old, cow’s milk instead of breastmilk or formula can be introduced. The milk should be whole milk, this is because the fat included is good for the child’s brain, which is very important for development in the first 2 years of life.

To start off, it can be mixed with breastmilk, formula or boiled and cooled to allow a smooth transmission. You can also consider mixing it in other foods of choice. Allow for few days to check for any case of lactose intolerance.

Tuesday 18 January 2022



The kidneys are a pair of essential organs situated on both sides of the spine below the rib cage. The organ plays vital functions for health, including maintaining acid-base balance, filtering wastes and removing it through the urine.

To maintain a healthy kidney, you’ll have to limit some foods and fluids so that other fluids and minerals like electrolyte don’t build up in the body. You should also ensure there is a balance of protein, minerals, vitamins and calories in the body.

1.     Choose and prepare food with less salt and sodium. Sodium is an electrolyte which function is to control the fluid balance in the body. Excess of sodium is more common problem, and may cause oedema, which adds pressure to artery walls, thereby causing hypertension.

To reduce your sodium intake,

  • Buy fresh foods rather than packaged or refined foods
  • Use natural spices and herbs rather than commercially produced spices
  • Limit the use of processed meats: e.g. sausage, hot dogs, bacon etc. these foods are very high in sodium
  • Eat more of home-made meals. Frequent consumption of “fast foods” increases the sodium consumption. 
  • Limit canned foods use: check for the sodium content on the Nutrition Information label on the food package- go for salt-free, reduced salt or no salt on the label. A label showing a Daily Value of 5% or less is low.
  • Be mindful of your table salt and soy sauce intake

2.     Eat the right type and amount of protein: protein foods are high in nitrogenous wastes. Consuming more protein than the body needs subjects the kidney to extra load.

  • Eat small portions of proteins

3.     Choose less phosphorus containing foods and drinks: too much phosphorus leads to calcium excretion from the bones, making the bones weak and thin.

To limit phosphorus intake,

·       reduce consumption of  dark colored soda drinks and   bottled ice tea

·        limit or avoid food with “phosphate” or “phos” ingredient in their names.

 Work towards keeping you kidney healthy because the build up of any of the nutrients or electrolytes in the bloodstream might cause a number of problems in the long run. Be mindful of your soy sauce and table salt intake. Try using a variety of new spices and herbs instead!

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.