NAN – The Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN), Lagos State Chapter, has urged Nigerians to always include fruits and vegetables in their diets to boost their immune system to fight Ebola Virus.
Dr Abimbola Ajayi, the Chairperson of the society, made the appeal at the commemoration of World Breastfeeding Week and inauguration of the Lagos State chapter on Friday.
Ajayi said that the virus attacked the immune system which provided defence to the human body.
“Since there is no known cure presently for the disease, the goal of nutrition care therefore, is to protect and boost the immunity among other care provided for affected persons.
“People must ensure that they take foods that are high antioxidants, majorly foods rich in vitamins and minerals in their daily meals.
“Take yellow fruits, red fruits and vegetables to boost immunity and fight Ebola Virus in the country,’’ she said.
Ajayi also decried the low breastfeeding practices and the use of inappropriate complementary foods.
According to her, the breastfeeding rate in Nigeria is 17 per cent and it is unacceptable.
“The low breastfeeding rate in our country has contributed to the high rate of malnourished, under-weight, stunted and wasted children as well as high rate of under-five mortality.
“Exclusive breastfeeding reduces 13 per cent of all under-five deaths, thereby helping us to achieve Millennium Development Goal one and four.
“Researches have also proven that exclusive breastfeeding increases the chances of a child`s survival, physical and brain development,’’ she said.
Also speaking, Prof. Ngozi Nnam, the National President of the Society, said that exclusive breastfeeding would make a child grow into a healthy adult.
Nnam, who was represented by Dr Bartholomew Brai, the Chairman, Scientific and Technical Committee of NSN, said there was the need for collective efforts to encourage and promote exclusive breast feeding.
“We need the support of governments, relations, families and the community to promote exclusivebreast feeding to achieve high breastfeeding rate.
“Breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants and we need to raise awareness on the importance of right nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life.’’