Historically fruits and vegetables have been identified as the source of vitamins and minerals. Non-consumption and low consumption of fruits and vegetable will definitely result in a deficiency of vitamins and minerals. United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) report April 2017, shows that nearly half of all deaths (Africa and Asia) of children under 5 are attributable to undernutrition. This translates into the unnecessary loss of about 3 million young lives a year. The report reveals further that insufficient intake of fruits and vegetables is estimated to cause around 14% of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, about 11% of ischaemic heart disease deaths and about 9% of stroke deaths globally.
The current UNICEF Country Report for Nigeria indicates 117 under-five mortality rate (U5MR), deaths per 1000 live births, 804 number of under-five deaths in thousands. Inasmuch as Nigeria has achieved 70% Vitamin A supplementation, there is still 36% prevalence of stunting (moderate and severe). The report looks as if Nigeria children don’t feed at all, however, the fault line is the consumption of foods with no nutritional value. Naturally, foods have healing powers that maintain balance in the body, but one of the challenges of our synthetic 21st century is losing touch with natural foods.
On May 11, 2017, the Premium Times story on the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition discussion in Abuja was in affirmative of the above UNICEF report. In their story, the Director of the panel, Ms Thomas expressed regret over the malnourished and stunted children especially in the North East and North West as a result of the consumption of sugary and processed foods. She said that consumption of processed foods was the major cause of malnutrition, obesity, type 2 diabetes, which were on the increase in developing countries.
We want to make this clarification which is that Tummy-Tummy Food Industries Limited (TFIL) is not out to sell products to make profits, far from it, TFIL is in the Nigeria food industry to bridge the nutritional deficiencies in the society. The Research and Development (R&D) at TFIL is leading the campaign for “Eat Right and Be Healthy”. We want to highlight some diseases that can be nipped in the bud by regular consumption of fruits and vegetables.
This is a disease caused by lack of vitamin C and characterised by spongy gums, loosening of the teeth and bleeding into the skin and mucous membranes. The early manifestations include weakness, lethargy (mental dullness), myalgia (muscle pain) and arthralgia (joint pain).
Scurvy can be prevented by eating fruits and vegetables and organ meats e.g. liver and kidney because of the availability of vitamin C. Although some fruits, vegetables and meats have a higher concentration of vitamin C than others. Eating raw foods helps to preserve the presence of vitamin C. Fruits especially citrus fruits are a good daily source of vitamin C because they are eaten raw. Green vegetables are an important source, even though most of the vitamin C are lost in preparation and cooking. Fresh peppers are rich sources of vitamin C. The vitamins in processed foods are lost during processing.
2. Heart Disease
According to Professor Kamar Adeleke, stroke (cerebrovascular accident), hypertension, heart failure and heart attack. He also said these diseases have taken over from malaria as Nigeria’s leading killer disease. (Source www.dailytimes.ng/news/alarming-cardiovascular-dieases-nigeria/).
Heart diseases can be developed when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This makes the arteries narrow, making it harder for the blood to flow throw. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow which results in heart attack or stroke.
American Heart Association recommends adopting a healthy diet that’s rich, vegetables…because fruits and vegetables contribute a number of important nutrients that most people don’t have enough of. It is advisable to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables because there is no single fruits or vegetable that can provide all the nutrients your body needs.
World Health Organization Fact Sheet on Cancer February 2017, reported that 8.8 million deaths in 2015 were caused by cancer. Generally, cancer is the uncontrollable growth of body cells, the cells are transformed into tumours. Cancer has a higher occurrence with age. Tobacco use, alcohol use, unhealthy, and physical inactivity are major cancer risk factors. Researchers have shown that eating fruits and vegetable goes a long way in preventing cancer. Some fruits and vegetables especially the non-starchy like lettuce, cabbage, garlic, onions, broccoli, tomatoes etc.
This is a blood condition in which there are too few blood cells or the red blood cells are deficient in haemoglobin, resulting in poor health. Haemoglobin is a protein present inside the red blood cells and it helps in the transportation of oxygen to various parts of the body. TFIL recommends eating foods that are rich in vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin and iron. Foods that help in the prevention anaemia include liver, eggs, cheese, milk, meat, fish etc
5. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) is when the blood pressure i.e. the force of blood flowing through the blood vessels, is consistently too high. HBP can cause the damage of blood vessels, which could lead to stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. HBP is a silent killer, no symptoms can go unnoticed for years.
Examples of fruits and vegetables that help in minimising the risk of HBP include berries, yoghurt, oatmeal, banana, salmon, fish, nuts, legumes, mackerel, garlic etc.
Tummy-Tummy noodles contain the vegetable supplement the body needs to fight diseases. When you’re eating your Tummy-Tummy noodles, in addition to the highly nutritious vegetables, you can decide to add the vegetables that suit your taste. Eat right and be healthy.