Most African foods are healthier than foods in other parts of the world. Because of the consumption of a healthy fresh item lower in added sugar, fat and sodium. Which helps to prevent any forms of ailment and heart diseases
For example, pounded yam with green amaranth vegetable and goat meat are fresh African diet.
It’s essential to consume healthy Nigerian food at all times so that if you do get a common stomach ailment your body’s immune system is strong and can fight the infection. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.
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According to the lancer global health, from 1990-2010 they concluded that unhealthy food worsens the whole thing which leads to chronic diseases most of which are poor diet-related. As stated in our Top 4 Healthy Nigerian Food and Recipes
African dishes are rich sources of nutrients and fiber, they are as diverse as the hundreds of different cultures, tribes and ethnic nationalities that inhabit the continent. In this article, we have outlined the African food facts and the major benefits of African foods.
5 Major Health Benefits for African Foods
Like most traditional Heritage diets, the traditional Nigerian diet provided many benefits which kept Nigerian and African foods healthy
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1. African Foods Are Natural and Organic
The traditional African method of farming was organic. Animals roamed free and manure was used to fertilize crops grown from seeds gathered from previous years. This method of growing crops and raising animals meant that fewer chemicals were used and the African people were generally healthier.
Cooking Methods Retaining natural flavors is an essential component of African cooking. Steaming food wrapped in leaves, boiling, grilling, roasting, and traditional fermented foods and probiotics are important cooking methods for traditional African cuisine
2. African Foods Lowers Cancer Risk
Dr. Denis Burkitt a renowned researcher in food science, and a major authority in African food history, in his study concluded that western diets high in animal protein and fat but low in fiber raise the risk of colon cancer compared to African diets, which are high in whole food carbohydrate and, fiber but low in fat, protein, and oils.
3. African Foods Are Low in Sodium
African dishes traditionally rely on natural flavors, modern seasoning such as table Salt and monosodium glutamate are new inventions introduced to African cooking. Although traditional African cooking techniques rely heavily on natural flavors salt is used moderately as a staple seasoning during the preparation of the food and not more processed and higher in sugar, fats and sodium taste as obtained in western diets. Several studies have linked sodium levels to high blood pressure.
4. African Foods Are High in Fiber
As observed by Dr. Denis Burkitt African dishes are high in fiber which has been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and heart disease because of its beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. The high Fiber content of African diets also improve bowel movement, prevents constipation and helps in the slow absorption of sugar from the blood which lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The main reason for this conclusion from that study was that local diets in Sub-Saharan Africa are rich in dietary fiber (major sources of dietary fiber include fruits, vegetables, maize, fonio, millet, cocoyam, beans, etc.), low in added sugar, fat, and sodium.
In addition, the high fiber content of African food or dishes increases the feeling of fullness leading to less frequent consumption of food and fewer calories which promotes weight management.
5. African Foods Are Low in Fat
The World Health Organization recommends that individuals should not consume more than 7% of total calories from saturated fat. 1 gram of fat yields doubles the number of calories from the same amount of carbohydrate and protein. Researchers at Harvard in a recent study concluded that trans-fat could be responsible for as many as 30,000 premature coronary deaths per year. African diet is, mostly low in fat which significantly reduces the risk of the accumulation of plaques in the arteries which have been linked to cardiovascular diseases.
How Can African Foods Be Used To Improve Health?
Choosing foods that are rich in a variety of nutrients goes a long way to ensure good health. African diets are rich in nutrients but that does not mean you can eat without limits.
In order to use African foods to improve health, you need to control how much you eat. If you are eating more food than what you need to do your daily activities, you are overeating.