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Health benefits of sweet potato



By Ayo Fadimu

It may sound incredible to many people that potatoes can help them shed some weight. Being one of the most cheapest foods you find in the market, people are beginning to doubt its health benefits.

It has also been found that potatoes sometimes get a bad rap for being starch bombs, but they’re actually incredibly good for you. Here’s a primer on potato health benefits, as well as the best ways to prepare the vegetable to maximize its nutritional value.

A health editor Cynthia Sass,  said one medium baked Russet potato with the skin contains 129 calories, 4.6 grams of protein, no fat, and 37 grams of carbohydrate with about 4 grams as fiber which means the veggie is also loaded with nutrients, including over 30 per cent of the daily value for immune-supporting vitamin C. Plus.

She added that this means it has nearly a third of the daily target for potassium, a mineral that supports nerve, muscle, and heart function, as well as healthy blood pressure.

“Potatoes also provide B vitamins, vitamin K, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese. Spuds are also rich in antioxidants, including phenols, carotenoids, flavonoids, and anthocyanin compounds, which are found in both the skin and flesh of the potato,” she explained.

Sass noted that, potatoes of all varieties are healthy, particularly when consumed with the skin.

“To expose your body to a broader spectrum of antioxidants, include potatoes of all colors, since each pigment is associated with different protective compounds,” she said.

According to a small 2019 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, the study shows the impact of potato purée verse a commercial carbohydrate gel during prolonged cycling.

The researchers found that both foods resulted in equal performance outcomes. If you’re looking for a whole food option to power your workout, consider nibbling on a handful of fingerling potatoes or a small to medium baked potato about 30 minutes before your sweat session.

They also found out that potatoes also supply resistant starch, a unique kind of carbohydrate that’s been shown to naturally up the body’s fat-burning furnace. Like fiber, you can’t digest or absorb resistant starch, and when it reaches the large intestine, it gets fermented, which triggers the body to burn fat.

Another research finds that cooked, cooled potatoes naturally form more resistant starch.

“So to boost the content, allow your potatoes to cool to room temp before you dive in. You can also add leftover, refrigerated potatoes to garden salads or transform them into potato salad, dressed in mustard vinaigrette,” the research finds.

In addition to fat-burning resistant starch, potatoes may offer another benefit linked to weight control. Research shows that potatoes tend to be more satiating than other starchy carbs, such as pasta and rice. In one study, volunteers ate fewer calories when potatoes were consumed as part of a meal, even though there were no limits on portion size. In addition, the potato eaters did not compensate by eating more calories later in the day.

Research published in the journal Clinical Nutrition in 2020 looked at the impact of potatoes versus rice as part of a mixed dinner on post-meal and overnight blood sugar regulation in people with type 2 diabetes.

The potatoes were boiled, roasted and cooled. Each meal contained 50 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent fat, and 20 percent protein. Blood samples were collected from the volunteers before, immediately after, and then every 30 minutes for a couple hours.

The participants also wore a continuous glucose monitor as a way to assess glucose levels during sleep. The study found no significant differences between the potatoes and rice or between the potato preparation. The researchers concluded that potatoes are suitable for people with diabetes when consumed as part of a balanced meal and do not disrupt blood glucose regulation.

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Drug Free World Africa advocates indigenous model to combat drug abuse



A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Drug Free World Africa (DFWA) has proposed an adoption of a public health literacy model derived from African traditional knowledge and ethics to fight substance abuse and drug addiction in Nigeria and Africa.

The proposal was made during a courtesy visit of the organization to the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Lady Chinyere Ekomaru.

The DFWA partners with National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and researchers from the Imo State University, in a bid to curb drug and substance abuse.

According to the leader of the group, Professor Yongabi, a fellow of the African Institute of Public Health Professional and Fellow of the Public Health Practitioner Council of Nigeria, the epidemic of substance abuse and drug addiction is rising at an unprecedented rate in Africa, with far-reaching consequences for the society.
Yongabi outlined the health effects of opioid , tramadol and cannabinoids from the plant cannabis sativa.

He posited that these plants were created for medicinal uses but over the years the phytochemicals have been abused.

He emphasized that the problem is not only a mental health issue but also a socioeconomic one, fueled by poverty and lack of basic needs.

“Drawing from the Nairobi Declaration of 1998 where health literacy was redefined by World Health Organization (WHO), incorporating the socioeconomic determinants, the drug addiction and abuse in Nigeria and Africa at large is propelled by poverty and lack of basic needs but while in the western society it is not predicted on poverty but by mental health related challenges.”

“The epidemiological picture of substance abuse in Nigeria and Africa is rising at an unprecedented proportions and may be incurable like cancer and AIDs,” Yongabi noted.

He proposed a four-pillar model for addressing the issue, which includes access to knowledge about the dangers of substance abuse, understanding the consequences of drug use, using the knowledge effectively, and benefiting from it.

He emphasized the importance of mainstreaming African indigenous knowledge systems into the model to make it more effective.

“The third pillar underpins the use of the knowledge effectively and the fourth pillar is the positive health outcome as a result of having access to the knowledge, understanding the knowledge, use of the knowledge and benefiting from the knowledge.”

“This particular pillar and for the first time addressing drug addiction and substance abuse, the African indigenous knowledge system will be mainstreamed into these four pillars of health literacy so that we can actually have an effective Drug Free Nigeria,” the University Don stated.

Yongabi also highlighted the need for a multidimensional approach to tackle the problem, involving policy makers, young people, adolescents, parents, and government officials.

He urged the Imo State Government through the Deputy Governor to adopt the health literacy model as a policy and roll out capacity building programs for all stakeholders.

“We are requesting the mother of our state; your children should not perish due to lack of Knowledge. Your children are drinking ‘Gutter Juice’ which is a blend of old abused drugs (Cocaine, Marijuana, Crystal Methamphetamine and so on) with their new findings like coke in urine, used sanitary pads soaked in water and so on.”

“Education –‘Drug Abuse Free Literacy’ is the key. Lack of this form of education makes them weak and vulnerable to drug abuse.”

“‘Prevention Is Always Better Than Cure’
Your Excellency, assuming we can’t get a total drug abuse free State, our children in schools Primary, Secondary and even tertiary are crying out for our motherly/parental intervention. Let all not run amok. Drug Free World Africa is reaching out on this tour as major target plans.”

“We therefore solicit your support/partnership on this project. Help us expand our reach and impact across the State. Take it as your Personal Passionate Pet Project (PPPP- P4).
“Drug Free World Africa (DFWA) will run it to your pride in the state. We believe that, this project, if taking and done well, your name will be engraved in every child’s heart, their prayers will lead you
father and protect you now and ever,” he appealed.

Professor Yongabi also highlighted that 60% of Nigeria’s population is made up of adolescents and youth, who are most vulnerable to drug abuse. He urged the government to adopt a clear distinction between medicine and drugs, emphasizing that many people confuse these terms.

He emphasized the need to address new substances that have not been widely known but are being used by young people at local levels, which can lead to addiction and psychopathic effects.

Also speaking, the country representative of Drug Free World Africa, Dr Lina Okereke, highlighted the achievements of the organization and prayed that the Imo State Government should throw their weight on the efforts and achievements gained thus far.

Reacting, the Deputy Governor commended the efforts of DFWA and acknowledged the gravity of the problem, emphasizing that it is everyone’s responsibility to fight against drug abuse. She pledged to work with the team and Imo State University researchers to proffer a drug-free state.

“Substance addiction has been the cause of the incessant insecurities in the state and the country at large . The fight against drug abuse is everyone’s contribution as the perpetrators come from families and that parents and pharmacies are all part of the solution.”

“Our administrator has so far trying tirelessly to uplift the welfare of the citizens of the state and we promise to work with Drug Free World Africa and Imo State University researchers to proffer a drug free state.” Ekomaru promised.

The team stressed that education is key in preventing drug abuse and promoting a healthy lifestyle. They appealed to parents and government officials to take responsibility in creating awareness and providing support for those affected by substance abuse.

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Cholera: NAFDAC educates food vendors and restaurants on proper hygiene practices



The National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has intensified surveillance in restaurants and other eateries to ensure hygeinic practices against cholera outbreak in Sokoto State.
The agency’s state Coordinator, Mr Garba Adamu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday that a team of officials had been detailed to ensure that stipulated sanitary regulations were adhered by all food outlets.
Adamu explained that “the team, headed by NAFDAC’S  Nutrition Officer, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, is to ensure that only safe, hygienic and quality foods are being prepared and sold to consumers.”
He said that through routine inspection,food vendors were mandated to comply with the agency’s guidelines on good hygiene and sanitation practices.
According to him, the effort is to safeguard peoples’ health and prevent the spread of cholera, as cases are being recorded in some parts of the country.
The coordinator cautioned food vendors against using adulterated, counterfeit, unregistered and expired items in cooking their meals, reiterating that NAFDAC would continue the enforcement to apprehend defaulters.
Adamu said the operation would be extended to local government areas, border markets and others as part of the agency’s efforts to ensure only hygienic foods are sold.
He called on the public to be wary of poorly prepared foods, and report any unhygienic practice from any eatery to NAFDAC, reiterating the agency’s determination to safeguard the health of the nation.
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Cholera: Experts recommend that schools and institutions prioritize food hygiene



Dr Ben Akuma, a medical practitioner, has advised schools and public institutions in communities on the need for improved hygiene practices among students and residents.

He said that the call for hygiene practices could never be overemphasised, nor ignored.

Akuma said that washing of hands; fruits and vegetables under running water were part of steps to personal hygiene that should be encouraged regularly, to prevent illnesses such as cholera.

“When dirt is removed from vegetables, the risk of microbiological contamination is reduced as any infected soil or dirt is removed.

“Washing of hands, fruits and vegetables with safe water before eating is necessary. Also meat, fish and vegetables should be properly cooked well.

“Ensure to keep food covered in a clean and cool place, eat fruits and vegetables that you peeled yourself and also avoid eating raw vegetables and fruits not peeled.

“Encourage people to drink only water that they have boiled or treated with chlorine or iodine; these are some of the campaigns that should be ongoing regularly,’’ he said.

The doctor advised schools and other public places to provide wash hand tools, soaps and water to encourage proper hygiene culture.

He described as unfortunate, how some Nigerians only imbibe hygiene culture for a brief period and then return to an unhealthy lifestyle that might threaten their health.

He, however, urged residents in various communities in the FCT to protect themselves, their families and the society at large, by cultivating a hygiene and sanitary culture for the benefit of all.

Similarly, Mr Williams Kolo, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Coordinator, Environmental Health Services Department, Bwari Area Council, said that WASH activities could improve and help prevent and control diseases.

Kolo said the council was working with its partners to improve sanitation and hygiene, especially in primary health centres, public schools and among residents in the various communities in the council.

These interventions, he said included improved water sources, toilet facilities, behavioural change campaigns among others, were part of measures already rolled out to help prevent and control diseases in the area.

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