Two dietitians on Saturday in Lagos advised Nigerians to eat more of ‘ofada’ rice than polished rice because of its immense health benefits.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews that ofada rice reduces cholesterol and also very good for people with diabetes.
The rice is produced locally in Nigeria; it is short and has brown stripes; it is cultivated without chemicals, and mostly planted in some parts of the country.
Mr Olusola Malomo, a dietician, who works at Massey Hospital in Lagos, said that ofada rice contains some vitamins, which has been polished and parboiled in processed rice.
“Ofada rice contains vitamins B6 and B12 which has been washed with chemicals in processed rice.
“It was also found that ofada rice contains more phosphorous and fibre, which help in the reduction of the risk of bowel disorder and fight constipation.
“Ofada rice has been linked to protection against atherosclerosis, ischemic stroke, diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, and premature death,’’ he said.
Malomo also hinted that the local rice has additional nutrients and phytochemicals that reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
“This local rice when eaten regularly can also reduce risk of life threatening diseases.
“It also provides essential nutrients such as vitamin B, phosphorous, selenium, manganese, potassium, and magnesium.
“Selenium reduces the likelihood of colon cancer, magnesium keeps the bone healthy, it also contains insoluble fibre which help reduces risk of gall stones, and help maintains normal body weight.
“Although we have been preaching about the health benefits of this local rice for years, we will still continue to inform people of its immense health benefit,’’ he said.
Another dietician, Mr Olu Cole, who works at Rains Hospital in Lagos said that ofada rice has more health benefits to human.
“This rice has cholesterol-lowering effects include polyunsaturated fatty acids and important dietary sources of water-soluble, fat-soluble, and insoluble antioxidants.
“Many people did not know that the unpolished rice has more health benefits than the polished rice.
“Although it is very expensive in our local markets but we still urge people to try and eat this rice.
“Eating this rice will ward off diseases in our system, if we say that it is expensive, when we fall sick, we will still use our money to buy expensive drugs.
“Cole said that people should imbibe the culture of eating the rice so as live healthier,’’ he said.
Both dieticians, however, urged government at all levels to help local farmers with funds so as to boost local rice production.