West Africans have some of the healthiest diets in the world

People in Mali, Chad, Senegal and Sierra Leone enjoy healthier diets than their counterparts in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan or Canada, according to a study published in The Lancet Global Health this spring.

Using self-reported diet surveys from 187 countries that are home to 89% of the world’s adult population, researchers led by Fumiaki Imamura from the University of Cambridge analyzed the intake of healthy foods such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fish, as well as foods containing fiber and omega-3s. They also looked at the consumption of unhealthy foods such as sugary drinks, saturated fats, sodium, and processed meats.

Taken all together, Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly West Africa, ranked better than wealthier regions in North America and Europe, probably because of a diet comprised of lean meats, vegetables, legumes, and staple starches, with less processed foods than countries that fared worse (such as the US and Russia):

There’s one important caveat. The study examines only nutrition—the quality of diet—and does not speak to the quantity of food consumed. It assumes that all adults surveyed are consuming 2,000 calories a day. The prevalence of malnourishment in Sub-Saharan Africa was around 24% (pdf, p. 8) in 2012, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

These eating habits contribute to the non-communicable diseases—cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory illnesses—that are expected to account for 73% of all deaths by 2020. That’s a reality that is already being felt in the developing world, including some parts of Africa, as people settle into more sedentary, urban lifestyles, and obesity rates rise.

Written by Lily Kuo
Culled from Quartz.com


Top 5 Nigerian Dishes With Health Benefits

Nigeria counts as having a vast variety of soups not only that but also the soups are one of the most delicious soups in Africa. There are lots of Nigerian soups… almost 50. And We all eat soups all the time with our eba, semo or akpu to escort it. So in no particular order lets see the top 5 . Please feel free to comment with your top 5

Okro soup

okra provides numerous health benefits. Known as a high antioxidant food, okra may support improvement in cardiovascular and coronary heartdisease, type 2 diabetes, digestive diseases, and even some cancers. Okra is also abundant in several vitamins and minerals, including thiamin, vitamin B6, folic acid, riboflavin/vitamin B2, zinc and dietary fiber. Okro is also used to improve eyesight and a good source of protein.

Bitter leaf soup

Bitter leaf soup is a popular Nigerian dishe. It contains an antiseptic that is very effective to reduce inside heat. Contents like andrographolide lactones, glucosides, diterpene,and flavonoids present in bitter leaf serve to reduce Fever. Bitter leaf can also prevent cancer. It treats hydatidiform mole, trophoblastic tumor and lung tumor which was the forerunner of cancer. Andrographolide bitter extract shows activity in particular substances that are effective in preventing liver disease/liver, improve the immune system, anti-cancer, and so forth. Bitter leaf is also good for treating hypertension and diabetes. The Andrographolide is the main active ingredient in bitter that serves to reduce levels of glucose in the blood which helps in treating diabetes.

Garden egg soup

Garden egg locally known as lgba to the Yorubas and Anara to the Igbos is rich in dietary fiber, manganese, potassium and magnesium. It is also very rich in vitamin B. Garden eggs helps nervous system and heart and lowering blood sugar level.

Egusi soup (melon seed soup)

Egusi soup or melon seed soup is one the most popular soups in Nigerian. This melon seed is reach in protein and fats. It also contains a sufficient amount of Vitamin A and C.which means it plays an important role in vision, reproduction, Growth, Bones and teeth formation.

Ewedu soup (jute leaf)
This leaf is called(Ewedu) among the Yoruba people and it is one of their most popular soup.This leaf contains almost all of the nutrients needed by humans and are high in antioxidant property, primarily in the form of Vitamin E. It is rich in micro nutrients, and these micro nutrients aid in reducing the chances of illness. The main vitamins found in (ewedu leaves) are vitamin A, C and E, and these vitamins are key in the protection of the body from certain degenerative diseases.
The vitamins present in Ewedu leaf (Jute) are also known to be skin beautifying agents as they tend to increase the production of collagen, thus keeping the skin firm and beautiful.


Top 7 Local Nigerian Fruits And Their Health Benefits

Nigeria is located in the tropical zone and hence a lot of amazing fruits grow there. Today it’ll fun to find out the Top Nigerian local fruits and their health benefits.
I will be giving a brief description of each fruit, highlighting their nutritional value and some of their health benefits. This list is in no particular order. Stay tuned.

1. African pear
Ube or Atili is commonly known as African Pear. It is scientifically known as botanically known as Dascroides Edulis. African pear is a very delicious fruit and it can be eaten raw or roasted with salt.
The Health Benefits of African pear are based on its nutritional value. It contains 48 percent oil, vitamin D, ascorbic acid, calcium, folic acid and magnesium.

Health benefits are :
• It contains a lot of antioxidants due the presence of rich vitamin C content.
• African pear has a lot of calcium, which means that it taking it often can notably reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
• It presence of folic acid makes it great for pregnant women. Because it helps them avoid infant deformity such as spina bifida.
• The fleshy back of the fruits can be used to treat skin disease like body rash.

2. Black velvet tamarind
Black velvet tamarind is locally known as, ‘Icheku’ in Nigeria. The fruits are very small, about a centimetre in diameter, The fruits have a black velvet shell. It is normally eaten by cracking the shell to reveal an orange pulp, that is sucked or chewed. They can be taken as snacks or soaked in water to produce a kind of drink

The nutritional contents of black velvet tamarind are beta-carotene (Vitamin A), tartaric acid, sodium, potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamin C.

The health benefits of black velvet tamarind are:

• Generally, it is a healthy fruit, due to its numerous nutritional content it has manifold functions in the body like regulating cell function or red blood cell production.
• It equally has antioxidant properties ( tartaric acid) that prevent free radicals from harming our body.
• They also have a lot of dietary fiber that reduce the LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body.
• It is also used medicinally as a laxative.

3. Soursop
Also known as graviola, Soursop is a fruit with green, spiny skin. It has a whitish inside which is eaten. It is extremely delicious and has a considerable amount of sourness. This fruit is packed with coolness and is wonderfully refreshing when taken in dry season.

The Health Benefits of sour sop are:
• It is used herbally to reduce, stomach pain and cramps.
• It can also be used to treat respiratory system problems like cough.
• It contains many phytochemicals that slow down the growth of cancer cells.

4. Garden egg
Garden eggs locally known as Anara to the Igbos and Igba to the Yorubas. This fruit has a spongy, seedy flesh that is crunchy and slightly bitter. It is eaten with a peanut paste (Ose Orji), then it gets very delicious. Garden egg is scientifically called Solanum Melongena,

The nutritional contents of garden eggs are, dietary fiber, manganese, potassium and magnesium. It is also very rich in vitamin B.

The health benefits of garden eggs are:
• It is excellent for people that want to lose weight, because of it’s poor calorie count.
• It is very good during hot weather, it can hydrate you immeasurably.
• Garden eggs are so good for the nervous system and heart.
• They help in lowering blood sugar level.

5. Pepper fruit
Pepperfruit, is locally known as Mmimi and Ata Igberi Igbos and Yorubas respectively. It is spicy fruit. The fruits are small in size. When unripe versions they are green in color, but when ripe, they are red with sweet soft, juicy flesh. It can be eaten as a snack or even used as a condiment.
The Health benefits of pepper fruits are :
• Because of its spicy pungent aroma, it is used to treat nasal congestion and cold.
• It is used to prevent glaucoma, because it reduces intra ocular pressure.
• It is given to pregnant women, because it helps in uterine contraction.

6. African star apple
African star apple is known as Agbalumo to the Yorubas and udala to the Igbos, This is a very popular African fruit. It has an orange skin, a deep orange pulp and brown strong seeds. This fruit is delightfully sweet. This fruit is commonly seen around December to March.
The nutritional value of African star apple are : Dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin C and Iron.
The Health Benefits of African Star apple are;
• It is very powerful in the treatment of diarrhea and fever.
• It is also great for weight loss because it just contains 65 calories and is poor in fat content.

7. Almond fruit
To almost evvery Nigerian, this fruit is simply known as fruit. It is a very common fruit that grows many times a year. It is green when unripe and yellow when ripe.
The nutritional value of the almond fruit are: protein, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium and potassium.

The health benefits of almond fruits are:
• They reduce heart attack risk notably.
• They help alkalize the body because of high amount of calcium and potassium.
• They provide healthy fats and aid weight loss.

By Collins Nwokolo

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