Eating right aids recovery from illness, healthy living


By; Ayodamola Owoseye

Getting to eat right after being diagnosed with an ailment that limits the types of food a patient can eat can be very frustrating, a six years diabetic patient, Ajoke Olusola, says.

Mrs Olusola was advised by her physician to change her dietary pattern after being diagnosed with diabetes.

“I was advised to stop eating some food; majorly carbohydrates, fatty foods and carbonated drinks. Since then, my dietary pattern changed,” she said.

“To get better and reduce my blood sugar level, I was told to do away with some food. Unfortunately most of those foods were my best. It was not easy at first but I had to talk myself into complying. I knew for my medication to work effectively, I need to comply,” she said.

Many people eat without following a healthy dietary pattern. Healthy diet entails eating food from all the sub-groups with the right amount of nutrients.

Promise Hammed, a woman who had high blood sugar during pregnancy, said she started watching her dietary pattern from when she was young. This is because she was aware she had the tendency to be diabetic because her parents were.

“I know it is hereditary so I watched what I ate. I got extra careful after having high blood sugar in pregnancy. Blood sugar test during pregnancy is one of the routine tests for pregnant women and I have continued the test. This helps doctors to quickly detect my case and since then I have been living on a strict dietary pattern,” she said

Another patient, a breast cancer survivor who asked not to be named, told PREMIUM TIMES she had to change her diet after she was diagnosed with the disease.

Her doctors advised her that to win the battle against the disease, she needed to change her dietary pattern.

“I was told to minimise my sugar intake. This is to help reduce the multiplication of the cancer cells because they thrive more on sugar. Unfortunately, that has been very difficult and cost intensive because most of the regular foods we take are sugar-based. All the normal stable foods in the market have one form of sugar, especially carbohydrates which are cheaper and easy to come by.

“I have been living more on vegetables, fruits, and natural foods with less sugar, protein, legumes, among others. The problem however, is that these foods are expensive. Keeping up can be a bit challenging because of the perishable nature of most of these foods. They cannot be bought in bulk and stored. The epileptic power supply is another issue because you cannot buy and keep when you have the money,” she said.

She said keeping to the diet has made feeding expensive.

“This has an indirect effect on the management of illness in the country. A situation whereby one has spent all they have on treatment and they are expected to keep looking for more just to sustain a feeding lifestyle is very difficult and as such, the person tends to make do with the available. This can have a negative effect on the treatment or trigger a worse health condition,” she said.

A dietician, Sarah Abagai, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES on healthy dietary pattern, said people do not need to wait until they are diagnosed of disease before they take care of their health.

She explained that the dietary pattern for each ailment differs according to diagnosis.

“While it is quite difficult to strictly categorise the types of food to be consumed by diagnosed patients, it is advisable to tell people to eat healthy always. Various food are restricted to people with various aliments.

“However, consumption of less fat, less sugar, reduced salt intake, (unless otherwise medically advised), more of natural foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, among others can go a long way to help,” she said.

Mrs Abagai attributed lots of diseases to the lifestyle of people.

“Dietary pattern is an important aspect of people’s lifestyle which affects the health. It is important to understand the type of career one keeps to determine what is being consumed.

“This is because stress affects the body metabolism, which can lead to common issues of high blood cholesterol, high level blood glucose and high blood pressure. All these are fallouts of high stress life,” she added.

Mrs Abagai also advised Nigerians to introduce more herbs into their diet.

Some herbs that can boost your immune system, help you stay fit

  1. Ginger

Ginger is an underground stem, known as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Ginger can be used as treatment for nausea, to fight fungal infections, protect against stomach ulcer and ease menstrual pains. It may inhibit cancer growth, regulate blood sugar, relief joint and muscle pains, lower cholesterol, reduce bacterial infections, ease inflammation and promotes proper digestion.

  1. Galic

This is a specie of onions. It contains vitamins C and B6, manganese, allicin, selenium and other antioxidants. Researches suggest that garlic may be effective against high blood sugar, cardiovascular diseases, cholesterol, cold and some cancers.

  1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon has antioxidant properties. It can lower blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risk factors, and has a plethora of other impressive health benefits.

  1. Raw tomatoes

The tomato is the edible, often red fruit. Tomatoes are vegetable and better eaten raw. It is a good source of vitamin c, potassium, vitamin K1, folate (B9) lycopene, beta-carotene, naringenin, chlorogenic acid. Benefits include treatment of cardiovascular diseases, blood sugar, skin care, etc.

  1. Coriander leaves

These an be used to garnish food. Health benefit of coriander includes treatment of skin inflammation, cholesterol, diahorrea, mouth ulcer, anaemia, indigestion, menstrual disorders, and blood sugar problems.

Other beneficial herbs include Turmeric, Cloves, Onions, chilli pepper, palsy.

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