HEALTH ADVICE AND ALTERNATIVES TO HIGH FAT AND CARBOHRATES IN THE AVERAGE NIGERIAN DIET - Grace Ngo Foundation

Health, Knowledge, Natural Food Matters

Thursday, 17 September 2015

HEALTH ADVICE AND ALTERNATIVES TO HIGH FAT AND CARBOHRATES IN THE AVERAGE NIGERIAN DIET

  • STEWS: Stews are popular in Nigeria.   The use of red palm oil, hydrogenated vegetable oils like the popular brands tagged “No Cholesterol, No Fat” and use of fried meat and chickens makes stews most unhealthy. The addition of sweeteners, taste enhancers containing, tin tomatoes makes it even worse.
  • AS YOU AGE: If you are over 30 years, it is advised you replace the red oil and other oils with organic peanut oil which do have a closer profile with olive oil, but better than olive oil when heated to high temperature. It has better smoke point and last longer when used in cooking than olive oil
  • RICE: Rice is a popular food and healthy, too, it none gas forming food and easier to digest only when it is brown rice or unpolished or the popular ofada rice. It is a good source of energy. It is best cooked with coconut oil when cooking jollof rice. The saturate and healthy fats in coconut oil reduce the insulin sensitivity in mature adults.
  • SOUPS: The composition of most soups in Nigeria are similar. Meat, Fish, vegetables, oils and condiments or taste enhancers. The use of excessive oil should be reduced. Red palm oil is a source of Vitamin A and E. This is okay in small amount. Light soups are however easier to be assimilated than the thick and concentrated variety.
  • VEGETABLES: Fresh Vegetables are better especially the ones in season than the dried ones. It is better to use sea salt which enhances taste and has better nutritional profile than refined salt and other sweeteners.
  • USE OF SPICES: Natural spices like garlic, ginger, thyme, nutmeg all have anti inflammatory, antifungal and anti bacterial properties and should be included regularly. The use of cayenne pepper should be added to the family menu – check our write-up on health benefits of cayenne pepper. It has antibacterial, anti inflammatory and fungal effects and even effective against ulcers. It is powerful home remedy for those experiencing insomnia and poor appetite. Always go for the fresh ones in the market.
7)    USE OF CUBES AS TASTE ENHANCERS OR MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE Use of taste enhancers should be avoided as much as possible. Sea salt does the job well.
WHAT ABOUT SOLIDS
Solids are a great source of energy that cannot be overlooked. The problem with solids consumption comes with the type/amount consumed.   Carbohydrates is essential, the problem is not with carbohydrates. Highly processed sources like white grains are vitamin deficient and encourage excessive eating.
Instead of the popular 3 solid sources (Garri, pounded yam and Corn fufu or amala) here are some good alternatives that you can try.
1)    Millet is high in protein half cup of cooked millet provides about 4.2 grams . It is also rich in calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and B group vitamins.
Simply mill the grains in a dry mill and prepare it in the same way as semolina or better still ferment it for about 48 hours for better nutrient absorption. It can also be taken as pap. (See our write up on health benefits of millet grains)
2)    Sorghum (Guinea corn) Although higher in calories than millet, guinea corn are good sources of carbohydrates one cup of sorghum contains 12.1mg of dietary fibre 21.7g of protein 551mg of phosphorus, 672mg of potassium 53.8mg of calcium and 8.4mg of iron.
Simply mill the grains in a dry mill and prepare it in the same way you will prepare Semolina.
3)    Oat Fufu: Oat is high in fiber and has the magical power to remove bad cholesterol from the body. Oat is also a good source of manganese, selenium, phosphorus, fiber, magnesium and zinc
Buy unflavored who oat, mill and run it through a sieve. Prepare the same way as semolina or tuwo.
4)    Unripe Plantain flour: Plantains are a good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin C, a, B-complex vitamins and other minerals including potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.
To make plantain flour, simply dehydrate (or sun- dry) raw unripe plantains, mill and sieve into a powder. Prepare the same was as semolina (use smaller amount of water)
5)    Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are low in Sodium and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They are also good source of Dietary fiber, B6, potassium, Vitamin A, C and Manganese.
To make sweet potatoes flour, simply dehydrate or sun- dry raw unpeeled sweet potatoes, mill and sieve into a powder. Prepare the same way as semolina or amala.
6)    Milled brown rice: This is also great solid alternative that can be included. Use local ofada rice or brown rice. These are unrefined and still retaining their nutrients such as selenium, manganese, fiber and other vitamins and minerals.
Simply mill the rice grains and prepare it in the same way you will prepare semolina or tuwo.
It is also important to state that it is always best to go natural whenever possible


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