The world is at the age where health matters most. Consequently, there is a conscious trend to watch what we eat, especially when it directly pertains to our health and wellbeing. This is why superfoods from Africa are the new sought-after nutrient provider.
They help boost our health and serve us with all the nutrients needed. That’s why they are a rave with healthy food-obsessed people. You can get a lot of nutrients from these foods. However, you have to know which is which and what benefits you the most.
This article will show you the best superfoods from Africa that will help you maintain a steady and healthy diet.
What Is a Superfood?
A superfood is a food packed with a high quantity of nutrients that helps improve your diet, health, and overall well-being. These food are different because they contain nutrients that are needed to even improve the immune system.
However, nutritionally, there is no such thing as superfoods. This is because no food is 100% packed with all the nutrients needed. Although, some foods are nutritionally rich and are highly recommended in our daily diet to boost our immune system and prevent diseases.
This is one of the reasons why these foods are classified as superfoods; well asides from the marketing promotions gain.
With the rise of superfoods, there has been a search for food with high nutrient density not just from North America, but from around the world. This led to the recognition of some superfoods that are grown in Africa.
Africa has a rich stable of superfoods grown in different parts of the continent. These foods are rich in dietary fiber and low in sodium, and fat and they have proven to be exceptionally good to the health when added to a diet.
Superfoods From Africa
The amaranth is a vibrantly colored plant, that both its leaves and grain are edible and highly nutritious. It is high in protein, containing 30% more than cereals. The amaranth is touted to be the complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids.
It also contains vitamins and minerals like vitamin B2, B3, vitamin C, E, K, phosphorus, potassium, niacin, zinc, calcium, and magnesium.
Due to its rich nutrients, the amaranth can be used to prevent heart diseases and it also boosts the immune system. It can be grown anywhere as it needs little care and also grows in the drought season.
The amaranth grains can be sued for baking, porridge, and roasting, while the leaves can be boiled and eaten.
They are of the legumes family and are mostly found in North Africa. Chickpeas are rich in fiber and proteins. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals. Chickpeas being a nutrient-rich superfood makes them good for the health.
They aid in the reduction of blood cholesterol because they are rich in fiber. Chickpeas also benefit people with diabetes because of the rich fiber and have been recommended by the American Diabetes Association as a good dietary fiber.
Chickpeas are also rich in iron and calcium which improves bone health and structure. Their richness in potassium makes them the right food in reducing high blood pressure. A cup of chickpeas weighing 164g provides 474mg of potassium.
The date fruit of the date palm tree is also popular in the Northern parts of Africa. They are mostly consumed dried and are brownish in color. Dates have chewy sweet flavors and are high in nutrients like fiber, potassium, manganese, iron, and protein.
They are also high in antioxidants that help fight diseases. Three major antioxidants in dates include flavonoids that help reduce inflammation and reduce the potential risk of diabetes.
Carotenoids help promote heart health and reduce eye-related disorders, such as macular degeneration.
Meanwhile, phenolic acid, which is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, helps lower the risk of cancer and heart diseases.
The teff is a fine grain majorly found in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is a grain that is high in calcium; leading all the grains because of its calcium contents (a cup contains 123mg of calcium) and gluten-free. It is also high in iron, protein, and vitamin C, which is unusual for a grain.
The teff grain is touted as one of the smallest grains that are easy to cook and digest. Its richness in fiber makes it one of the easiest grains that aid digestion, making it better than wheat flour. Teff grains are also easily sustainable, sprouting only after 36 hours after sowing.
Teff grain can be enjoyed as a snack, chip, porridge, or additives to shakers, and of cause used as flour for bread.
The fonio is a grain that is brown-sugar-like in taste. It is native to West African Sahel. The grain is related to the millet family. It is gluten-free, has a low Glycaemic Index (GI), and high in proteins and amino acids. It also has zinc, irons, phosphorus, and vitamins B1 and B3.
The fonio is a fast-growing grain that can be producing grain within six to eight weeks of sowing. It is also fast cooking (under seven minutes).
Fonio’s low sugar contents make it good for diabetes. It reduces the fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels. It also aids digestion because it is high in fiber content and easily passes through the digestive system.
The Fonio also aids weight loss due to the high-level fiber content. Its high concentration in iron helps prevent anemia and it is especially good for pregnancy.
Additionally, the fonio can be cooked boiled, as stated it is easily prepared and it can be ready in less than seven minutes.
6. Pumpkin Leaves
It is a dark green leafy vegetable that is mostly found in the West African region. It is rich in water, potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, K, vitamin c, copper, amino acids like leucine and lysine, and folate.
Pumpkin leaves contain lots of soluble fiber that is good for the heart and reduces the absorption of cholesterol, thus reduces blood cholesterol. Iron also boosts the immune system, giving the red blood cells the energy it needs to fight diseases.
The pumpkin leaves also help in reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The leaves have low levels of vitamin B6, which are related to the increased symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. They can be cooked boiled or enjoyed stir-fried.
The kenkiliba shrub another one of the superfoods in Africa is a very nutritious plant that is mostly used for tea. Found mostly in western Africa like Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Gambia, and Guinea, the kenkiliba leaves are used as detoxifying agents and a native cure-all in these countries.
It is also a good treatment for constipation as it aids digestive functions and appetite. Though not scientifically proven, the kenkiliba is said to be good for numerous diseases and heart problems. But the kenkiliba does support blood purification, gallstone relief, and skin health.
Yams are grown in tropical regions in Africa and there are different variants in the world also. They are a great source of fiber, potassium, and manganese that provide good bone health, metabolism, and heart function.
Yams also contain a high amount of copper and vitamin C that are good for red blood cell production and antioxidants that boost the immune system.
They also have a healthy dose of resistant starch that helps in the increase of digestive enzymes that help break food down.
This is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. This is because all parts of the moringa tree – bark pods, leaves, nuts, seeds, roots, tubers, and flowers – are edible and healthy. It is homed in Africa and South Asia.
The moringa contains a high level of protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin A. It has even been speculated the moringa’s nutrients are higher than that of regular protein like milk and yogurt.
The leaves can be dried and grounded into powder. Powder derived from the moringa is used for tea and is said to be a remedy for malnutrition.
Frequently Aksed Questions
Do superfoods from Africa help in weight loss?
There is no scientific study that proves superfoods help in weight loss. However, they are good for maintaining a balanced and rich diet.
As a result, you should eat superfoods if your plan is to maintain your weight rather than to lose it.
Are superfoods from Africa high in protein?
Yes, they are. Superfoods that have protein usually have it in a rich and nutritional quantity. However, not all superfoods have protein in them.
If you want to take a protein-rich diet, eat superfoods from Africa that are rich in protein to get the strength you need.
Will superfoods improve your health?
Yes, they will. Superfoods are foods rich in nutrients. Consequently, they will improve your overall health.
Superfoods are packed with nutritious properties that help you stay healthy and balanced. Furthermore, the foods will not cause harm, unless you are allergic.
There is a shift in what people count as nutritious for the body. Gradually, the world is looking on to superfoods from Africa as the choice of foods for their nutrient-rich properties.
Some tout that these superfoods also treat illness. However, there is no study to prove this. Nonetheless, it does not negate the rich flavor and improved overall health when you stick with a superfood-rich diet.
So add superfoods to improve your diet, stay healthy, and boost your immune system.
Thanks for reading.
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