• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Nutritionist harps on benefits of soybean, fish consumption

Nutritionist harps on benefits of soybean, fish consumption

A nutrition expert, Morenike Adewolu, has called on Nigerians from all walks of life to regularly consume soybeans and fish to help improve their diet and reduce the incidence of malnutrition in the country. She said soybeans and fish contain numerous vitamins and minerals which are of tremendous benefits to the human body and mind.

Adewolu, a professor of Fish Nutrition in the Department of Marine Sciences, University of Lagos, described the combination of soybeans with fish as a superfood that can lower the risk of diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, and obesity. Soybeans and fish are well-known and affordable sources of protein.

“Regular consumption of fish (whether oily, shellfish, or lean fish) will lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes because of the presence of Omega-3fatty acids,” Adewolu said.

“. It is one of the few plant-based proteins that are considered to have all the essential amino acids,” she said.

She stated that soybeans are low in carbohydrates and have a very low glycemic index (GI), which is a measure of how foods affect the rise in blood sugar after a meal.

Read Also: ‘Tackle malnutrition by adding soybeans to staples,’ say Nutrition experts

She added that soybeans are good sources of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K1, vitamins B1-B6, folates, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and thiamine. They are a rich source of various bioactive plant compounds, including isoflavones, saponins, and lunasin.

According to Adewolu, soybeans have high levels of isoflavones and antioxidants as well as immune-boosting properties.

“The proteins and isoflavones in soy repair worn-out cells and tissues, and replace blood plasma, which is vital for immune resistance. Isoflavones may be protective against breast cancer later in life. The high levels of antioxidants in soybeans may prevent the onset of several cancer cells and remove free radicals from the body,” she said.

Fish, which contain Omega-3 fatty acids, will help in the breakdown of triglycerides and fatty acids in the liver, thereby lowering the risk of fatty liver disease. This helps blood flow to the brain and improves its performance during mental tasks. Fish are rich in Vitamin A, which can fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, she said.

The professor stated that the immune system is spread throughout the body and it involves many types of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues. She noted that without an enhanced immune system, the body would be open to attack from bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which is why increasing the dietary intake of soy and fish is important.

“The vitamins and minerals contained in soybeans and fish help to maintain the body’s defense against infections, thereby enhancing the human body’s immunologic system,” Adewolu said.

“In Nigeria, the average protein intake is low; it is estimated to be 45.4 grams per day. This is below the WHO’s recommendation of 70 grams per day. A combination of soybeans and fish will definitely meet the recommendation since these two foods are very good sources of dietary protein,” she said.