Some Nigerian foods put consumers at risk of stroke and heart attack because they contain high levels of cholesterol, says Kunle Iyanda, a cardiologist at Wuse General Hospital, Abuja.
Iyanda told NAN on Wednesday in Abuja that the contents of high carbohydrates and fats in Nigerian traditional foods and diets are extremely bad for the heart and general health.
He explained that Nigerian traditional foods contain high levels of cholesterol and risked diabetes.
“Our native soups are based on high levels of palm oil and groundnut oil that put us at risk for high cholesterol levels, stroke and heart attacks,” he said.
“There is also the high consumption of rice, yams and cassava which are high in starch and carbohydrates that easily lead to obesity and diabetes.
“We know that the oil in our dishes makes the taste of our soups a lot better but we have to choose between good health and a tasty meal.”
Iyanda said he was not alarmed by the vast number of food options in Nigeria, but how unhealthy most of them are.
He said: “As a cardiologist, this is very worrisome to me because I have seen many people who have been at risk of heart attacks complaining that they don’t know what else to eat.
“Even I have struggled before with this but had to make my wife understand the need to use a lot less oil in our dishes.
“We have some dishes like vegetable soup, unripe plantain porridge, beans porridge and the Yoruba beans style of Ewa Agoyin that are very healthy.
“The soups and beans suddenly become unhealthy once we add all that palm oil into the soups and porridges.
“Even the Yoruba-style beans that doesn’t have oil in it is destroyed by the excessive oil in the stew that comes with the beans.
“We should reduce the amount of oil in our meals and use less starchy solids for our soups such as plantain flour.
“Such changes will give us a healthier and stronger heart and system,” the expert said.