Friday, 28 June 2013


Caffeine is consumed all over the world, mainly in the form of drinks. It is found in coffee, tea, cola drinks,  energy drinks, chocolate bars and chocolate drinks. Caffeine can also be found in some over-the-counter medicines
Caffeine is a chemical found naturally in the leaves, seeds or fruits of some plants
Caffeine is a stimulant that works on the brain and the nervous system giving people a ‘caffeine buzz’. Caffeine effects people differently and will depend on how often and how much you have. In healthy adults, a small amount of caffeine may have positive effects, can make you feel more alert and full of energy. In large amounts it can make you feel nervous, restless and make it harder to sleep well
If you have moderate to high levels of caffeine you can build up a tolerance. This means you will need more caffeine to give you the same effects. Also, if you have a lot of caffeine you may feel withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, anxiety and irritability if you stop having caffeine
Researchers are also looking at the potential adverse effects of caffeine on:
  • Heart health
  • Bone health
  • Behaviour
  • Cancer risk
  • Fertility
Here is the definition of what is considered low, moderate, high, and heavy amounts of caffeine intake:
·         a low to moderate intake is 130 mg-300 mg per day
·         a moderate is 200 mg-300 mg per day
·         high doses are above 400 mg per day
·         heavy caffeine consumption is more than 6,000 mg/day
Average caffeine content of some food and drinks:
  • Instant coffee (one teaspoon) 60-80 mg
  • Percolated or drip coffee 60-120mg
  • Tea 10-50mg
  • Chocolate bar 20-60mg per 30g bar
  • Energy or sports drinks 80mg/250ml can
  • Cola drinks 50mg/375ml can
For coffee drinkers, the real issue we are concerned about is, Do you have trouble sleeping? If you do, maybe you need to cut down on your caffeine, Are you agitated? Does your blood pressure go up? after a cup of coffee, plan to cut back on caffeine intake. Do you have stress that might be related to being jumpy from caffeine? if you do have symptoms that could be related to caffeine, then maybe you need to be tapering down. As far as avoiding it altogether, that's not necessarily something we need to be doing if we can tolerate it. If we enjoy that cup of coffee there's no reason we shouldn't drink it
One mistake that people make is assuming that decaffeinated means that there is no caffeine in the food or beverage. Decaffeinating happens through a process. According to the site, decaffeinating coffee usually consists of soaking the beans in water to dissolve the caffeine, extracting the caffeine with a solvent or activated carbon, and then re-soaking the beans in the decaffeinated water to reabsorb the flavor compounds that were lost in the initial extract. A study published by the Journal of Analytical Toxicology found that nine out of 10 tested cups of decaf coffee from coffee from shops and restaurants contained 8.6 mg-13.9 mg of caffeine. It also found that decaffeinated espresso shots contained 3 mg-16 mg of caffeine per shot. Another study done by Consumer Reports tested 36 cups of small decaf coffees from six locations. They found that more than half had less than 5 mg of caffeine while the rest had a range from 20 mg-32 mg per cup. Depending on how much you consume in a day, you can end up consuming more caffeine from decaffeinated drinks than you would in one cup of coffee
There is no way to know for sure exactly how much caffeine you consume so it's a good idea to put a limit on the total amount caffeinated and decaffeinated products that you consume. You can also choose products with lower caffeine contents. Make sure that you check the serving size on the can, bottle, etc
Drink lots of water : When you wake up in the morning, drink 8 ounces of water instead of coffee.  It's thought to counteract your desire for other, less healthy beverages



Decrease risk of diabetes

The phytonutrients in apples can help you regulate your blood sugar. Women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples. Apples are loaded with soluble fibre, the key to blunting blood sugar swings
Recent research has shown that apple polyphenols can help prevent spikes in blood sugar through a variety of mechanisms. Flavonoids like quercetin found in apples can inhibit enzymes like alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase. Since these enzymes are involved in the breakdown of complex carbohydrates into simple sugars, your blood sugar has fewer simple sugars to deal with when these enzymes are inhibited. In addition, the polyphenols in apple have been shown to lessen absorption of glucose from the digestive tract; to stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas to secrete insulin; and to increase uptake of glucose from the blood via stimulation of insulin receptors. All of these mechanisms triggered by apple polyphenols can make it easier for you to regulate your blood sugar

Cures both diarrhea and constipation

Whether you can’t go to the bathroom or you just can’t stop, fibre found in apples can help. Fibre can either pull water out of your colon to keep things moving along when you’re backed up, or absorb excess water from your stool to slow your bowels down

Control your weight
Many health problems are associated with being overweight, among them heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. To manage your weight and improve your overall health, doctors recommend a diet rich in fibre. Foods high in fibre will fill you up without costing you too many calories
Prevent cataracts
Though past studies have been divided on the issue, recent long-term studies suggest that people who have a diet rich in fruits that contain antioxidants—like apples—are 10 to 15 per cent less likely to develop cataracts
Get a healthier heart
An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fibre intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.
Apples are also full of a fibre called pectin—a medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of fibre. Pectin is classed as a soluble, fermentable and viscous fibre, a combination that gives it a huge list of health benefits
Recent research has shown that intake of apples in their whole food form can significantly lower many of our blood fats. The fat-lowering effects of apple have traditionally been associated with its soluble fiber content, and in particular, with its fat-soluble fiber called pectin. The modest amount of pectin found in whole apples has now been shown to interact with other apple phytonutrients to give the kind of blood fat lowering effects that would typically be associated with much higher amounts of soluble fiber intake. It's not fiber alone that explains the cardiovascular benefits of apple, but the interaction of fiber with other phytonutrients in this wonderful fruit. If you want the full cardiovascular benefits of apples, it's the whole food form that you'll want to choose. Only this form can provide you with those unique fiber-plus-phytonutrient combinations.The whole food form of apples is also important if you want full satisfaction from eating them
Researchers have recently compared intake of whole apples to intake of applesauce and apple juice, only to discover that people report less hunger (and better satiety, or food satisfaction) after eating whole apples than after eating applesauce or drinking apple juice
Get whiter, healthier teeth
An apple won’t replace your toothbrush, but biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria
Protect against Parkinson’s
Research has shown that people who eat fruits and other high-fibre foods gain a certain amount of protection against Parkinson’s, a disease characterized by a breakdown of the brain’s dopamine-producing nerve cells. Scientists have linked this to the free radical-fighting power of the antioxidants contained therein
Reduce cholesterol
The soluble fibre found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you
Prevent gallstones
Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid, so it solidifies. They are particularly prevalent in the obese. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fibre to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels
Neutralize irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and bloating. To control these symptoms doctors recommend staying away from dairy and fatty foods while including a high intake of fibre in your diet
Avert hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are a swollen vein in the anal canal and while not life threatening, these veins can be very painful. They are caused by too much pressure in the pelvic and rectal areas. Part and parcel with controlling constipation, fibre can prevent you from straining too much when going to the bathroom and thereby help alleviate hemorrhoids
Detoxify your liver
We’re constantly consuming toxins, whether it is from drinks or food, and your liver is responsible for clearing these toxins out of your body. Many doctors are skeptical of fad detox diets, saying they have the potential to do more harm than good. Luckily, one of the best—and easiest—things you can eat to help detoxify your liver is fruits—like apples
Boost your immune system
Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you're stressed out

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


The rainy season is here again, and the excitement is in the air for corn lovers, on the street of Nigeria you find some road sellers roasting and some hawking cooked corn

A popular Nigerian street food which is usually enjoyed with African pear called 'Ube'

 Corn also known as sweet corn or maize, is not only delicious but also stuffed with nutrients and high in fibre making it an excellent food choice. Not only is corn on the cob fun to eat, it is also a very good source of nutrition. One cup of fresh corn is 177 calories, 5 grams of protein, 0 fat grams, and 41 grams of carbohydrates. Corn is considered as a whole grain food

It provides the necessary calories for daily metabolism, it is a rich source of vitamins A, B, E and other minerals. Yellow and white corn have similar nutritional profiles, including in terms of carbohydrate
At 4.6 grams of fiber per cup, corn is a good fiber source,  Its high fiber content ensures that it plays a role in prevention of digestive ailments like constipation and hemorrhoids as well as colorectal cancer. The fiber content of one cup of corn amounts to 18.4% of the daily -recommended value

Blood Sugar Benefits
Given its good fiber content, its ability to provide many B-complex vitamins including vitamins B1, B5 and folic acid, and its notable protein content (about 5-6 grams per cup), corn is a food that would be expected to provide blood sugar benefits. Fiber and protein are key macronutrients for stabilizing the passage of food through our digestive tract. Sufficient fiber and protein content in a food helps prevent too rapid or too slow digestion of that food
Consumption of corn in ordinary amounts of 1-2 cups has been shown to be associated with better blood sugar control in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Corn might help prevention of heart ailments, lowering hypertension and prevention of neural-tube defects at birth 
Also, they are rich in phytochemicals, it provides protection against numerous chronic diseases.

Corn is found to be rich in a carotenoid known as beta-cryptoxanthin which is supportive to the lung health, lowering the possibility of lung cancer. People in a study that ate foods containing beta-cryptoxanthin were found that they had a lower risk of getting lung cancer than those who did not eat foods containing this carotenoid 

Rich Source of Vitamins

Corn is rich in vitamin B constituents, especially Thiamin and Niacin. Thiamin is essential for maintaining nerve health and cognitive function. Niacin deficiency leads to Pellagra; a disease characterised by diarrhea, dementia and dermatitis and is commonly observed in malnourished individuals.

Corn is also a good source of Pantothenic acid that is a vitamin necessary for carbohydrate as well as protein and lipid metabolism in the body. Deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women leads to birth of underweight infants and may also result in neural tube defects at birth. C
orn is an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin

Corn provides a large chunk of the daily folate requirement. Yellow corn is a rich source of beta-carotene that forms vitamin A in the body, essential for maintenance of good vision and skin. The kernels of corn are rich in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant essential for growth

Preparation and Use
fresh sweet corn, cornmeal, grits, corn flakes, popcorn, corn starch
Corn in any form is recommended for weight-gain diets

Friday, 21 June 2013


Its no secret that red meat can be harmful to our health, while its high in proteins, its also packed with with fats that can contribute to heart disease and diabetes  and other compounds that promote cancer
Meat is a healthy food as it contains positive nutrient such as protein, zinc, iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. In small amounts, meat may be beneficial for health
Concerns about meat have arisen from studies that found an overall increase in early death in people with high intake of red and processed meat. A recent study found that processed meat is potentially more harmful than red-meat
Processed meats, sausages, salami, and bacon have more saturated fat as part of processing, the visible or saturated fat is ground into the meat, where as visible fat on redmeat is often removed beffore it is cooked or eaten
Saturated fat has been linked to a higher risk of coronary heart disease, another possible explanation is that processing such as salting, curing, smoking and the addition of compounds such as nitrites may lead to more exposure to carcinogens (compounds that cause cancer)
Eating too much of red meat can harm your health, its high in saturated fats that are known to raise levels of blood cholestorol and contribute plaque build-up in the arteries that raises level of blood pressure and reduces blood flow to the heart
Substituting one serving a day of red meat with other sources of protein such as fish, chicken etc, you dont have to give them up completely, keep your quantities small and reframe your image of a healthy meal. You can add them to your bowl of vegetable salads and stil enjoy your flavors of meat.
Over all lifestyle patterns including a healthy diet and physical activity, not consumption of any individual food have been shown to affect mortality

Monday, 17 June 2013

Juicing is an easy way to provide yourself with a high level of quality nutrition. By juicing, you provide your body with the nutrients from fresh squeezed vegetables and fruits. When you squeeze out the juice of the fruit or vegetable, you receive a concentration of minerals, vitamins and enzymes
Specifically, there are three main reasons why juicing is beneficial. Firstly, the juice hardly requires more digestion; so all its nutritional goodness gets rapidly absorbed into the system. Secondly, when you juice, you use more fruits and vegetables than you could actually eat.
As a result, you drinking a densely packed amounts of vitamins, minerals and other plant-based nutrients. Thirdly, juicing helps in liver detoxification (purging of poisonous substances from the body)
Please note that juicing here refers to fresh homemade juice and not the so-called misleading “100% real fruit” commercial juices on the supermarket shelves! Also, it is advisable to take more of vegetable juices like carrot, cucumber, cabbage, beetroot, spinach, parsley, celery etc than fruit juices because of high content of naturally occurring fruit sugars in them
Vegetables and fruits can also be combined to make mouth watering delicious and of course healthful drinks! Do not add any sweeteners to your juice and try to take them within 20-30 minutes after juicing them before they start losing their nutrients!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

 Its important to know how and when to eat fruits especially the body nourshing ones. Most people think eating fruits means just buying fruits, cutting them and then popping them into our mouths. No. Its not as easy as you think.
Here is the right way of eating fruits
  • It means not eating fruits after your meals
  • It means eating fruits on an empty stomach
Eating fruits this way, will play a major role in:
  • Detoxifying the system,
  • Supplying a great deal of energy for weight loss and other life activities
Fruits are nature's wonderful medicines packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidant and many phyto-nutrients (plant derived micro nutrients). They are an absolute feast to our sight, not just because of their colour and flavor but their unique nutrition profile that help the body stay fit and healthy!

Let's say you eat two slices of bread and then a slice of fruit, the slice of fruit is ready to go straight through the stomach into the intestine, but it is prevented from doing so. In the meantime, the whole meal rots, and ferments, and turns to acid. The minute the fruit comes into contact with the food in the stomach, and digestive juices, the entire mass of food begins to spoil.
When eating your fruits, eat on an empty stomach or before your meals! you have heard people say when i eat bananas, i feel like runing to the toilet, when i eat watermelon i burp, when i eat durian my stomach bloats up.
All these will not arise if you eat fruits the right way-on an empty stomach. The fruits mixes with other putrefying food and produces gas, and hence bloating!
Graying hair, balding, nervous outburst, and dark circles under the eyes, all these will not happen if you take fruits on an empty stomach. This is a scientific fact !
There is no such thing as some fruits like orange and lemon are acidic, because all fruits are alkaline in our body, according to scientific studies: "if you have mastered the correct way of eating fruits, you've got the secret of beauty, energy, longevity, health, energy, happiness and normal weight
When you need to drink fruit juice - drink only fresh fruit juice, not from cans, dont even drink juice that has been heated up. Go Raw, don't eat cooked fruits they are devoid of most nutrients. Eating whole fruits is better than drinking the juice.
To cleanse the body, you can go on a three days fruit fast, just eat fruits and drink natural fruit juice throughout the 3days you will be surprised at how radiant you looks will be.
The overall benefits are manifold, and fruit nutrition benefits are infinite!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Cholesterol may be the greatest enemy to the health of our heart and blood vessels - but it’s also essential to life.

A whitish, waxy fat or lipid, cholesterol can be found throughout the body's blood and tissues, the function of cholesterol in the body includes;
  •  Production of  hormones - part of the cell walls in the body
  • Production of bile acid in the liver - which aid in digestion in the small intestine etc.
High levels of the wrong kinds of cholesterol in the blood may increase the risk of developing heart disease. However, a healthy diet can help to lower your risk of high cholesterol (note)

Factors which may increase your risk of developing high blood cholesterol levels
  • Eating excess amounts of foods rich in saturated fat.
  • A family history of high cholesterol
  • Being overweight.
Cholesterol is a type of fat and (like all fats) is not soluble in water.  Lipoproteins are biochemical assembly that contains both proteins and lipids. It helps transport cholesterol in the bloodstream (as blood is water-based).

 The two main types of Lipoproteins  are:


This is known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol. It contributes to blocked arteries and risk of heart disease. It's current recommendations is to keep LDL cholesterol levels to <2.0mmol/L if at risk of heart disease.


This is known as the ‘good’ cholesterol. It helps protect arteries from a build-up of fatty deposits and helps decrease heart disease risk. HDL cholesterol levels are recommended to be >1.0mmol/L.
The total level of cholesterol in the blood is a combination of HDL (good) cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. When having your cholesterol tested, kindly ask your doctor to check both your HDL and LDL cholesterol. A low level of HDL cholesterol and a high level of LDL cholesterol in the blood will place you at risk of heart disease.
A note on Triglycerides, they are blood fats related to cholesterol and have assumed increasing importance as a cardiovascular risk factor. Among other things, high level of triglycerides are now regarded as strong and independent predictor of the future risk of a heart attack especially when total cholesterol levels are also high. The dietary recommendations to help lower your blood cholesterol will also help lower your triglyceride levels.

People with a high level of LDL cholesterol in the blood may be able to reduce their cholesterol levels by:
  • Having more fibre-rich foods in your diet such as fruit, vegetables and whole grain bread and cereals.
  • Eating foods that are low in saturated fat.
  • Reducing intake of foods that have a high saturated fat content (such as many fatty cuts of meat, biscuits, cakes and fatty take-away foods)
  • Replacing saturated fats in the diet with mono- or poly-unsaturated fats (such as using olive oil instead of butter)
  • Eating some foods with poly-unsaturated and mono-unsaturated fat (such as nuts, avocados and oily fish)
  • Low intake of foods rich in cholesterol.
It was once thought that eating too many cholesterol-containing foods (such as eggs) was the major dietary cause of high blood cholesterol level. But, we now know that eating large amounts of foods containing saturated fats is a bigger problem and has a much greater influence on blood cholesterol levels.

NOTE: Keeping active is also an important part of keeping cholesterol levels healthy. Try to be physically active for 30-60 minutes each day.

Monday, 10 June 2013


Egg is one of the most nutritious food item in our diet, it is rich in minerals, proteins, and vitamins all of which are easily absorbed by the body. It is a good source of essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and iodine. When it comes to calories, a medium sized egg has about 75-76kcal, 6g of high quality proteins and nine essential amino acid. Most protein are concentrated in the white part of the egg known as Albumin.  

Eggs are also a good source of choline; which has been linked with preserving memory, lutein and zeaxanthin; which may protect against vision loss. Eggs are rich in vitamin B, especially Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, D, E, and K. It is the only food that contains naturally occuring Vitamin D. The yolk contains 80% of the calorie and almost all the fat present in egg. The nutritional value of egg makes it good for immunity, strong vision, skincare, nervous system, treatment of macular degeneration, cataract treatment, strong bones and blood formation. 

 Eggs have a lot of cholesterol. The average large egg contains 212 milligrams of cholesterol, If you like eggs, eating one a day should be okay, especially if you cut back on saturated and trans fats. Other ways to enjoy eggs without worrying about cholesterol include not eating the yolk, which contains all the cholesterol. The most commonly eaten eggs are that of chicken, eggs of other birds such as duck, quail and turkey are similar in their nutritional value.

Eating raw eggs, eggs with runny yolks or any food that is uncooked or only lightly cooked and contains raw eggs can cause food poisoning, especially in anyone who is in an ‘at risk’ group. These groups include:
babies and toddlers
elderly people
pregnant women
people who are already unwell.
This is because eggs may contain salmonella bacteria, which can cause serious illness.

Eggs are a good choice as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Junk Food and Health

Junk food also referred to as fast food simply refers to ready to eat convenient foods from an eatery, bukertaria etc

Asides the convenience of ready to eat meal, fast foods also offer a variety of menu which affords the individual eating a complete meal without the stress of preparation.

Creating a balance in our choice of fast food I believe goes a long way in affecting our nutritional and health status.

The first thing to consider is the type or choice of fast food restaurant we patronize, important things to look out for are the look and feel of the restaurant, the standard of the restaurant that is the quality of food cooked and served.

The most important factor is the knowledge of the consumers about their health status, making a good choice at fast food restaurant especially knowing the foods that are nutritionally balanced and healthy for you, for example excess feeding on calories causes obesity.

The relationship between hypertension, fast food and obesity is associated with today's increasingly on the go lifestyle, advances in telecommunication and transportation, access to fast food chain and the easy convenience of these location has increased the prevalence of hypertension.

Regular consumption cause promotion of too many calories which can lead to weight gain and obesity, research has shown that people who eat fast food consume more calories than the people who do not. Those who consume fast food also consume more fat, saturated fat, and sodium while consuming fewer fruits and vegetables.

It is therefore important to make the right choice of a restaurant  to eat in as well as the right type of food to consume in other to improve our overall health. As the saying goes knowledge is wealth and most importantly Discipline.