Traditional African food stands out because of its high nutritional value and great taste. The mouth-watering dishes will tickle your taste buds with unique flavours, leaving you salivating for more. Sadly, these sumptuous dishes that once nourished African people have now been replaced with the Western diet, where almost all foods are deep-fried, shallow fried, or pan-fried.
We have completely removed mushrooms, root crops, tubers, edible insects, sesame, cereals, among other healthy African food, from our menu. On the rare occasions that we are preparing these meals, we’ve modified the traditional cooking methods. It’s become a frying spree. This transition has been linked to the increase of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
As we strive to catch up with the globalized food culture, we mustn't forget the nutritional value of traditional African food and its potential to elevate our overall health.
High in fibre
African diets rich in fibre include millet, cassava, vegetables, various legumes, sorghum, barley, plantain, and fruits. Diet rich in fibre has been shown to reduce the risk of heart diseases. This is because soluble fibre lowers the rate of cholesterol absorption in the blood.
Fibre also helps with constipation and improves bowel movement. Moreover, if you are thinking of watching your weight, these high fibre foods are perfect for weight control. These foods make you feel full for a long time. As a result, you’ll eat less, which in the long run leads to fewer calories and ultimately better weight management.
Organic and natural foods
Traditional African food is organic, natural, and whole. Traditionally, the crops are grown from seeds harvested from the previous year. They are not genetically modified. During planting, processed fertilizer is not used, nor are pesticides used throughout the plant’s life. Animal manure is used for fertilizing the land and increasing its productivity. There is very little, of any chemical that is used in producing traditional African foods.
Low sodium intake reduces the risk of diseases such as hypertension. In the traditional African setup, herbs and spices are the main ingredients when cooking. The natural flavouring ensures every meal is nutrient-packed with minimal additives. For example, tubers like yams or cassava are boiled with water without adding any flavours. If salt is used in cooking, it is used sparingly.
Traditional African food is mostly vegetables, fruits, and starches. Cooked meals are low on fats as they are not fried. When it comes to meat, animals are leaner because they graze in the natural environment.
Grilling, wrapping with leaves, steaming, roasting, boiling, and grilling are the main cooking methods in African cuisines. These cooking methods lock in the natural flavours.
From wild game to yams to pumpkin leaves, there is a wide variety of foods that provide just the right nutritional balance in your body. You can never go wrong with traditional African food where a balanced diet is concerned. From Minerals to vitamins, your body will be fully nourished with every meal.
Give motherland diet a chance
All these benefits are an incentive to add traditional African diets to your meal plan. Instead of fast food, why not prepare nutritious dishes like Mukimo, Doro wat or Matoke? Your body craves the nutritional value of these delicious African foods!
Also read: Must-Try Superfoods for Awesome Memory