Opinion: When what we eat, eats us

By ‘Káyọ̀dé Oyèro

There is no mountain as high as mountain ignorance.

Many a time, what we innocently consume for nutritional and health benefits may turn round to hurt us. A wise saying amongst the Yorubas of South-West Nigeria succinctly captures this scenario thusly: “Ikun jogede, Ikun n rerin, Ikun o mo pe ohun to maa pa oun lohun n je.” This translates as “a rabbit delights in banana consumption without knowing that banana does more harm than good to its health.”


Yeah, what we eat eats us sometimes! What we consume sometimes depreciates our health. You may not have come across this type of piece before or you may have. If you fall in the latter category, then consider this a reminder or refresher sort of and if you fall in the former, then, I think you should take your time to digest the information here. Here is a list of what we eat that oft-eats us:

Meat. Excessive and obsessive meat intake has been the major cause of prostate cancer. Red meat contains a lot of harmful saturated fats. Asides, meat creates extra work for the digestive system; meat wear and tear the system gradually. Poultry eggs (other than fried) and oily-surfaced fish from unpolluted hydro sources are amazing protein-suppliers with no side effects.

Salt. Consumption of sodium chloride (salt) is healthy for the body but just as much of a good thing can turn harmful, excess intake of salt is detrimental to the body. It triggers high blood pressure, stroke incidences, heart attack, and can go as far as causing damage to the kidney and eyes. Professional recommendation for salt intake for adult is not more than 3 grams daily (one teaspoon) and not more than 1 gram for young ones. Put the salt shaker away from the dining table to avoid the temptation of shaking a little more during meals. Avoid salt-concentrated meals/snacks. What we consume can indeed consume us if unchecked.

Sugar. Poses similar detriment as salt.

Red wine. Daily intake of a little red wine helps keep the blood pressure down but too much makes it go high which is hazardous to one’s health, so the best place is in the middle – moderation.

Alcohol. Like red wine, alcohol contains a large composition of sugar which is broken down into toxins in the body that produces harmful free radicals when metabolized. Alcohol damages the liver, muscles and brain and depletes the body of essential vitamins and minerals.

Convenience food. Mindless eating or constant intake of foods saturated in fats and sugar composition like meat pies, sausages, pastries, hard cheese, butter and lard, cakes and cookies, candies and drinks are general sources of cancer. Also, menu from eateries more often than not contains preservatives that upon consumption mix with chemicals in the body and turn into toxins (harmful substances) and like cankerworm, it gradually eats and damages the body cells.

Animal fats. Asides that fats cause obesity, it also shrinks blood passages (arteries and veins) and causes cancer. Instead of animal fats, use olive oil; it is rich in protein and amino acid with no dangerous health aftermath.

There is wisdom in moderation. Sometimes, it’s not about abundance, accordance in proportion also matter. Enormity sometimes does not guarantee vitality. But there is no limit to the extent of fruits you can take.

The nutritional benefits of fruits intake cannot be over-stressed, especially considering its tissue-building and antigen-fighting advantages. Fruits are rich in dietary fibers, folic acid and vitamins that not only enrich the body but also nourish the body, repair body tissues, heal wounds and cuts, keep teeth and gums healthy and provide vitality for the proper functioning of the body.

Take for instance, fruits rich in potassium like banana, melon, apricot and dried peaches, orange helps maintain healthy blood pressure level. While others like pineapple helps fight cancer, Pear reduce the risk of heart disease, Water melon helps in recovery from dehydration and weight loss, Carrot reduces the health hazards of automobile stress such as spasm of involuntary body shakes while Pawpaw has an enzyme that enhances ease in the digestion process. Others that don’t make it in my list here are also indispensable in helping to reduce high blood pressure, the risk of cancers stroke and obesity.

“What is in fruits that make it so combative a tool against disease?” you might want to know.

The answer is not far-fetched. It is because fruits are low in fats and have no cholesterol. No wonder the World Health Organization (W.H.O) on so many occasions have organized campaign that emphasized the importance of fruits in fighting so many diseases, both cancerous and non-cancerous. This is sync with the findings of a landmark study published in a medical journal, Nutrition and Cancer, 1992. The study surveyed 152 cancers and found out that of those studies, 128 showed a protective effect from eating fruits.

Also, fruits are not only sources of balanced diet but medically preventive and curative and also beneficial for all age groups, young and old. Not only an apple a day keeps the doctor away, any fruit a day keeps the doctor and death away.


Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

‘Kayode is a product of Grace. He writes from Lagos, South-West, Nigeria. You can send him your views via his mail: [email protected] or tweet him @Imodoye_1

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