Local fruits, vegetables can ensure good health

Locally grown fruits and vegetables, which are enriched with different vitamins, can help people ensure their good health and prevent diseases, said food and nutrition experts at a seminar on Thursday.

They said as people are not aware about the food value of different food items like fruits and vegetables, they are taking less nutritious fast foods, which is also harmful for health.

Voluntary Consumers’ Training and Awareness Society (VCTAS), a charity organisation, arranged the seminar titled ‘The Role and Use of Functional Foods to Protect Health: Bangladesh Perspective’ at National Press Club in the city in the morning.

Functional foods are foods and food components that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition, according to experts.

Chaired by VCTAS chairman Mohammad Ali Zinnah, the seminar was addressed, among others, by Proshika founder chairman Dr Kazi Faruk Ahmed, chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (Bari) Dr M Nazim Uddin, chief scientist of Centre of Advance Research in Science, Dhaka University, Dr Latiful Bari and VCTAS executive director Khalilur Rahman Sajal.

Dr Hossain Uddin Shekhar, a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at Dhaka University, read out keynote paper at the seminar.

Dr Kazi Faruk said the now farmers are using chemical pesticides rampantly in growing crops, destroying environment and pests useful for crops.

Referring to the government’s target of ensuring food security in the country, he said the government should ensure food security at both national and family level for archiving the target.

Terming quality food as a human right, Dr Nazim Uddin said although farmers are producing huge quantity of food grains each year in the country, they still are not able to produce functional food.

He stressed reintroducing organic crop production system in the country to ensure production of functional foods.

Nazim said food security has been ensured in the country already in term of food grains production, but its nutritional security has not been achieved yet for lack of functional foods.

Dr Latiful Bari said as country’s people are habituated to taking boiled vegetables, they do not get a significant portion of nutrition from them as it goes away while boiling.

He asked people to change their food habit and take less boiled vegetables for getting more nutrition.

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