By Suliat Ojo
An adage says “when hunger gets inside you, nothing else can”. The presence or smell of food makes our month watery and our stomach feels hungry. Serve with Eba and Egusi or Sharwama, which one will you eat? The scale of preference as a study in economics also comes to play in eating food. Selection of what to eat and not varies according to the individual scale of preference which can be on taste, substitutes, income, price, palatability, religion amongst others. Meanwhile some are indifferent.
Preference of foreign or local food has always depended on the individual mentality of which has the most nutrient content. Eating balance diet which contains high nutritious value cannot be overemphasised as it helps fight against diseases and gives the body good growth.
Eating of foreign food over local food is because the world has gone global. Gone were the days when food like yam, corn, beans, tomatoes, vegetables were planted and cultivated without adding any chemical whatsoever for quick germination, it is always harvested at the right time.
“Risk of contamination is reduced because fresh local foods” says a Nurse, Mrs. Omotosho Tope.
Research has shown that too much consumption of foreign food can lead to cancer which is very deadly. Some food might have expired before importation, but the date would be changed without the knowledge of the final consumer. Also consumption of food with potassium bromated preservative is risky for the health.
An important advantage of local food to foreign food is the absence of cholesterol in the food. Cholesterol is a type of fat found in the blood. The liver provides cholesterol for the body and also can be gotten from the foods we eat. One needs some cholesterol to help the brain, skin and other organs grow and do their job in the body. But consumption of food high in cholesterol is harmful especially for people whose bodies already make too much of it.
Also consumption of food high in cholesterol or potassium bromated can lead to typhoid, skin reaction, rashes, asthma, pudding, cough, diarrhoea and vomiting.
“I prefer local food to foreign food because of its high nutrient and it does not contain cholesterol” Mrs. Omotosho said.
Also local food has gone through scrutinising process which makes it healthy for consumption. An instance is cassava which is process to garri. It goes through the process of first sorting the healthy roots, then peeling and washing, grating into mash, fermenting, granulating, roasting in a hot frying tray and it can be sieve if wanted. No preservatives and about 70% of Nigerian consume it daily.
“Local food can be made. Make it yourself” Mrs. Omotosho added.
However, investigation showed why people often time prefer foreign food is because of the manner of presentation. “Foreign food looks bright and has varieties” most of the students in the Nigerian Institute of Journalism said. Foreign foods are being brand and pack in a way that attract and entice the consumer to buy compare to local foods. Also, preference of local foods will help Nigerian depend on Agriculture as a means of generating revenue aside from oil. It will as well as increase the rate of employment, reduce poverty and living healthy of the people.
On this note, Mrs. Omotosho suggests that Nutritionist in Nigeria should be brought into limelight to educate the local food vendors on maintenance of clean environment, mixture of varieties of food and presentation that will promote the consumption of local food. “Environment and presentation matters a lot”.