Pineapples

Despite their rough, scaly green, brown or yellowish skin the pineapples also known as Ananas are juicy, vibrant tropical fruits that balance the tastes of sweet and tart. A pineapple is good for one’s healthy wellbeing with a unique nutritional profile and also a good economy booster.

Pineapples grow in tropical climates such as southern and western portions of Africa. Ghana, Nigeria and Ivory Cost are the largest pineapple producers in the continent. In South Africa, the Eastern Cape is the biggest pineapple producing region in the country. Burthurst and East London provide the warm and frost-free conditions to bring pineapples to perfect ripeness. Africa has a unique advantage to profit from this lucrative market for the tropical fruit which grows abundantly on our continent. Africa has a strong geographic advantage, being the region that enjoys all year round sunlight and has a perfect climate for pineapples to thrive. Pineapples grow and perform very well in the many parts of sub-Saharan Africa where the soil and tropical climate is just perfect for them. They don’t require a lot of water and can survive the little soil. Pineapples have long and tough leaves which use the power of the sun to provide all the food and water the plant needs, and they multiply fast and only require little care after planting.

Its fruiting season runs from March until June but pineapples can be found on the market all year round. In South Africa, all produced pineapple fruit is processed at the Summerpride Foods factory in East London, which supplies high-quality concentrate to international beverage industry. Blue Skies, based in Ghana purchases harvested pineapples from local communities and neighbouring countries a large proportion of these is are processed into fresh pineapple chunks, juice and concentrates of which is exported to Europe. Entrepreneurs can make up to three to five times more money if this fruit is exported, for example Ghana and Ivory Cost are making more than fifty million US Dollars every year from pineapple sells to Europe.

Pineapples are high in fibre with a firm texture and it is bromelain rich (bromelain is a relatively rare enzyme which can breakdown proteins) which makes them a far much healthier choice of dessert than the vast majority of sweet foods one can have. The best time to take a pineapple is on its own on an empty stomach and they are a surprise to one’s health. You can enjoy a pineapple as a dessert, fruit, morning or afternoon snack and as freshly made pineapple juice.

Health benefits of Pineapples

  • Digestion: because of high fibre and water content; they help prevent constipation and promote regularity and healthy digestive tract.
  • Asthma prevention: it has a beta-carotene which prevents the development of Asthma.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Coughs and colds: as an excellent source of the antioxidant Vitamin C, pineapples can help in preventing and curing coughs and colds.
  • Healing and inflammation: some studies have shown that the enzymes found in pineapples can reduce swelling, bruising and shorten the healing time and pain associated with injury and surgical intervention.
  • Bromelain is currently used for treating and reduction of inflammation, sprains, strains and other minor muscle injuries as well as swelling related to ear, nose and throat surgeries or trauma.
  • Pineapples also contain high potassium which reduces the risk of stroke, protection against the loss of muscle mass, prevention of bone mineral density and the reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
  • Pineapples can help with prevention of the formation of free radicals known to cause cancers – prostate, colon etc.
  • Lowers blood glucose levels in type 1 Diabetic people and improves blood sugar in type 2 Diabetic people.
  • Pineapples also have astringent properties, which strengthen gums and make sure your teeth do not become loose. Astringent agents also help to tighten tissues and tone the body. Prevents also hair loss, muscles weakness and skin loosening does not occur.
  • Pineapples as Vitamin C powerhouse, helps with the boosting of the immune system by stimulating the white blood cells.

So go on enjoy the sweet, juicy and tart pineapples guilty free and share the health benefits!!

By Mazi Marry Phiri

Africa’s Healthy Food and Their Health Benefits

Food is a crucial aspect of lifestyle in Africa. It unites family members and allows them to have conversations at the table. During holidays, Africans enjoy gathering around the meal table – it’s a great way to meet new people or reunite with relatives.

Unfortunately, for many, food is also the enemy, causing rapid increases in diseases across Africa, such as heart attack, type-2 diabetes, stoke and certain cancers.

The number one culprit of food-related diseases is a diet rich in fast food. For many, not only is fast food tasty but it is affordable, satisfying and filling. Additionally, it’s also easy to have during a busy schedule.

Most healthy foods or “Superfoods” tend to be inaccessible or expensive to the average African, making individuals feel like they are not getting enough from their diet. Luckily, being healthy does not always have to involve a visit to the supermarket. In fact, most healthy foods can be found at home.

The following are some African staples that have been touted as some of the healthiest food options in Africa, and some even around the world.

1. Coconut and coconut oil

Coconuts and coconut oil consist of lauric acid and heart-healthy fatty acids, that also boost brain function. Furthermore, coconut milk contains protein and it helps enhance skin and digestive system health. Lauric acid possesses antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties making it an excellent addition to your palate. To top it all off, coconut milk can make a wonderful and delicious “energy drink” due to its massive levels of electrolytes that can hydrate the body and boost its energy levels.

2. Tamarind

While some like to have tamarind solo, others like to make a juice which is rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that can be incorporated into various dishes to boost flavor. The pulp is a great source of fiber and consuming it can also help restore electrolyte balance, similar to coconut water.

3. Teff

Teff is a grain grown mainly in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is packed with nutrients, especially calcium, iron, protein and vitamin C – a combination that is not typically found in grains.

4. Fonio

A close relative to millet, fonio is a grain resistant to drought and also an African favourite in stews, salads and porridges. It is rich in amino acids and fibre, making it a superb choice for your regular meals.

5. Amaranth

Amaranth is incredibly dense in protein, with 30% more protein than most cereal grains like rye, sorghum and rice. Amaranth’s nutritional profile is comparable to those of oats and wheat germ, which means it’s also full of fiber, antioxidants and minerals.

6. Moringa

Moringa has become quite popular over recent years due to its high levels of chlorophyll, minerals and vitamins. Moringa’s high calcium, iron, protein, magnesium, vitamin A and Vitamin C levels have also lead to it being called a superfood by many health experts. In fact, some estimates show that moringa may contain 25 times the iron found in spinach, twice the protein from yogurt, 7 times the vitamin C in oranges and 4 times the calcium in milk!

7. Pumpkin leaves

Pumpkin leaves are consumed all over Africa and are often eaten dried or fresh. You can steam the leaves like spinach or sauté with your favorite oil and seasoning. Pumpkin leaves have adequate levels of calcium, iron, folate, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B and C.

Health Benefits of Morogo (African Spinach) + Recipe

Morogo also known as wild or African Spinach, refers to a group of various dark leafy vegetables indigenous to Africa and harvested for human consumption.

Some cultures choose to dry the leaves and eat them during the dry season when chances of planting are not good. Morogo is mainly valuable in our
communities as it gives an inexpensive way of obtaining the nutrients that the body requires.

Health Benefits

  • Morogo is rich in vitamin A and C, iron, Omega 3s and calcium.
  • Consumption of morogo can minimize the risk of vascular-related chronic diseases and Type 2 diabetes

Morogo Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches of morogo
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 250ml water
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper
  • Barbecue or any spice of your choice.

Clean morogo in cold water. Take out the stem and throw away. Chop the leaves. Pour water in a pot, then add the chopped leaves. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 20-30 minutes, or until soft. In the meantime fry the onions in a pan with olive oil, add black pepper and barbecue or any spice of your choice. Then add tomatoes, bring to a simmer. Pour the tomatoes in a pot of cooked morogo. Add salt to taste and simmer until well blended.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org https://nutritioncommsa.wordpress.com/