Dietician urges Nigerians to take plant foods, to boost immune system
A Clinical Dietician, Mrs Jane Eleodi, has advised people to regularly eat plant foods such as 'dates,’ to boost their immunity and reduce the risk of contracting chronic diseases.
Eleodi, who is a Nutritionist with JSPRINGS Nutrition and Dietary Health, Nature Support Ltd, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday.
She spoke on the sidelines of the first International Conference on Alternate Sweeteners, organised by the International Research Network on Alternate Sweeteners.
Our correspondent reports that Dates, a natural sweetener, popularly called “Dabino’’ by the Hausa speaking people, are usually cultivated in Arab territories, and are quite small in size and vary in colour.
They are fruits of the date palm tree which is grown in many tropical regions of the world.
Eleodi said: “as a dietitian, I always advise people to eat more of 'Phytochemicals’ which are plant-based nutrients.
“Plant-based fruits have lots of antioxidants which serve as protective properties against chronic diseases, and help to boost the immune system and maintain the body.
“The good thing is that we now have dates nature in powder and syrup, a balanced nutritive natural sweetener which when compared to white sugar or other forms of sugars, have proven wholesome health benefits.
“Dates are a good source of instant energy, fibre, fructose sugars and various essential dietary vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, Vitamin B6 and others.
“Other forms of sweeteners have been discovered to lead to constipation because they are mostly refined.
“So, with all the benefits of dates, Pure Dates nature, which is now made into Syrup and powder form, can enhance the taste of meals in every home.
“Human beings love sweet things; and for us to get it right, we need to consume healthy ones that will not impair our health,’’ she said.
Eleodi also said that the chemical constituents in the fruit could easily help a pregnant woman dilate in her third trimester.
The dietician said it could also be used for paediatrics nutrition, as well as serve as complementary feeds for babies from six months, due to its probiotics contents which help gut health.
She said dates could treat anaemia, reduce risks of heart attack, and promote respiratory and digestive health based on its fiber contents.
“Studies have shown that of the other berries like figs e.t.c, dates have more antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoids, and the phenolic acids that help in reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
“The carotinoids and Vitamin A can help to reduce the risk of muscular degeneration and night blindness, including every disease of the eyes.
“Dates are also discovered to reduce osteoarthritis, because of the calcium contents and vitamin D and other nutrients that help in bone maintenance.
Eleodi, therefore, advised men planning for babies to always eat dates, so as to boost their sexual and reproductive health.
She emphasised that dates had been used in the past as a sexual reproductive enhancer, owing to its zinc, selenium and vitamin E components.
Photo Source: NAN