?Ninety percent of all conditions other than acute infections, contagious diseases, and traumatisms, are traceable to diet? ? Sir William Osler M.D.

?At least nine-tenths of all maladies with which doctors are called upon to deal with might be successfully treated without the use of drugs by a physician well acquainted with the varied resources afforded by the science of nutrition? ?John H. Kellogg M.D.
There is hardly any medicinal drug whose chemical composition is not found in nature in one way or the other. In other words, herbs are the natural, unprocessed, unadulterated form of most drugs administered to patients day in and day out.

What then is the difference? Herbs contain chemical compounds placed there by God and have been found extremely useful for ages. Drugs are man-made combinations of chemical compounds. To give it its look and taste, it goes through a lot of processing which results in side-effects considered insignificant.
In this article I intend to talk about our nutrition as Ghanaians which in the long run determines our level of health which again becomes conspicuous when we age.

A dentist once travelled around the world, visiting primitive groups which had never tasted the Western diet. And he found that they had strong teeth and no cavities. This is just but one instance. It is sad and alarming seeing the Ghanaian diet gradually changing from the healthy ampesi, beans and kontomire kind of diet to the ?civilized diet? that is wounding our health gradually.

It has now become clear to the scientific world that the ?western diet? (junk food) has to be held responsible for the spread of diseases like piles, anal fissures, and other degenerative diseases ? hypertension, heart disease, bowel cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, stroke, obesity, osteoporosis, gall bladder disease, dental problems and diabetes. All these diseases come about because of improper nutrition.

I was motivated to write this article when I saw a statistical analysis of the occurrence of some of the above mentioned diseases in Ghana collated by a friend. Knowing that all these deadly diseases can be prevented with little effort, I decided to write this article to let everyone know that good nutrition is the simple remedy.

If you have no idea what junk food is, then according to Wikipedia, junk food is an informal term for food that is of little nutritional value and often high in fat, sugar, and calories.? Some of them are pizza, chocolate, crisps, cake, bagels, biscuits, cookies, popcorn, milkshake, soda, butter, potato wedges, pancakes, hot dogs, French fries, cheesecake, churros, hamburgers, fried rice and chicken and all those kinds of Western fast foods that Ghanaians buy thinking they are on top, they got all the ?swag?.
It?s high time we went back to our low oil, low salt unspiced soups, our kontomire, dandelion and other stewed herbs, bread and cereals (preferably whole grains), high fibre foods, beans, and fruits, low fat foods and limit the intake of alcohol to avoid cirrhosis of liver and high blood pressure.

?Our diet must be seasonal and natural in as much as the world we live in has seasons? ? Mr. Michael Osei Yaw, Ghanaian sociologist and geographer.

In other words, when its yam season eat yam, citrus season eat citrus, mango eat mango, palm fruit eat palm derived foods and so on.

I can write about the various bad foods we eat and how it harms us. So can I write about foods (natural herbs) that are curative to various deadly yet common diseases but I won?t because I don?t have the whole of this section to myself. But I leave Ghanaians with this dietetic advice so that the rampant occurrence of certain diseases will dwindle.

Always be happy. Because I believe that the natural healing mechanism of our body draws its power from our mind, our hearts and our emotions. After writing all this, it is worth noting that it is only God who has the power to give perfect health.
?Kwao Padi Tetteh

University of Development Studies

School of Medical Science, Tamale

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