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Six reasons Irish potatoes are good for your health

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Irish potato is one of the many varieties of potato, a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial nightshade solanum tuberosum.

They are called Irish potatoes because they were the main type grown in Ireland in the early 1800s, and are associated with The Great Irish Famine, one of the worst agricultural, social, and cultural disasters of the time.

The small fibrous vegetable is stacked with vitamins and minerals, such as carotenoids and natural phenols, potassium, vitamin B6 and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, fibre and zinc.

Whether baked, steamed, or boiled, here are six reasons you should eat Irish potatoes.

Relieves stress
Irish potatoes are exceedingly rich in vitamin B6 needed for the renewal of cells and maintenance of a healthy nervous system and a balanced mood.

Vitamin B6 aids in the production of adrenaline, a hormone that helps us respond to stress, and GABA, a substance linked to relaxation.

Aids digestion
The high levels of dietary fibre – bulking agent – present in Irish potatoes support healthy digestion and regular bowel movements while giving a protective effect from colon cancer.

Lowers blood pressure
High blood pressure can be triggered by several factors including stress, tension, anxiety, and diabetes.
Other than aiding digestion, the fibre present in Irish potatoes helps in lowering cholesterol and improves the functioning of insulin in the body, which helps lower blood pressure.

It is also a rich source of potassium which is needed to neutralise the adverse effects of sodium which could lead to an increase in blood pressure.

Boosts brain functioning
The B6 vitamins in Irish potatoes are critical to maintaining neurological health. Vitamin B6 helps create useful brain chemicals, including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

In addition, it contains other elements like phosphorus and zinc which are good for the brain.

Good for the heart
Irish potatoes also contain minerals, roughages, and a substance called carotenoids, which promote good heart health.

Prevents cancer
Irish potatoes are also rich sources of flavonoid antioxidants and vitamin A, like zeaxanthin and carotenes, as well as a compound called quercetin that protects you from cancer by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells.

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HEALTH

Topless Serena Williams sings ‘I Touch Myself’ for breast cancer awareness

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To commemorate breast cancer awareness month, Serena Williams has recorded her version of ‘I Touch Myself’, a song by The Divinyls.

In the video, the tennis star is bare-chested but covers her breasts with her hands while singing her rendition of the 1990 hit.

“This Breast Cancer Awareness Month I’ve recorded a version of The Divinyls global hit “I Touch Myself” to remind women to self-check regularly,” Williams wrote on Instagram.

“Yes, this put me out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to do it because it’s an issue that affects all women of all colors, all around the world. Early detection is key – it saves so many lives. I just hope this helps to remind women of that.

“The music video is part of the I Touch Myself Project which was created in honor of celebrated diva, Chrissy Amphlett, who passed away from breast cancer, and who gave us her hit song to remind women to put their health first. The project is proudly supported by @BerleiAus for Breast Cancer Network Australia.”

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HEALTH

Life expectancy in Nigeria now 63, up from 56

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Life expectancy in Nigeria has increased to 63 years for men and 66 years for women according to a recent study by researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

Despite this increase, the study claims that lives lost to communicable diseases like malaria and HIV are still high.

“Life expectancy in Nigeria is growing, but people in many other sub-Saharan African countries are living longer, healthier lives. Communicable diseases like malaria, diarrhea, lower respiratory diseases, and HIV are still taking the lives of far too many Nigerians,” said Jacob Olusanya, director, Center for Healthy Start Initiative.

“Infants and children are at particular risk from these diseases, and neonatal ailments like sepsis and encephalopathy kill thousands of infants. We have much more work to do.”

The 2017 edition of the annual global burden of diseases study (GBD), which is composed of five peer-reviewed papers, was published The Lancet, a medical journal.

The study’s main findings for Nigeria include:

A Nigerian man born in 2016 can expect to live 63.7 years, an increase in life expectancy of 7 years over the past decade. A woman has a life expectancy of 66.4 years, up 8.1 years from 2006.

A Nigerian male born in 2016 will live approximately 55.5 years in good health; a female only 57.2 years. Nigeria has a higher life expectancy than South Africa, Niger, or Cameroon, but it lags behind Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia.

The top five causes of premature death in Nigeria are malaria, diarrheal diseases, HIV, neonatal encephalopathy, and lower respiratory infection. The ailments that cause illness can be very different. Iron-deficiency anemia, back pain, and migraines are the top causes of years that people live with disability in Nigeria.

“For every 1,000 live births, 46.6 Nigerian children under the age of 5 die. That far exceeds the global figure of 38.4, and the regional average of countries in western sub-Saharan Africa, which is 40.7.”

In 2016, for the first time in modern history, fewer than five million children under age five died in one year, as compared to 1990 when 11 million died.

Researchers attribute this global health landmark to improvements in increased educational levels of mothers, rising per capita incomes, declining levels of fertility, increased vaccination programs, mass distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, improved water, and sanitation.

“Death is a powerful motivator, both for individuals and for countries, to address diseases that have been killing us at high rates,” said Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

“But, we’re been much less motivated to address issues leading to illnesses. A ‘triad of troubles’ – obesity, conflict, and mental illness, including substance use disorders – poses a stubborn and persistent barrier to active and vigorous lifestyles.”

Despite progress on reducing deaths, this “triad of troubles” – obesity, conflict, and mental illness, including substance use disorders – is preventing further progress.

The GBD is the largest and most comprehensive epidemiological effort to quantify health loss across places and over time. It draws on the work of over 2,500 collaborators from more than 130 countries and territories.

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HEALTH

Paracetamol misuse damages liver and kidney, expert warns

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The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has warned against indiscriminate or misuse of Paracetamol, saying such practice damages the liver and kidney.

Jelili Kilani, PSN chairman, FCT chapter, who said this in an interview with NAN, said Paracetamol, an analgesic, is not supposed to be misused.

Kilani defined drug misuse as the use of drug for purposes for which it was not intended or usage in excessive quantities.

He further described drug abuse as an ill-wind which its effect might not manifest immediately but later in life.

The chairman decried the usual practice of taking about three or more tablet at once to fast-track healing processes.

He said: “By engaging in such practice, you are damaging your internal organs like the liver and kidney, which if care is not taken, such damages cannot be remedy.”

Kilani, therefore, urged the general public to desist from misuse of the drug in order to avert inflicting injury to their system.

“Misuse of drug is when somebody is tired and decides to take three or more tablet of Paracetamol simply because he wanted a quicker or higher effect,” he said.

“As good as Paracetamol is, if not properly taken, it damages the liver and kidney; the only drug that is harmless to the body is water.

“I advise the public to desist from self medication.

“If anyone is experiencing feverish condition or body pains after taking Paracetamol once and the symptoms persist, they should consult medical doctors rather than taking the drug continuously.”

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