Expert Urges Greater Awareness of Nutritional Meals to Boost Health



Dr Ahmad Idi

Expert Urges Greater Awareness of Nutritional Meals to Boost Health

By Hussaina Yakubu
May 31, 2024

In an effort to combat malnutrition and promote the consumption of nutritious foods in Kaduna State, Dr. Ahmad Idi of the Department of Biotechnology at Modibo Adama University, Yola, has called for greater awareness of the benefits of consuming nutritionally rich foods.

He emphasized that certain foods, especially those rich in essential nutrients, can significantly improve eyesight and boost the immune system.

Dr. Idi made this call during an interview following a training session on safe and nutritious food production and home processing for 21 women and youth-led businesses across Chikun, Kauru, Lere, and Jere LGAs in Kaduna State on Friday.

The training was organized by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) under the Strengthening Nutrition in Priority Staples (SNIPS) project.

The SNIPS project, currently being implemented in Kaduna State, aims to ensure the availability of nutrient-rich staple foods to address malnutrition and hidden hunger by offering healthier dietary alternatives.

Dr. Idi pointed out that while fruits are rich in vitamins, they are not always affordable for everyone.

He recommended the use of red maize, which contains carotenoids that convert to Vitamin A, making it more nutritious than white maize.

Similarly, he suggested that sweet potatoes and cassava enriched with carotenoids are preferable for their nutritional benefits.

“Staples like rice, cassava, sweet potatoes, and maize are affordable and accessible to most people”he said

He noted that, it is important to choose varieties that are richer in nutrients, such as those with higher carotenoid content.

He called for increased campaigns and awareness programs to educate the public on selecting the right meals to enhance health and strengthen the immune system.

Dr. Idi believes that such trainings will equip people with the knowledge of why they need biofortified foods and encourage them to consume more nutritious foods.

He urged participants to disseminate the knowledge they acquired in their communities, promoting the consumption of biofortified foods rich in Vitamin A and other essential micronutrients.

He also encouraged them to incorporate biofortified products into their businesses, highlighting their health benefits.

“The training is designed to equip participants on how to use biofortified products, especially staple foods fortified with Vitamin A, due to its significant impact on the immune system and eyesight,” Dr. Idi explained.

“It also covers the utilization of these staples in various recipes, integrating necessary nutrients into commonly consumed foods.

In a separate interview, Mr. Ezekiel Jatau, a farmer, expressed his enthusiasm about the training, noting that it would help participants adopt the right nutritional practices for better health.

He mentioned that he learned how to utilize red sweet potatoes and other items to meet the body’s nutritional needs and planned to focus on farming nutrient-rich products.

Nafisa Shuiabu, another participant, appreciated the organizers for the program.

She shared that before the training, she was unaware of which foods provided the necessary nutrients for the body, but now she knew how to prepare vitamin A-rich foods and juices, such as using potato leaves to make juice.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is implementing the SNIPS project in Nigeria in partnership with GIZ and the Green Innovation Centre for the Agricultural and Food Sector, with support from the German government through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Participants were introduced to nutritional staple crops and taught how to produce nutrient-enriched products from Vitamin A maize, such as tom brown, Tuwon Masara, Chin Chin, Masa dawanke, Dakuwa, Kulikuli pap, and bread.

The training aimed to scale up the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition intervention in Kaduna State to ensure the availability of nutrient-rich staple food products and combat malnutrition and hidden hunger with healthier diet alternatives.

Additionally, the training covered home processing techniques of Vitamin A maize, Vitamin A cassava, and orange-fleshed sweet potato, targeting food processors, farmer associations, cooperative societies, and especially women and youth-led MSMEs. (NAN)

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