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Locally-produced food and beverages are considered to be safe, nutritious and medicinal.  Other products are either harmful or potentially harmful because they contain vast amounts of salt, fat, refined sugar, additives, preservatives and alcohol. 

The following tips are issued for guidance:-

  1. 1.Fresh food and freshly-prepared food are generally safe and are the highest quality
  1. 2.Processed foods are generally high in fat, salt, refined sugar andThey are more likely to cause complications in persons with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and allergies.
  1. 3.When purchasing food from restaurants, cafes or street booths, check to ensure hot food is served hot, and cold cuts and salads are kept onUnsafe or contaminated food causes “food poisoning” with symptoms such as fever, bellyache, vomiting and diarrhea.  Persons may have to be hospitalized because of dehydration and sepsis (blood poisoning). 
  1. 4.Food handlers are required by law to be trained and posses a valid food handler’s permit at allSafe food handling practices should be expected without exception.  The server should wear approved headgear (netted).  There must a facility for hand washing with soap and towels for drying.  
  1. 5.Consume food inThree meals per day are sufficient.  Eat breakfast like a king/queen, lunch like a prince/princess, and dinner like a pauper.  Avoid piling-up food on plates.  Limit portion sizes to a single layer in an 8 – 10 oz diameter plate. 
  1. 6.Vegetables and provisions are best for easy digestion and regular passage ofConstipation is more likely caused by white flour, white rice, milk and excess snacks; not the lack of water.
  1. 7.Alcohol can impair judgment and increase the chance of riskyDo not drink then drive.  Alcohol and fatigue are a deadly combination.
  1. 8.If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount and consume withA standard drink is one 12 oz. beer; 4 oz. of wine; 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.  The recommended limits for an adult male and an adult female are no more than two standard drinks and one standard drinks per day, respectively. 
  1. 9.Stay active during thePhysical activity such as walking, jogging, swimming and dancing helps to reduce blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and generally improve heart and lung function.

The Ministry of Health wishes all a Blessed Christmas, and enjoyable carnival, and improved health in 2014.  Community Health Centers are open to provide health advice.  Make 2014 the year for keeping to your schedule of regular checks of weight for height, as well as the health of the breast, cervix (Pap smear), large intestines (colonoscopy), prostate, eyes, teeth and kidney function (urine test).  Ask the staff which test is right for you. 


Latoya Matthew – Duncan

Nutrition Officer

Health Promotion Unit

Ministry of Health, Basseterre        


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