Artificial substances such as sweeteners, preservatives and other elements have for several years been a public safety concern worldwide for legitimate reasons says Dr Vincent Bakyenga, a general practitioner with Uganda Health Federation. He explains why.

Too much sugar
Foods that contain sugar essentially contain empty calories. This, therefore, means that the calories therein provide no nutritional value. These empty calories have been said to be very harmful to the heart and digestive system.

Dr Bakyenga says processed foods are usually lacking in nutrients. Processing of food often empties the food of its nutritional value. Although many of these foods are infused with artificial nutrients, the quality of nutrition derived from such is far superior compared to whole, unprocessed foods.

He says, “Fibre has many different roles to play in the development and maintenance of a healthy body. Primarily known to aid digestion, fiber also helps to: produce healthy bacteria, slow the absorption of carbohydrates, and create feelings of satiety but processed foods are usually low in fibre content.”

“The cumulative effects over time result in more food consumed and less energy expended. In other words, despite the large amounts of food consumed, less fat and calories are burnt,” he says.

If you are the kind that eats processed foods all the time, Paul Lutaakome, a nutritionist at Jinja Referral Hospital says you can counteract its complications by incorporating some raw foods into your diet such as salads.

Healthier options
Tomatoes contain nutrients that act as body cleansers. They are good for your skin. They also contain vitamin B and potassium which are good for your heart and kidney. You can eat them raw or add them to whatever you may be cooking.

Despite the temporary bad breath, chewing raw onions improve your oral health because they kill bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum diseases. Onions contain vitamin C which is good for the skin and hair.

A mixture of onion juice (the raw one) and honey can be a good remedy for a cold. You can also keep a small piece of onion under the nose and inhale to slow down nose bleeding.

Beetroots are rich in iron which helps to increase the amount of blood and its flow in the body.

Consuming beetroots and drinking beet juice regularly helps in growth of red blood cells in the body which treats anaemia. It can also be a good home remedy for menstrual disorders and helps to purify blood.

Cucumber can heal skin problems and under eye swelling. Cut circular pieces and place them on the eyes or wherever you may have a skin problem. They have excellent cleaning properties, and can remove accumulated waste and toxins from your body.

They also have the ability to prevent splitting of the finger and toenails and also to protect your body from constipation and kidney problems. They can also help in the management of diabetes.