Nigerians have been advised to be conscious of what they eat in order to live long.

According to a health and dietary coach, Rev Tony Akinyemi, good foods can help people to grow old gracefully.

Akinyemi, who spoke at the 50th birthday lecture of a Chevron worker,  Kayode Adeboye, with the theme: Growing old without ageing, said good foods could help  slow down the ageing process when consumed appropriately.

Ageing, he said, was not the result of one factor, but the cumulative result of many factors, especially micro-nutrient deficiency.

Akinyemi listed arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, menopause and loss of libido/erectile dysfunction (ED) as the common symptoms of ageing as well as lack of agility and eye diseases.

 

He advised mothers to breast feed their babies exclusively, saying lack or partial breast feeding can impact negatively on the lives of babies at old age. Babies should be breastfed from the first day of life to six months. When babies are between six to18 months, adult foods should be included. People in the age group of 18 months and 25 years should eat several cooked meals daily, not necessarily three times daily. It can be up to four times or more so that the system can develop rapidly,” said Rev Akinyemi.

He said, “Two cooked meals a day are appropriate for people between ages 25 and 40. In the same vein, one and a half cooked meals a day with salad and fruits are good for those between 40 and 50. Those above 50 should take one cooked meal a day, should take vegetable, juices and fruit to support their meals.”

Akinyemi said: “Fruit should preferably be eaten in the morning for cleansing of the system. It is more than eating a balanced diet; you might be eating the right food at the wrong time.”

He spoke of the life expectancy of Nigerians being low compared to other countries in sub- Saharan Africa. “It is below world’s average,” he noted, saying: “Two years ago, Ghana had the highest life expectancy age in sub- Saharan Africa, which is above 65 years. But 6.1 per cent of Nigerians make it to the age of 55.”

The health coach said longevity risk factors are numerous but can be managed.

He listed heredity, race, gender, ultra- violet (UV) ray exposure, environmental and weather conditions as non- modifiable factors, which can blight old age. “So, people should make sure they are not exposed to UV rays and they should keep their immediate environment clean,” he said.

Some of the modifiable risk factors, he said, poor diet, stress, disease, sexual promiscuity, smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, and sleep deprivation.

Stress, Akinyemi said, plays a big role in reducing life span, saying it cannot be eradicated but managed.

He said: “The probability of dying from terrorist attack is infinitesimal while that of food poisoning is one out of seven persons. Cancer is one out of three persons and smoking is one out of two smokers”

The modifiable factors, he said, can cause up to 70 per cent of cancer cases.

His words: “If we begin to address the modifiable factors, we would reduce disease that we are prone to. Health does not flow from syringe.”

Akinyemi urged people to avoid habits that are destructive or high risk behavior, such as the excessive intake of sugar and salt as well as late night meals.

He prescribed a daily rest of six to eight hours, weekly rest of a day and annual rest of minimum of two weeks as part of sleep therapy, adding “Make room for adequate rest.”

The dietary coach advised that people should not wait until there is crisis before assessing their health status.

Akinyemi said supplements are supportive to the body system but they should be used wisely.

He mentioned beta glucan, probiotics, vitamin D, Fibre (Psyllium Husk), folic acid and calcium as some of the vital supplements people can take.

“Supplements convert homocysteine to glutathione which is useful to the body. High blood level of homocysteine weakens the immune system and causes ageing,” he said.

He identified homocysteine as an amino acid that the body makes from another amino acid called methionine.

He enjoined asthmatics not to take peanuts, soya, wheat, cow milk and corn because they can be deleterious to their health.

The celebrator said he organised the health talk so as to assist more people attain longevity of life.

The Nation

Growing old without aging- Health guru

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