3 Tips to Help You Get the Best Nutrition in Nigeria

Lafun (Cassava) with Ewedu (Jute leaves), Gbegiri (beans soup) and pepper stew with Goat meat and Mackerel in a local Clay dish
Lafun with Ewedu, Gbegiri ans Pepper stew

Getting the best nutrition is so important for improving and maintaining health and well-being.  Whether you are eating at home or out, you can work towards getting the best nutrition.  Here are 3 tips to guide you towards better nutrition for you and your family:

  1. Know your Food content

Boiled Yam with Fish sauce and Sauteed Green beans

You need to pay attention to what your food contains.

A meal that will get you adequate nutrition should contain your carbohydrate (rice, maize, yam, cassava), Protein (Fish, Meat, Beans, Egusi, Milk, Egg), fats and oil (palm oil, vegetable oil), and fruits and vegetables.  You do not have to eat ‘medemede’ to get good nutrition. The local foods that you have around you can supply all these things I mentioned. For Example, a meal of Garri (carbohydrate) and Egusi (protein, fat and vegetable), is a good meal for an afternoon. Ensure that you add plenty vegetables to your Egusi. If you are on a budget, there are ways to cut down on your expenses and still eat okay.

 

One important thing to note when planning your meals is Variety (Diversity). This means that instead of eating just rice morning, afternoon and night, 5 days a week, you should expand your food groups to Amala, Garri, Yam, Sweet Potato, Cocoyam, Moinmoin, Beans porridge, Okpa and the different foods available to you to get access to more nutrients. Here is a list of food groups for you to get great nutrition from:

 

 

  1. Know Better Food Preparation techniques:

Even when you have purchased good foods, one way to stop yourself from benefiting from the nutrients is through poor food preparation. Some tips include:

  • Ensure that you wash your hands before food preparation and wash the raw foods also with clean water
  • Washing your vegetables before cutting to prevent nutrient loss.
  • Avoid overcooking your vegetables; 5 minutes is enough to cook some vegetables.
  • Also, there are some foods that must be properly processed before cooking. E.g. It contains substances that can bind the nutrients and make it unavailable. Per boiling and peeling before drying and processing can remove those substances.
  • Another tip is to eat the whole of the orange flesh after drinking the juice instead of just throwing it away after sucking the juice out. So, choose whole fruits more often instead of fruit juices.

“Bottom line, you need to understand the type of food you have so that you know how best to maximize the nutrients in them.”

 

  1. Know How to Eat your Food

Grilled Pork and sauteed Vegetables

After preparation, the most important part is eating the food. Food is to be enjoyed. Chewing your food properly and in a relaxed environment can help your mood.

 

When you are not in good health, your ability to eat well reduces.  Sickness also makes you weak, have a loss of appetite and you need more nutrients.  Food on the other hand can help you get well faster. Fruits and vegetables in particular are immunity boosters. Take advantage of them.  Most importantly, take the time to visit your doctor, use your drugs appropriately and your meals can help you get your immunity back.

 

Remember that Africa is a hot continent. Increase your fluid intake (water, not minerals and juices) to about 8 cups a day. This will help your kidney function better.

 

For infants above 6 months and toddlers, let them eat their foods and then you can give them water afterwards because they have small stomachs and water can take up space best used by nutrients but have water handy just in case they need it to push some food down.

 

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