Naija Foodie Update

Foodie Naija Update (The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Health Forever Products Limited, Otunba Olajuwon Okubena writes on the role of food as ‘medicine)

Hippocrates lived about 2,500
years ago. The interpretation
of his quote is that the ideal
food should have, in addition
to normal food, nutrients,
such as sugar, elements,
vitamins and fatty acids.
The quote is a confirmation of
what the scriptures had says
from beginning of creation.
Going through the scriptures,
Genesis 1:29 said: “I give you
every seed-bearing plant on
the face of the whole earth
and every tree that has fruit
with seed in it. They will be
yours for food”.
In Ezekiel 47:12, the Bible
says: “ Fruit trees of all kinds
will grow on both banks of
the river, their leaves will not
wither nor their fruit fail,
every month they will bear
fruit because the water from
the sanctuary flows to them.
Their fruit will serve for food
and their leaves for healing.
Another interesting portion of
the Bible is Daniel Chapter
1:5-15, where Daniel in
captivity refused to defile
himself with portion of the
King’s meat, nor the wine
which he drank, but preferred
to eat vegetables and drink
At the end of 10 day’s trial, he
looked much better than
those who were fed with the
King’s meat. The last chapter
of the Bible, Revelation
Chapter 22:12, also confirms
the importance of plant that it
is for the healing of the
The Holy Quran contains an
interesting portion in Chapter
16:69, where it states: “Then
eat of all fruits and walk in the
ways of your Lord
submissively. There comes
forth within it a beverage of
many colours, in which there
is healing for men”.
Holy Prophet Muhammed lived
about 1600 years ago and
with this portion of the Quran
prophesied what in modern
times is known as
Antioxidants. They are
produced from plants with
colours. Examples are Acai
berry, tart cherry, blue berry,
All health authorities,
including the World Health
Organisation (WHO), United
States Department of
Agriculture (USDA), United
States Food and Drug
Administration (USFDA), and
European Food Safety
Authority (EFSA) confirm that it
is only food and nutrition that
could prevent you from
chronic diseases, such as
cancer, heart diseases,
diabetes, arthritis etc. No drug
has yet been discovered to
play this role.
First, about half of all
American adults—117 million
individuals—have one or
more preventable, chronic
diseases, and about two-
thirds of U.S. adults—nearly
155 million individuals—are
overweight or obese. These
conditions have been highly
prevalent for more than two
decades. Poor dietary
patterns, overconsumption of
calories, and physical inactivity
directly contribute to these
disorders. Second, individual
nutrition and physical activity
behaviours and other health-
related lifestyle behaviours are
strongly influenced by
personal, social,
organisational, and
environmental contexts and
systems. Positive changes in
individual diet and physical
activity behaviours, and in the
environmental contexts and
systems that affect them,
could substantially improve
health outcomes.
Humans require a wide range
of essential micronutrients
and macronutrients for
normal growth and
development and to support
healthy aging throughout the
life cycle. Essential nutrients,
including most vitamins,
minerals, amino acids and
fatty acids, water and fiber,
must be obtained through
foods and beverages because
they cannot for the most part
be endogenously synthesised,
or are not endogenously
synthesised in adequate
amounts to need
recommended intakes.
Nutrition is coming to the fore
as a major modifiable
determinant of chronic
disease, with scientific
evidence increasingly
supporting the view that
alterations in diet have strong
effects, both positive and
negative, on health
throughout life. Most
importantly, dietary
adjustments may not only
influence present health, but
may determine whether or
not an individual will develop
such diseases as cancer,
cardiovascular disease and
diabetes much later in life.
However, these concepts have
not led to a change in policies
or in practice. In many
developing countries, food
policies remain focused only
on under nutrition and are
not addressing the prevention
of chronic disease – WHO.
Unfortunately, no single food
item has been identified to
prevent these chronic
diseases to fulfill the famous
Hippocrates quote that: “Let
food be thy medicine and let
thy medicine be food.The
pharmaceutical companies in
an attempt to fill the gap have
formulated dietary and food
supplements to supply the
nutritional items in the
ordinary man’s food
intake.The companies have
assembled synthetic
equivalent of the essential
nutrients as supplement. In
most cases, they are not bio-
Researchers from various
parts of the world have
published documents
pointing in the direction of
Sorghum as the a grain that
would fulfill Hippocrates quote
because it combines both
food and medicine. There are
different varieties of the
Sorghum plant. These are
mainly the edible and the
medicinal Sorghum. The latter
contains food and almost all
the essential ingredients but it
is poisonous. At the time the
Americans saw the potential
of this plant and decided to
propagate it in the United
States, they were only
interested in the edible variety
which they have improved
over the centuries using the
plant genetic engineering.
A recent publication by Nancy
D. Turner Associate Professor
of Nutrition, Food Science and
Genetics Texas A&M University,
College Station advocated that
the national goal is to “avoid
preventable diseases from
occurring in the first place “
and suggested that Sorghum
is the grain that Americans
should be consuming for this
purpose. She concluded that
Sorghum grain and their
bioactive phytochemicals
appear to contribute toward
the suppression of several
chronic diseases , that the
national goal is to “avoid
preventable diseases from
occurring in the first
place”and that to achieve the
Target to double whole grain
consumption , Sorghum
should be included in our
food supply to derive these
health benefits.
In another recent publication
by Anita Stefoska-Needham
School of Medicine, Illawarra
Health and Medical Research
Institute, University of
Wollongong, Australia , it was
stated: Sorghum is an
important cereal grain food,
grown globally, that is rich in
nutrients, dietary fiber, and
bioactive components yet is
considered of low value to
humans and often used as an
animal feed. This review
provides an overview of key
sorghum grain components,
including starches, dietary
fiber, protein, lipids, and
phytochemicals, with
functional properties that
have potential to impact on
health. Though
acknowledging the impact of
the whole food will reflect the
synergy between the
components, studies of these
components implicate effects
on energy balance, glycemic
control, lipids, gut microbiota,
and cell-mediated immune
responses, including
antioxidant and anti-
inflammatory effects. For
these to be confirmed as
contributory effects from
sorghum consumption,
evidence from quality
randomised controlled trials is
required. If proven effective,
there may be a role for
sorghum grain–based diets to
assist in the prevention of
chronic diseases such as
diabetes, obesity, and heart
disease. Future research
addressing effects of
sorghum consumption may
help drive a paradigm shift
from sorghum as a low value
food to a potentially health-
promoting, highly valued
human grain food.
From Nigerian folk medicine,
the medicinal sorghum, which
had been in the custody of the
people of the Southwest, had
been developed to a product
(Jobelyn) that had been
researched to contain food
and medicine. Recent
laboratory research from GMP
Laboratories in the USA
confirmed that it contained
Vitamins, Selenium, Calcium,
Potassium, Magnesium, Iron,
Zinc, Phosphorus, Sodium,
Copper, Omega3, 6 & 9 and
other fatty acids.
For millennia, the indigenous
people of western Africa have
relied on this botanical to
support whole health and a
balanced inflammation cycle.
A simple bunchgrass,
Sorghum bicolour’s superior
antioxidant capacity is
revealed only through a
traditional folk preparation of
its leaf sheath.
Modern science has been
working hard in the past 15
years to isolate the plant’s
antioxidant components in an
effort to create a synthetic
version. The results? It doesn’t
work. The impressive ORAC
rating, higher than grapeseed
extract and well-known
antioxidant berries and fruits,
is seen only within the
traditionally prepared African
remedy using the sorghum
leaf in its complete natural
We call our Sorghum
ingredient “Jobelyn” after the
Jubi River where it originally
grew wild. Now a
domesticated plant, it is
grown on our own organic
3-Deoxyanthocyanidins are
rare flavonoids found in only a
few plant species. These
unique flavonoids are the
major pigments in the flowers
of Sinningia cardinalis, and
they are found in silk tissues
of certain types of corn.
Sorghum is the only dietary
source of 3-
Many plants use secondary
metabolites, such as
flavonoids, to protect
themselves against pathogen
attack. In sorghum, this
defense is an active response
resulting in the accumulation
of high levels of 3-
phytoalexins in infected
tissue. This defensive
mechanism is the power that
Jobelyn uses to strengthen the
body and promote whole


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