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Fish and Soyabean: A Great Combination For Improved Human Health

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By Adewolu Morenike A.

Introduction
One of the serious problems facing developing countries today is how to match food production levels, particularly proteinous foods, with increasing demand by a growing population. The magnitude of this problem is shown in the prevalence of kwashiorkor and other diseases associated with protein deficiencies. In Nigeria, the average protein intake is low; it is estimated as 45.4g per day. This is below the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)\World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation of 70g per day with half coming from plant sources and the remaining half from animal protein sources. This article highlights the importance of fish and soyabean protein as crucial diets for Nigerians.
Fish as the healthiest animal protein source
Fish, when compared to beef, chicken, and milk protein has a higher tendency to support health in terms of digestibility, biological value, protein efficiency ratio and amino acid profile. Fish is the most easily digestible of all the dietary animal proteins because of the presence of lower connective tissue. Human beings can utilize up to 85% (WHO). In addition, the cost of fish production when compared to other livestock is cheaper. Fish is more available and readily affordable than other animal protein sources.
Nutritional benefits of eating fish
Nutritionally, fish can be classified into three major categories:
Oily Fish – These fish contain significant amount of oil (about 30%) in their body tissues, belly cavities and guts. Examples are mackerel, salmon, sardines and catfish
Lean Fish – These are the white fish with lower amount of fat content. Examples are soles, cod fish (panla) and tilapias
Shell Fish – These are fish that are covered with shell. Examples are crabs, oysters, lobsters and prawns\shrimps
Fish is an important source of high-quality and digestible protein that contains all the essential amino acids.
It contains water soluble vitamins like vitamin B complex, vitamin B12, B6, B2, folic acid, biotin and very little quantity of vitamin C. It is also rich in fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K. Fish also contains important micronutrients (minerals) such as calcium, iron, selenium, zinc, lead and copper. These minerals may be beneficial or toxic to man, depending on the level of exposure. Fish, especially marine fish, are a dietary source of iodine. It is an important source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Basically, the most important nutrients needed for human body are found in fish. Several factors may affect the nutrient composition of fish, these include the age or size, sex, environment, season of the year, amount of food available and physical activities.
Some fish species stop feeding before spawning and draw on their protein and fats reserves, thus affecting their nutrient content. Also, fish, when overcrowded, may not have enough food intake thereby affecting the nutrient composition. It is important to mention that nutrient content varies within an individual fish. For example, fat may not always be distributed uniformly throughout the flesh of a particular fish. In Pacific salmon, there may be twice as much fat in the muscle around the head as in the muscles of the tail.
In the lean fish of cod family, the fat content of the muscle is generally low, below 1%. Majority of the fat content is in the liver, which is not normally eaten, and may contain greater quantities of oil soluble vitamins A and D. In contrast, these two vitamins may be present in the flesh of other fish, e.g eels. The nutrient content of fish, if carefully processed, are not affected by preservation, provided storage is not very prolonged.
Eating fish may lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes because of the presence of omega-3 fatty acids. The high amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids in oily fish is valuable in decreasing the serum cholesterol. Fish, as a good source of vitamin D and calcium, can improve bone health and growth. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish are beneficial to improving visions and eyes health.
Eating of oily fish may improve quality of sleep due to the high concentration of vitam in D. Fish as a high packed nutrient, when eaten, may boost our immune system, especially during this period of COVID-19 pandemic. Fish oil is supportive in lowering blood pressure due to its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help in the breakdown of triglycerides and fatty acids in the liver, thereby lowering the risk of fatty liver disease. It helps blood flow to the brain and improves its performance during mental tasks. The fat and the pituitary gland in the fish head are rich in Vitamin A, which can fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Higher consumption of fish can reduce the inflammation of joint in rheumatoid arthritis, prevent depression and may reduce the risks of autoimmune diseases. Research has shown that children who consume fish regularly have lower risk of asthma, improved memory and reduced risks of contracting diseases. It is recommended to eat two to three servings of fish per week to enjoy all the benefits.
Soyabean as the healthiest plant protein source
In line with the FAO/WHO recommendations that half of the estimated protein needed by man may come from plant sources, the plant protein source may come from soyabean, which is affordable and contains essential nutrients. Soyabeans are unique from other legumes because they have a concentrated source of isoflavones and have weak estrogenic. They have higher amount of protein and fats than other legumes. They are relatively low in carbohydrate. Nutritionally, soyabean is one of the best sources of high-quality plant protein, containing about 40-56 per cent of the dry weight. The fat content is approximately 18 per cent of the dry weight, mainly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids and zero cholesterol.
The predominant type of fat in soyabeans is linoleic acid, which accounts for about 50 per cent of the total fat. Soyabeans are low in carbohydrates, hence very low on the glycemic index (GI), which is a measure of how foods affect the rise in blood sugar after a meal. Soyabeans contain a moderate amount of soluble and insoluble fibre. It is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K1, the B-vitamins, folate, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and thiamine. They are a rich source of various bioactive plant compounds, including isoflavones, saponins, and phytic acid. Generally, composition, protein quality and nutritive value of soybeans depend on numerous factors, including seed variety, environmental conditions during growing, harvesting and storage of the beans.
Health Benefits of Soyabeans
Soyabeans have a number of health benefits. It may reduce the risk of cancer. The isoflavones and lunasin in soyabean may be responsible for the potential prevention of cancer. Exposure to isoflavones early in life may be protective against breast cancer later in life. The high levels of antioxidants in soyabean may prevent the onset of several cancers; it may help to kill several cancer cells and remove free radicals from the body. Research studies indicate that isoflavones, found in soyabeans, may alleviate menopausal symptoms. A number of studies suggest that consumption of soyabeans can help lower the cholesterol in the body by 4-6 per cent.
The high amount of fiber in soyabeans may help to lower the cholesterol from other foods. It plays a vital role in the digestive system. People suffering from constipation are advised to consume fibre-rich foods to help them excrete regularly. Soyabean also contains oligosaccharides, a carbohydrate that is known to stimulate the growth of healthy gut bacteria, acting as a prebiotic. Soyabeans help in healthy weight management. Its high protein content allows for the development of leaner muscle it helps in regulating insulin levels thereby curbing obesity. Soyabeans may lower high blood pressure because of its high protein, high potassium and low carbohydrate content, a mixture that helps to bring down blood pressure.
Fish and Soyabeans combination
The combination of fish and soyabeans makes it a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids and other important nutrients needed in the human body. Dietary habits of consuming soyabeans and fish have a lot of health benefits, as this combo can lower the risk of diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, cancer and other diseases affecting millions of Nigerians. This combo is cheap and readily available. Nigerians, especially the pregnant women, children and the elderly, can survive and live healthily on it. This superfood is recommended to all.
Adewolu Morenike is a professor at the Lagos State University and specialises in Fish Nutrition.

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Food

Resolving Malnutrition Challenge Amidst The Pandemic

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By Reginald Onabu
The year 2020 was an unusual one in every sense of the word. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic made sure of this. To remove any doubt about the threat that the virus posed to every country in the world, the World Health Organisations (WHO) recognised the COVID-19 as a global pandemic.
Today, the impact of COVID-19 pandemic is global. There is hardly anyone who has not been affected by the pandemic to some degree. In a country like Nigeria, it has precipitated mental, emotional, social, business-related and financial impact.
Nigeria is home to over 230 million people, the bulk of whom are young. While the country has experienced relatively small numbers of COVID-19 deaths, the resurgence of a second wave is a cause for concern. Another cause for concern is the growing incidence of severe poverty and malnutrition. About 40 per cent of the nation’s population continues to live on less than $1.90 US dollars a day.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently released a poverty and inequality report which highlighted that over 83 million Nigerians are extremely poor. This report, which is a basis for measuring poverty and living standards in the country, is used to estimate a wide range of socio-economic indicators, including benchmarking of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Indeed, many children and families still lack access to affordable nutritious foods. This often results in a lack of essential nutrients in their daily diet, which can lead to severe malnutrition and protein deficiency. Protein deficiency is a negative nutritional condition produced by a deficiency of proteins in the body.
Experts indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn will probably further aggravate these issues.
In many ways, the pandemic seems to have helped to shed light on what is really important in the world today, and that is good health.
Evidently, an essential ingredient of good health is good and affordable nutrition. As the year 2021 progresses, Nigeria needs to tackle the challenge of malnutrition and protein deficiency, coupled with the pandemic.
To achieve this, some key solutions must be implemented and adapted to suit the needs of the average Nigerian. This requires a significant level of expertise and insight on the poverty and malnutrition problem in the country.
First, the government needs to deal with the malnutrition problem directly. This can be done by reducing the price of healthy food crops nationwide, reducing the cost of seedlings and arable crops being sold to farmers, thereby increasing the affordability and accessibility of agricultural inputs. This will increase food availability to a large extent, which will curb malnutrition.
The government should also implement agricultural development projects (ADPs) across Nigeria. These agricultural development projects will play a facilitating role in the production of crops, livestock, and aquaculture. For the vast majority of Nigerians, food production and agriculture must be embedded and promoted in every community to increase food availability and accessibility. The government has a responsibility to provide safe, affordable and nutritious food crops to the populace to mitigate the levels of hunger and starvation in the nation.
Secondly, the government needs to make health care affordable by creating more hospitals and health centres in the north eastern states with high malnutrition rates, while sustaining ongoing health programmes such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the Food and Drug Programme (FDP).
The government can liaise with foreign health organisations like the World Health Organisation and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to provide quality healthcare to malnourished children and individuals.
Of course, there must be sensitization and awareness campaigns in rural communities on dietary changes, eating of fortified foods that contain valuable nutrients, and locally available food sources that are healthy and nutritious. Foods like soybeans, awara, bambara, okpa, groundnuts, and egusi are rich in nutrients that nourish the body.
Finally, non-governmental organisations can visit villages and communities to provide local food options and to educate malnourished locals on eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Nigeria has the potential to surmount all the aforementioned difficulties if these solutions can be properly and effectively implemented.
The key is proper planning.

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Food

Food Delivery: Adhering To Safety Guidelines By Adopting Digital Services

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The second wave of the covid-19 led by the more deadly variants of the virus is a serious cause of concern for authorities across the globe. Though vaccines have been devised for curing covid-19 infections, prevention is still recommended as the best antidote to the virus. Hence, individuals are urged to adhere strictly to preventive measures to limit spread.

In Nigeria, business activities are still encouraged by the government to keep the economy afloat as the country could not afford the economic implications of a total lockdown. To keep this window of activities open, Nigerians need to keep to safety measures. One of the ways to avoid crowded places and risk of transmission is to embrace digital services that help keep up with daily needs without physical contact.

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for online food delivery is rising significantly as a result of the lockdown and social distancing guidelines. Consumers who embrace the growing trend can continue to stay safe with comfort and convenience while shopping for food and other essentials for daily upkeep.

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Food is essential to survival, and the growing trend of foodservice delivery will help limit the speed of transmission. To help widen the online food delivery experience and promote safety in these times, online retails stores are partnering with restaurants to make local intercontinental dishes available to customers. Fast food brands like The place, Chicken Republic, Sooyah Bistro, Sweet Sensation, Drum Stick and others are making their services available for order and delivery on the Jumia platform.  KFC, Cold Stone as well as Pizza Hut are also available for order.

Likewise, groceries and beverage products are not left out. Renowned beverage producers such as Nestle are making their products available on the Jumia platform. With Jumia Food, groceries are also available for order and safe delivery through the contactless delivery option for customers who want to subscribe to the service.

According to Jumia Nigeria CEO, Massimiliano Spalazzi, online shopping will help promote the adoption of social distancing measures and eliminate the contact risk associated with brick and mortar stores, as people can purchase different products of their choice and get them delivered from the safety of their home.

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“Covid-19 pandemic is showing the importance of online marketplace and why it should be part of people’s lifestyle at this time. As the world battles with the realities of the second wave of the virus, people are being urged to avoid large gatherings, limit human contact as much as possible and observe strict hygiene practice. And it is becoming increasingly obvious that online shopping remains one of the ways individuals can take precautions to limit the spread.”

To further drive the growth of online food and beverage delivery in the country, Jumia recently extended its food delivery services to more states in Nigeria. The new cities on the Jumia Food map include Minna, Benin City, Kaduna, Abeokuta, Kano, and Ilorin. For a better customer food delivery experience, Jumia also recorded a major service improvement in its existing footprints in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, and Ibadan by increasing its speed of delivery, with an average delivery time as fast as 26 minutes in Port Harcourt, 27 minutes in Lagos, 28 minutes in Ibadan, and 30 minutes in Abuja.

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Brands and Company

Fan Milk signs partnership agreement with Ogun State to establish dairy farm to boost local production

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Ogun State Governor conducts groundbreaking exercise for Fan Milk & Danone flagship dairy farm at Odeda Farm Institute

L-R: H.E. Prince Dr Dapo Abiodun, Ogun State Governor, (centre); Mr Olayinka Akinkugbe, Chairman, Fan Milk Plc (centre right); Mr Tokunbo Talabi, Secretary to the Secretary to the State Government (next right); H.E. Mr Jerome Pasquier, French Ambassador to Nigeria (centre left); Mr Ferdinand Mouko, Managing Director, Fan Milk Plc (next left); and representatives from the Ogun State government, French Embassy and Fan Milk Plc, at the signing of the partnership agreement between Fan Milk, a Danone Company and Ogun State to establish the flagship Fan Milk-Danone dairy farm at Odeda Farm Institute

 

Fan Milk Plc, a Danone Company, signed a partnership agreement with the Ogun State Government to establish its flagship dairy farm at the Odeda Farm Institute, in the Odeda Local Government Area.
The partnership, an alliance with the state, is to introduce global standards in dairy farming, empower local communities and reduce unemployment rates. It signifies Fan Milk’s commitment to enhance the impact of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s backward integration programme and reinforce the Federal Government’s initiative to achieve food self-sufficiency in the country. In addition to boosting local content within the sector, the project will serve as a model, best-in-class dairy farm operated by local dairy experts to support local suppliers, housing a milk collection centre, purchasing feed locally and collecting milk from other farmers.
The Ogun State Governor, His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun MFR, expressing his satisfaction with the partnership, said, “We welcome such future-forward partnerships which align with our vision to create an enabling environment for Public Private Partnerships. As Nigeria’s Gateway State, Fan Milk’s partnership gives us the opportunity to contribute quickly and easily to job creation at scale. It is another symbol of our plans for 2021 and signifies our strong commitment to fostering relationships that grow the state’s revenue. The government and people of Ogun State look forward to the advancements collaboration like this will bring to local farmers and communities.”
The farm, which includes a Fan Milk Danone Dairy Training Institute, is being established to upskill existing and new local dairy farmers in the adoption of farming best practices.
The Chairman of Fan Milk, Mr Olayinka Akinkugbe, in his statement said, “For us, this partnership is bigger than the CBN backward integration program. It is about the 2,000 people or more who would be impacted through this initiative and the change we seek to bring to Nigeria’s food architecture. We are investing across the value chain and ensuring the support of the long-term ambitions of the state.
His Excellency, Mr. Jérôme Pasquier, the French Ambassador to Nigeria, commended the initiative as a strong representation of bilateral relations between the Nigerian and French governments, and expressed a desire for an increase in such partnerships that contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Reiterating the company’s commitment to expanding local contribution to dairy, Managing Director of Fan Milk, Mr Ferdinard Muoko, stated, “Fan Milk Plc remains committed to protecting dairy’s important role in every Nigerian’s diet. That is why we have resolved to invest through the delivery of a series of coordinated education programmes and tools to support regenerative agriculture, the Danone Dairy Training Institute should reach over 500 farmers and dairy workers over a five year period.”
The dairy product manufacturer will receive technical support from its parent company, Danone, which, as part of its 2030 goals and in line with key priorities of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, is keen to impact local health and foster inclusive growth. Working to develop and promote regenerative models of agriculture that protect soils, empower farmers and promote animal welfare, this investment will be a continuation of Danone’s efforts to boost local milk production across its host communities in Africa, as is ongoing in Algeria, Morocco and Egypt and North-East Africa. Danone partners with farmers globally and is committed to working with stakeholders across the value chain to address the challenges associated with food security.

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