The Enugu State Primary Healthcare Development Agency has advised Nigerians to eat fruits and vegetables always in order to prevent cancer and to promote healthy living.
Its Nutrition Officer, Henrietta Ugwu, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu on Wednesday.
Ugwu explained that most fruits and vegetables contained antioxidants, substances that work interactively inside and outside of the body’s cells, protecting cell membranes from the damaging effects of highly reactive molecules called free radicals.
It is antioxidants that protect the body by literally “breaking the chain” of potential chemical destruction within the body.
According to the nutrition officer, antioxidants are substances that can prevent cancer and slow damage to cells. “Antioxidants are said to help neutralise waste substances in the human body and help to boost the overall health.”
Ugwu said that vegetables such as tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene, which helps to prevent cancer incursion and as well slow and prevent cell damage.
She said: “Lycopene is a carotenoid, a natural pigment that gives tomatoes the red color they have and it is an antioxidant, a substance that protects against cell damage.”
The nutrition officer said that fruits such as the African Star Apple, called ‘agbaluma’ in Yoruba and ‘Udala’ in Igbo languages, contained natural antioxidant substance known as lecithin.
According to her, Lecithin helps prevent cancer and slows cell damage in the human body.