What is fulfilment without some sort of financial security? However little, money makes the world go round, and enables us live a good life and achieve our aims. There is no way of achieving all of this without hard work. With our busy schedules, we sometimes forget that staying healthy is a priority. Afterall, good health is the necessary wealth that is needed to navigate through life.
The hustle and bustle of life shifts our focus and when we get hungry, we grab the next available thing to eat, most of the time fast foods laden with trans-fat and other foods made with oils we cannot vouch for.
When cooking, a lot of people do not pay attention to the nutritional value of the meals being prepared. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this even more difficult as many homes now operate on a shoestring budget. Cooking oil is often used and reused until they turn dark and putrid in a bid to save cost. Whether you’re dependent on fast foods or economising food resources, trans-fat has slowly crept into the meals of everyday Nigerians regardless of their social class.
There are two types of hydrogenated oils – partially hydrogenated and fully hydrogenated oil. Partially hydrogenated oil increases the bad cholesterol and lowers the good cholesterol in the body which could lead to cardiovascular and other heart-related diseases, while a fully hydrogenated oil contains less trans-fat and is of less risk to the body.
Experts warn and urge the world to pay attention to their diet. The World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2021 reported that cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of deaths globally.
A year earlier, an estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs, representing 32 percent of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85 percent was due to heart attack and stroke. WHO estimates that there are 500,000 global deaths per year due to coronary heart diseases attributed to trans-fatty acids.
Hema Khanchandani, a director of advocacy with the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), says Nigeria recorded about 3, 229 deaths attributed to trans-fat-related cardiovascular diseases in 2019. Foods responsible for such illnesses include chin-chin, bean cake, noodles, plantain chips, fried and baked foods, etc.
Regardless of what our daily routine is, it is important to pay adequate attention to your food intake and diet. To avoid the accumulation of trans-fatty acids, caution must be applied when consuming foods with partially hydrogenated oil and fried foods. We must be careful with margarine, crackers, packaged and frozen foods and opt instead for fully hydrogenated oil which poses less risk.
Palm oil, olive oil and avocado oil are considered safe to consume in moderation.
You could create a proper work and diet plan for yourself to help you live a fulfilled life. As it is almost impossible to identify foods that are prepared with trans-fat oil without proper labelling and regulations on limit of trans-fat in processed foods, consumption must be done with caution and in moderation.
With cardiovascular disease on the rise, it’s important for NAFDAC and the health authorities to ensure that these regulations become laws so that Nigerians can be aware and have a reference point regarding their trans-fat consumption, and for industry players to properly monitor what is put in the market.
It is said that health is wealth.
Twitter: @aderonkew Email: [email protected]