Cocoyam contains rich nutrients to fight COVID-19 infection, a Federal Government agency said yesterday.
Director-General of the Raw Materials Research Fund Development Council (RMRDC) Prof Hussaini Ibrahim listed the nutritional contents in cocoyam as digestible starch, good quality protein, Vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and high scores of proteins and essential amino acids.
The RMRDC boss described cocoyam as a neglected crop with more nutritional benefits than cassava and yam. He spoke in Abuja at the presentation of a book: Cocoyam: A crop of choice for nutrition and management of diabetes mellitus.
Represented by Dr. Bola Olugbemi, director of Industrial Extension Services, Hussein said: “Some of the issues of those who fall to COVID-19 are those with diabetes, high blood pressure and some other opportunistic diseases that attacks the immune system and when such people are exposed to COVID-19, they easily fall victims.
“So, what we are saying is that if you can take care of diabetes, then your immune system will be much higher. If you consume cocoyam, your body tends to have higher immune level that can combat the incidents of COVID-19, so cocoyam is very important because you will not fall easily to COVID-19, which is why we say it is a crop of choice to those who have the illnesses that can be attractive to COVID-19.
“Cocoyam is a veritable raw material with a lot of nutrients, with higher protein content than our normal root crops like cassava and yam, it has a lot of essential vitamins as well as minerals that are good for the body. They have materials that reduce instances of disease, cocoyam on its own has what we call low glycemic index.
“Sugar is converted to glycogen, which can be stored in the body so that when you have emergencies, glycogen will be pumped into the system and the body will process it, consuming cocoyam will help because it has two carbohydrate, one fibre and the other we call resistant carbohydrate or starch.
“So, if you have a body that is not functioning very well in terms of insulin production, it is important you consume cocoyam.”
Book author Eberechukwu Emeh said she wrote on cocoyam because it is a crop that has been neglected despite its nutritional value.
Credit: The Nation (Photo Credit: The Nation)