A Professor of Food and Intestinal Microbiology has recommended the consumption of health promoting diet rich in medicinal mushrooms and beneficial bioactive compounds and probiotics found in fermented foods like kunnu, coconut milk, tiger nut milk and soy milk to reduce the incidence of organic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Professor Olusegun Oyetayo gave the recommendations while delivering the 118th Inaugural lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Akure with the title Health Promotion: The Probiotic and Myconutraceutical Approach. He said that imbalanced and unwholesome diets have been the major factor responsible for the rise in organic diseases in the last two to three decades.
He said consumption of probiotic microorganisms isolated from locally fermented foods and bioactive compounds present in edible and medicinal mushrooms will go a long way in solving this problem.
The Don who defined myconutraceutical as nutraceutical substances derived from mushrooms said mushrooms are known to contain pharmacologically active components which cause no harm nor place additional stress to the body. He said mushrooms have been used as food and flavouring material in soups and sauces for centuries due to their unique and subtle flavor and have become attractive as functional foods and as a source of physiologically beneficial medicines.
The Don said nutraceuticals are foods which provide medical or health benefits, including prevention and treatment of disease have proven effective in improving health, delaying the aging process, preventing chronic diseases, increasing life expectancy and supporting the structure and function of the body.
Making a case for the use of nutraceuticals in the treatment and management of disease, Professor Oyetayo said they help by providing all the essential substances that should be present in a healthy diet and thereby modulate various functions of the body in order to promote good health.
According to him, correct administration of nutraceuticals will help citizens live a healthier life, improve better mood and self-confidence, increase working capacity, create better social environment, reduce less expenditure on health care and promote employment through the establishment of nutraceutical industries.
The Don recommended that food laden with probiotic organisms should be promoted through proper funding that will result to mass production of these biotic foods. He called for the development of our staple foods to super foods through fortification and supplementation of our staple foods with essential minerals and bioactive compounds that can promote health. To this end, he said there should be proper funding of research in the field of biotic food development especially as it relates to local foods with health promoting properties. This he said will help the nation save millions of naira that it would have hitherto spent in buying drugs and managing the health of sick people.
Professor Oyetayo called for the establishment of a forum for investors, manufacturers and scientists working in the field of biotic food development so that any discovery in the field of biotic food can be perfected for the health benefits of the generality of the people.
In this remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape said the choice of the lecture was apt considering the prevalence of chronic and debilitating health issues confronting many Nigerians.
He described the lecturer as an astute scholar and prolific researcher who had contributed to the development of the University in various academic and administrative capacities.