A professor of Food Science at the Department of Vocational and Technical Education of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Prof. Sarah Darkwa, has called on manufacturers to prepare composite spices using natural local spices, instead of chemical-based artificial food seasonings.
She said the use of local spices such as dawadawa, prekese, onions, among others, in preparing food seasoning would be helpful in cutting down the rate of related diseases which were on the rise, as those spices contained the required nutrients needed for a healthy lifestyle.
According to her, the use of local spices provided the required nutrients the body needed, as they contained protein, natural fats, anti-inflammatory elements and antioxidants that helped to prevent heart diseases and food-related diseases.
Prof. Darkwa made the call in her inaugural lecture on the topic: “Food science: A sweet killer of nutritional well-being?” at the UCC.
“This generation has shifted from using natural spices to artificial ones that, in our minds, make our food sweet but, in reality, kill us,” she said.
She said people had to be good custodians of their bodies by gaining basic knowledge in food science which would, in turn, help ensure that they ate good food that would provide good health for their bodies.
Touching on non-alcoholic drinks, Prof. Darkwa underscored the need for the Ghana Standards Authority to provide standards for sugar and vitamin C concentration to regulate the amount of sugar those drinks contained.
She said those drinks were sweet and silent killers that harmed the body, as they contained a lot of sugar which was detrimental to human health.
“Anytime you take in non-alcoholic drinks and they are too sweet for you, remember they are silent killers,” she warned.
She advised the public to take the local bissap drink in moderate quantities as a substitute for non-alcoholic beverages because they contained antioxidants, anti-diabetic, anti-bacterial and anti-hypertensive properties that served as aphrodisiacs, sedatives, laxatives and antiseptics to the body.
Prof. Darkwa noted that the prevalence of diabetes could be reduced if consumers were well educated on the glycemic index of the foods they ate, the time they ate and how they digested.
She said the glycemic index was a number associated with the carbohydrates in a particular type of food that indicated the effect of those carbohydrates on a person’s blood glucose, which is also called blood sugar level.
Commenting on the importance of vitamin A, she noted that the deficiency of that vitamin was one of the most malicious forms of vitamin deficiency.
She said vitamin A, which is needed by infants to prevent childhood blindness and child mortality, was highly present in the orange-fleshed sweet potato.
She said manufactures of infant foods should embrace the orange-fleshed sweet potato as an ingredient used in producing infant food, instead of using cereals, as potato had the essential vitamins children needed to grow.
The Vice-Chancellor of the UCC, Prof. Joseph Ampiah-Ghartey, said the importance of food science could not be underestimated, considering the role it played in providing good health.
He called on all to patronise natural local spices and ensure they took in foods that would promote their health.