Eating habits and lifestyle changes with health management (COVID-19): Appreciating the functional food value of green leafy vegetables

Mrs Taiwo Esther Dada1, Dr. Randy Adjonu2, Dr.  Judith Crockett1, Dr.  Kekere Otitoloju3, Dr. Ezekiel Uba Nwose1,4

1School of Community Health, Charles Sturt University, Orange, Australia, 2School of Biomedical Sciences, Charles Sturt University, , Wagga Wagga, Australia , 3School of Agricultural Science, Adekunle Ajasin University , Akungba Akoko, Nigeria, 4Department of Public & Community Health, Novena University,  , , Nigeria

Introduction:

Green leafy vegetables (GLV) are a functional component of the human diet. GLV is rich in micronutrient that promotes positive health and wellbeing – hence can be classified as “functional foods”. A significant problem arises in ensuring that the population access nutritional requirements for a healthy lifestyle. There is a need for updates of databases related to knowledge, intake forms, and nutritional values of GLV, which promote healthy eating. The purpose of this study is to explore the eating habits and values of selected GLV with individually-tailored nutrition knowledge.

Method:

This was a critical review done as part of doctoral degree research related to GLV intake on health impact. Six (6) GLVs (mint leaf, spinach, basil, okra, lemongrass, and clove) were discretionally selected for this report. These GLVs were accessed on the Australian Food and Nutrient Database (AUSNUT). Ethical approval from Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) at CSU (H20186) was granted.

Result:

Among 6-GLVs, only first 3/6 GLV were found on the database. Many of the other GLVs are available but only in different intake forms at the shops like Harris Farm Markets, but not in leaves form. Most GLVs have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory & other immune-boosting functions, but are less consumed, and their nutritional values are yet to be updated on a database like AUSNUT.

Discussion:

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a dramatic change in lifestyle including dietary habits, especially the consumption of functional foods that could help boost immunity. The increase in interest in functional foods like GLVs is not just being driven purely by COVID-19, but behavioural factors and lifestyle can change unhealthy diets. Understanding GLV values helps eating habits and a healthy lifestyle. The significance of this paper is to use database knowledge which needs an update to drive and increase GLV nutrient values and intake.


Biography:

My name is Taiwo Esther Dada, am a Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of Community Health, Charles Sturt University. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Nigeria, MSc in Crop Improvement, and a Master’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture. Her Ph.D. will tackle various angles and explore the medicinal value, human health, green leafy vegetables, women, malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria), and the world. Her interest currently combines nutritional & public health, improving healthy food consumption to promote and sustain the future through agriculture, well-being in rural and remote communities, and health-related food. She is formerly an agricultural staff member in an agricultural firm, and previously a female hall manager in a Private University in Nigeria.

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