View Full Version : Preventitive health- food deficiencies

Jul 24, 2007, 11:10 PM
Nigerian Guardian
Natural Health (http://www.guardiannewsngr.com/natural_health/article08)
How folic acid in flour slashes congenital problems
DR. Philippe De Wals of Universit� Laval's Department of Social and Preventive Medicine has published a study clearly indicating that the addition of folic acid to flours has led to a 46 per cent drop in the incidence of congenital neural tube deformation (mainly anencephaly and spina bifida) in Canada.

Such deformations either result in the child's death or in major health problems, including physical and learning disabilities. De Wals's work as head of a team of a dozen Canadian researchers appears today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The neural tube is the basis of the embryo's nervous system. Poor development of the neural tube, which is sometimes due to a lack of folic acid, can result in major health problems. Folic acid is found in green vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and meat. However, even a balanced diet won't supply enough folic acid for a pregnant mother and the child she is carrying.

Before 1998, Canadian medical authorities were already recommending that women in their child-bearing years consume vitamin supplements containing folic acid. "Canada decided to add folic acid to all flour produced in the country because formation of the neural tube in embryos is particularly intense during the first four weeks of pregnancy, which is before a lot of women even know they're pregnant. Since half of Canadian pregnancies are unplanned and the human body can't store folic acid, it is better to integrate folic acid into the food chain than to focus exclusively on taking vitamin supplements," stated De Wals. Health Canada still recommends taking folic acid supplements to women in their child-bearing years.

Researchers De Wals and Fassiatou Tairou of Universit� Laval's Faculty of Medicine compared the incidence of neural tube deformations before and after the introduction of folic acid--enriched flours for over two million births in Canada. Between 1993 and 1997, the incidence was 1.58 per 1,000 births. Between 2000 and 2002, the rate dropped 46 per cent to 0.86. The biggest improvement occurred in the parts of Canada that had the highest rates of neural tube deformation before 1998 - Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. In Qu�bec, the drop was also pronounced, but closer to the Canadian average.

Currently, only Canada, the United States, and Chile require that folic acid be added to flour. The effectiveness of this practice, as demonstrated by De Wals's team, could encourage other countries to follow suit. Every year, approximately 200,000 cases of spina bifida and anencephaly occur world-wide, adding folic acid to food could reduce that number by half.

Jul 24, 2007, 11:13 PM
Thisday Online'Glitteratti section (http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=84230)

A –Z On Foods … What You Were Never Told About Food And Your Heart.
Wellness & Wellbeing with DR. BISOLA AKINDEKO, 07.22.2007

Beer Ancient civilizations way back in about 5000 B.C. stumbled onto something: fermented wheat and barley. Realizing that this was something good, people recorded it; the world’s oldest known recipe, scribbled on a 4000 – year-old Sumerian tablet, is for beer. As part of our heritage, beer is in a sense a dietary staple. But when it comes to heart health, beer should be viewed as a “good-news bad-news” food. In fact in Nigeria, beers like Gulder, Star, Stout etc actually form part of the staple daily diets of certain individuals.
First, the good news: If drinking is kept “light” or moderate, the equivalent of one to two beers a day, studies show that alcohol has a protective effect against heart disease. Alcohol’s benefit seems to be in raising the cholesterol good-guy HDLs which help scavenge and eventually remove cholesterol from the body. But since women already have higher HDL levels than men, the protective action of alcohol seems to be more beneficial for men.
The news for beer gets even better. Because beer is made from fermented grains, some phytochemicals called flavonoids end up in a bottle of beer. These flavonoids are similar to the heart-healthy phytochemicals found in red wine. According to heart researchers, flavonoids keep blood cells called platelets from becoming sticky and clumping together to form a clot, risking heart attack or stroke. Flavonoids found in beer also help protect artery-clogging LDLs from damaging blood vessel walls. Flavonoid content of beers varies. Dark beers have more pigment, owing to a higher flavonoid content. Largers or lighter beers contain less.
Now for the bad news: Beer contains alcohol – about half an ounce in a 12-ounce, 150-calorie serving. Alcohol spells trouble for those concerned about hypertension. My research studies clearly show that alcohol intake is directly associated with high blood pressure. People who consistently drink six or more drinks daily have a greatly increased risk of suffering from hypertension. Heavy drinking also aggravates blood pressure in people who already have hypertension.
So is beer a heart-healthy drink? If you keep beer drinking in moderation (one to two drinks a week) and don’t already have hypertension, go for it. But keep in mind that drinking any alcohol beverage to excess has its risks, such as driving under the influence and operating machinery while intoxicated. Additionally, excessive alcohol can also increase risks for certain cancers, especially in women who also don’t seem to gain much heart-health benefit from alcohol in the first place.
Bell Peppers (or “Ata rodo”)
For starters, bell peppers come in an array of colors that are sure to liven up any plate. And it’s their color – yellow, orange, red, green, and even purple – that determines the extent of their heart-protecting powers. Bell peppers pack a good dose of the antioxidants vitamin C and carotenes, and research shows these antioxidants work together in protecting the heart. Specifically, vitamin C and the carotenes found in bell peppers, lutein and zeaxanthin, help to keep LDLs from becoming a menace to blood vessels.
Depending on a pepper’s color, the content of this antioxidant team varies. As a pepper ripens, it may change from green to red for example, and the vitamin C content increases along with the carotene levels. One green bell pepper contains about 140 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin C, but a red pepper has a whopping 280 percent. That’s not bad for only 30 calories per serving. The content of the carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin, goes up nine times as the pepper changes color. Yellow and orange peppers, along with purple, also have carotenes that protect the heart. In general, the more intense and brilliant the color, the better.
Bell peppers are best eaten raw for maximum vitamin C and carotene content. But since they’re so rich in these nutrients, cooking peppers, such as baking or microwaving, still leaves behind plenty of heart-healthy goodness. Use a mix of freshly sliced peppers as a dipper for your favorite low-fat dip or in salsa. Grilled peppers make a great addition to fish, chicken, lean beef, or grilled tofu. Or why not chop some fresh pepper into your stew after cooking.
No matter how you slice it, bread is good food. And it’s good for your heart, too. Since Biblical times, bread has been synonymous with nourishment. Virtually all cultures around the world have some form of bread as a dietary staple. And while not all of these should come to you as a slice of bread, it still leaves a lot of room each day for enjoying the heart-warming goodness of bread and bread products. A serving of bread is one slice, about one ounce or 28 grams. Be aware that when slicing your own from a freshly baked loaf you’re likely to serve up a hearty slice that may equal two or even three servings. A bagel, average frozen variety, equals two bread servings, while the king-sized variety may equal four.
Bread-like goodies including scones and doughnuts most often have added sugar and fat. If you are looking for whole grain, low-fat goodness, be careful when shopping amongst these treats. Many of these baked goods come with unwanted fat, anywhere from one to five teaspoons in a croissant. A bran muffin, for example, while a good source of fiber may have over 15 grams of fat in one muffin-that’s 135 fat calories! If you can purchase fat-free versions, by all means do. Remember your heart loves bread, not fat.
Tops on my list of favorite foods is fresh baked whole-grain bread slathered with berry fruit spread. What’s your favorite way to eat bread? How about a hearty slice to mop a sauce off your plate, or toasted sourdough bread with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and a tomato slice? Stuffed with an omelets maybe even tuna filling or crumbled into a bowl of steamy hot, vegetable soup? Any way you slice it, bread is good, heart-healthy food.

Jul 24, 2007, 11:19 PM
I don't know how many people have been following the Dangote NAFDAC bouhaha some of which was highlighted on this richest black man thread (http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/board/articles-comments/38780-richest-black-person-world-dangote-interview-2.html). Well, in the interest of fairness, I decided to follow this case since it deals with a public health issue and the complaince or lack of Dangote Group

SON Commends Dangote for Sugar Fortification

Thisday archives (http://www.thisdayonline.com/archive/2004/07/26/20040726bus15.html)--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dr. John Akanya, the Director General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has commended the management of the Dangote Group for its efforts to meet the challenges of producing refined fortified Sugar in Nigeria.

Dr. Akanya gave this commendation recently in Lagos, shortly after leading a team of SON officials to inspect Dangote's

Sugar Ref~nery in Apapa. The inspection was to verify Dangote's level of compliance with the directive to fortify locally refined Sugar with Vitamin A. Vitamin A Sugar fortification is meant to enhance efforts to eradicate diseases due to Vitamin A deficiency in Nigeria.

The SON boss said that Dangote as an organization has encouraged SON in the battle to ensure quality and standard in Sugar production in Nigeria. He said it is encouraging that Dangote is not limiting its fortification efforts to Sugar but also extends to other products.

He noted that though fortification of refined Sugar with Vitamin A is a government policy, Dangote as a stakeholder has shown a lot of determination towards its actualization.

Said he, "We know because of the technicalities involved, there may be some hiccups, but we are very delighted at your efforts and what you have achieved."

He stated further that Dangote has demonstrated its interest in the Sugar fortification. "You have interest because you have invested, we are also interested because we want to protect interest that will make Nigeria move forward and we need every

Nigerian to work with us, and we want to encourage you on what you are doing," he declared.

Also speaking after the factory inspection, Mrs M. E. Eshiett, the Deputy Director of SON, commended Dangote's efforts so far on the fortification of its Sugar with Vitamin A. She, however, advised the organization to do a post sale analysis of its Sugar by collecting samples from the market for analysis in the laboratory to ascertain its Vitamin level after exposure to light and air, two major ways through which Vitamin can be lost.

She also urged Dangote to install a thermometer in its store, where imported Vitamins are stored before use to be able to ascertain and maintain the appropriate temperature required for the vitamins.

The General Manager, Dangote Sugar Refinery, Mr Maryould M. Elsunni, while speaking after the factory inspection stated thit the Dangote Group took the challenge of Sugar fortification with Vitamin A seriously because of its importance to the health of Nigerians. He said: "When you gave us the challenge on Sugar fortification, we took it and we are happy for what we have achieved, we probably have the best system for Sugar fortification in the world today," he boasted.

He added that Dangote pursued the Sugar fortification with Vitamin A seriously because the company is aware that the whole nation will benefit from the policy. "If Sugar fortification with Vitamin A helps in the reduction of Vitamin deficiency disease, the nation is a winner, our children are winners and Dangote is a winner," he said.

According to him, he will be personally delighted if Dangote's efforts held in the eradication of blindness among children in

Nigeria because as a father, he loves children and will want to do anything to help protect their future.

He disclosed that since the commencement of the fortification programme, Dangote Refinery has been training its staff to ensure that they know hoe to use the equipment for the fortification.

Mr Knut Ulvmoen, Dangote Group Managing Director assured the SON Inspectors that Dangote is committed to Sugar fortification with Vitamin A as well as the fortification of its other food products with important micro nutrients.

Mr Olakunle Alake, Executive Director, Strategic Services, Dangote Group who was also present at the factory inspection assured the SON team that Dangote remained committed to Sugar fortification with Vitamin A.

There were reports that Dangote failed to meet the required compliance which lead to it's plant closure.

Dangote Faults Nafdac Over Mill Closure

Daily Champion (Lagos)
22 May 2007
Posted to the web (http://allafrica.com/stories/200705220891.html) 22 May 2007

By Ebere Nwoji

DANGOTE Group of Companies yesterday reacted to the recent closure of its Kano Floor Mills by the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) describing the regulatory agency's action as a punitive rather than corrective measure.

The company at a media briefing to state its position on the matter expressed surprises at the action of NAFDAC questioning the rationale behind closing its six factories for an offence committed in only one product Danvita which is just one per cent of products manufactured in the Dangote factories in Kano State.

Dangote Chief Operating Officer, Mr Olakunle Alake at the briefing explained that Danvita which is Dangote's brand of semolina is a good quality product used as a vehicle to carry nutrients and not a life endangering product as alleged by NAFDAC.

He condemned the action of NAFDAC in sealing the Kano factory of the company saying it is odd, absurd, unprofessional and unusual arguing that NAFDAC after all had certified the product after carrying out all necessary analysis to confirm that the product is produced to meet the recommended standard.

He related the circumstances that led to the closure of the factory saying NAFDAC on Wednesday, May 16, paid unscheduled visit to the Dangote Kano plant requesting to see the facilities for and records of the company's fortification of Danvita with Vitamin 'A' premix.

He said the NAFDAC officials were promptly informed that the company's equipment for the fortification had just been acquired for the Kano plant and would soon be installed.

The Dangote boss said NAFDAC was also informed that similar equipment had been installed and commissioned at Apapa and Ilorin plants which are available for their inspection next month.

He said in spite of this explanation NAFDAC requested for records of the company's fortification for the past one year which they were given.

Mr Alake however, said he was surprised on Thursday May 17 at about 2.45 pm to see three vehicles, fully loaded with NAFDAC officials, armed policemen and members of the press storm the factory under the leadership of NAFDAC zonal deputy director, Mrs I PC Nnani announcing to the Dangote Kano management team that she had come to seal the factory for non-fortification of its Danvita brand of semolina with Vitamin 'A'.

He said the NADFAC director immediately ordered all the staff of the company to not only leave the factory building but also the administrative building services and maintenance building.

He said after this order the Dangote Kano complex was sealed without even the presence of the company's security personnel to watch over the assets of the company.

According to him, neither the explanation to the agency that the product in question was produced from one of the six mills and that the company was prepared to suspend production from the mill until full compliance nor the company's request to be allowed to continue production of its flag product the Dangote brand flour from the other five mills moved the agency.

Lamenting further the action of NAFDAC Mr. Alike stated "our Kano floor mills directors and management team were at NAFDAC for the meeting on May 18, 2007 adding even though some of their inferred effects of non-fortification left us in total shock, we as a company have business, nutritional and pharmaceutical expertise to know that there was no basis for the request by NAFDAC to recall our Danita product," he explained.

This issue and the controversy it generated obviously cost the NAFDAC DG, Dr Akunyili a ministerial slot... this was blogged about here (http://nigeriahealthwatch.blogspot.com/) and debated here (http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/board/articles-comments/38780-richest-black-person-world-dangote-interview-2.html) in the articles section. Stay tuned to this page for more information on this issue

Jul 24, 2007, 11:26 PM
Thisday Glitteratti (http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=84234)

Benefits of Tea
Health with Vivian Eyota, 07.22.2007

Tea has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer benefits. An antioxidant works against “free radicals” which are unbalanced molecules that oxidize skin and body cells leading to aging. The plant leaf known as Camellia sinensis is where black tea, green tea, oolong tea and white tea are derived. Drinking tea contributes to beautiful skin and a healthy body with additional benefits such as reducing the risk of heart attack and preventing osteoporosis.
The teas derived from this plant differ in the way they are dried and fermented. They are rich sources of Vitamin C and E and contain Tannic acid. Tannic acid helps clean the skin and eliminate odour causing bacteria. Green Tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine which has a calming effect against the caffeine found in tea. There are also herbal teas made from dried plants, flowers and leaves such as hibiscus, chamomile, mint, rose petals and rosehips.
Black Tea is fully fermented during processing and has the antioxidant benefits found in green and white tea but to a lesser extent. It doesn't taste as grassy as green tea because it is fermented. The fermentation process reduces the antioxidant effect.
Green Tea is not fermented at all and Oolong Tea is in between black and green tea in processing. Green Tea probably is the most beneficial of all teas owing to its properties and availability. Its proven anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial to the skin. It is also known to help strengthen teeth (due to the fluoride content), inhibit breast and ovarian cancer, burn fat, reduce insulin resistance and promote a healthy heart to mention a few. Research has shown that the breast cancer risk in Japanese women is significantly reduced in those who drink 6-10 small cups of green tea per day.
White Tea is the least processed of all teas and is similar to green tea. It tastes light and sweet and does not have the grassy taste of green tea. The white tea leaves are picked and harvested before the leaves fully open and the buds are covered with white hair hence the name. It has the most benefits of all the teas as it contains the most cancer fighting antioxidants and its scarcity makes it more expensive. There is considerably less caffeine in white tea (15mg per serving) than the other varieties with Black Tea containing 40mg per serving and Green Tea 30mg per serving. White Teas are produced mostly in China and Japan . The Darjeeling region of India also produces some fine white teas.

Health Benefits of Herbal Teas
There are several plants used for herbal teas and the health benefits are varied. The following are some commonly consumed herbal teas .
• Chamomile Tea calms the nerves, induces sleep, eases cold symptoms and soothes the stomach. The flowers are used.
• Ginger Root Tea improves circulation, relieves cold and flu symptoms, eases stomach cramps and nausea, eases menstrual cramps and regulates blood sugar.
• Rooibos Tea is herbal tea from South Africa . It's distinctively red in colour, and has a strong sweet taste, with a nutty aftertaste. It's rich in antioxidants and has relaxing properties.
• Fennel Tea from its seeds, improves appetite, aids the digestive process, relieves stomach cramps, eliminates flatulence and soothes sore throat and cough.
• Kava Kava Tea promotes sleep, is a muscle relaxant, eases anxiety, is a diuretic and it promotes urinary tract health. The roots are used.
• Mint Tea from its leaves eases stomach and digestive problems, helps relieve headaches and is relaxing.
• Rosehip Tea from its seed pods or “hips” has antioxidant properties, is a good source of Vitamin C, eases headaches and prevents bladder infections.
• St. John's Wort Tea from its leaves relieves anxiety and irritability, is a relaxant, lifts the spirit and improves mood.
• Thyme Tea from its leaves boosts the immune system, promotes perspiration, is antiseptic and it eases sore throat and cough.
• Yarrow Tea from its flowers reduces cold symptoms and chest congestion and improves digestion and appetite.
• Valerian Tea from its roots is a relaxant, promotes sleep, eases nerves and relieves stomach cramps.
• Licorice Root Tea relieves cough and sore throat, improves digestion, eases menstrual cramps, reduces seasonal allergies and is believed to increase libido.
• Burdock Root Tea stimulates the liver, cleanses the blood, is anti-inflammatory, helps regulate blood sugar and has antioxidant properties.
• Cinnamon Tea from its bark improves circulation, eases cold and flu symptoms, relieves stomach upsets and menstrual cramps and helps regulate blood sugar and insulin.
• Strawberry Leaf Tea from its leaves and not the fruit soothes the stomach, relieves diarrhoea, and helps ease arthritis and rheumatism.
• Nettle Tea from its leaves is rich in Vitamins A and C, cleanses the blood, improves liver and kidney function, eases cough and other respiratory problems, and relieves diarrhoea and constipation.
• Sage Tea from its leaves calms nerves, improves digestion and eases lung congestion and cough.
• Fruit Teas Various fruits have also been used as infusions for tea.
Tea Beauty Tips
• Eye puffiness can be treated by applying cool moistened tea bags over them for about 10minutes.
• Soaking feet in black tea helps reduce odour because of its astringent and antibacterial properties
• Placing a moistened green tea bag over an insect bite or wound helps soothe the area and reduce itching and swelling.
• A cooled strong cup of green tea may be used as an astringent for acne prone skin.
• Herbal Tea could add colour to hair. Sage will darken hair, Chamomile lightens blonde hair and Hibiscus tea gives red hair highlights.
• Using black or Ceylon tea for mixing henna hair colour instead of water improves the intensity.
• Sunburned skin may be soothed by having a tea bath. Run a tap over 4 to 5 teabags of Green, Jasmine or Oolong tea to fill bathtub and soak in warm water. Gently pat body dry and apply a soothing moisturiser.

Jul 27, 2007, 11:10 PM
NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/24/opinion/24tue3.html?th&emc=th)

July 24, 2007
Is It Safe to Eat?
President Bush took a potentially useful step last week, appointing a cabinet-level committee to find ways to ensure the safety of imported food and other products. But his actions would be a lot more credible if the administration had not been cutting the staff and budget of food safety programs at the Food and Drug Administration while also planning to eliminate half of the agency’s laboratories.

Hearings before a House oversight subcommittee raised serious questions about the F.D.A.’s ability to protect the public against contaminated or adulterated foods. William Hubbard, a former top agency official who consults for a coalition of industry and consumer groups, told the committee that the F.D.A. has lost some 200 food scientists and 700 field inspectors over five years, exactly the wrong direction when food imports are skyrocketing. He also noted that the small budget increase the White House has proposed for food safety next year would be a decrease after accounting for inflation.

As if that weren’t discouraging enough, the committee’s chief investigator described how porous the current safety shield is. Agency personnel, he said, inspect less than 1 percent of all imported foods and conduct laboratory analyses on only a tiny fraction of those. Overwhelmed entry reviewers at one field office have so many items to screen that they typically have less than 30 seconds to decide whether an import needs closer scrutiny. Importers also learn to game the system by sending goods to lax entry points or mislabeling them. And they are allowed to take possession of suspect goods and arrange testing by private laboratories whose work is often shoddy or driven by financial concerns.

The F.D.A. insists that its plan to close 7 of the agency’s 13 laboratories will actually improve its capabilities, by allowing greater investment in modern equipment and training at the six remaining laboratories. That could conceivably be true, but the House investigator worries that there could be a tremendous loss of talent when laboratory analysts resign rather than be relocated. Congress and its research arm, the Government Accountability Office, will need to determine if this is a genuine move toward modernizing some aging laboratories, or a step that could further weaken the F.D.A.