Goodbye to Kale and Hello to Africa’s Top 5 Superfoods
An apple a day may keep the doctor away but does it increase good health and wellness? As the search for the next great “superfood” intensifies, many health food fanatics are increasingly turning to foods originating from and native to Africa. So move over Kale and say hello to Africa’s top 5 super foods.
Baobab – According to the National Geographic blog, the fruit “contains six times as much vitamin C as oranges, twice as much calcium as milk, and plenty of B vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, and antioxidants.” In the fall of 2009, the FDA approved the use of baobab in foods and drinks, and the dried fruit powder (which is actually the natural state of the fruit pulp) was assigned GRAS status. This means: generally regarded as safe. Not only is it considered a general cure-all tonic, but it’s also commonly used particularly to treat fevers, malaria, gastric problems, and vitamin C deficiency among other ailments.
Enjoying Baobab Fruit Powder is easy:
* Mix it with water or juice. Baobab by itself tastes like diluted lemonade, very refreshing after a hard workout.
* Add it to yoghurt or smoothies for an antioxidant treat.
* Stir a spoonful into breakfast cereal or oatmeal.
* Mix it into the batter for pancakes, waffles or other baked goods.
* You can even add it to tea, marinades or sauces. Some can be purchased by clicking here.
Tamarind – It’s a condiment. It’s a spice. It’s a bean. The “Manila sweet,” as the tamarind is sometimes called, is all of the above. Tamarind seed extract is deliciously tangy and contains prominent nutrients such as vitamin C, copper, magnesium and iron to mention a few! Tamarind preparations are used for fevers, sore throat, rheumatism, inflammation, and sunstroke. Dried or boiled tamarind leaves and flowers are made into poultices for swollen joints, sprains, boils, hemorrhoids, and conjunctivitis.
Tamarinds also contain high levels of tartaric acid, just as citrus fruits contain citric acid and an easy recipe is tamarind water: just soak prepackaged tamarind paste in water, strain it, and add as part of your liquid requirements to stir fries, sauces, or curries. However, consume tamarind in moderation because it contains fructose, which may be harmful to your health in excessive amounts. Get some at your local grocery store.
Hibiscus a.k.a. Karkade, Wonjo – known as karkadé in Levant, Egypt & Sudan and bissap, tsoborodo or wonjo in West Africa, Hibiscus is so dark that it is often mistaken for red wine and makes a strikingly scarlet iced tea. Served hot, it makes a warming, energizing tea. In Africa, especially the Sahel, hibiscus tea is commonly sold on the street and the dried flowers can be found in every market. Variations on the drink are popular in West Africa and parts of Central Africa and in Senegal, bissap is known as the “national drink of Senegal”. Similar beverages include wanjo in The Gambia, dabileni in Mali, and zobo or tsobo in all of Nigeria (Oooo i love tsobo. You really should try some)!
Hibiscus flowers contain anthocyanins, which are believed to be active antihypertensive compounds and preliminary study has shown that drinking hibiscus tea may lower blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes, prehypertension, or mild hypertension. Infact, the effects of drinking hibiscus tea are comparable to blood-pressure medication. This can also be purchased at your local store or on Amazon.
Moringa – The leaves are rich in protein, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, and minerals. Feeding the high-protein leaves to cattle has been shown to increase weight gain by up to 32% and milk production by 43 to 65%. The defatted meal can be used in water purification to settle out sediments and undesirable organisms. Moringa is also reported as anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anticancer, anti-ulcer and much more!
Moringa leaves can be eaten in all sorts of ways such as in salads or added to rice, pasta or any other dish. The list is really endless. Alternatively, juice, fry or steam the leaves in any meal, bake Moringa in goodies or add to shakes and baby milk. Just get creative! I like this store because they have organic moringa.
Ginger – Aromatic, pungent and spicy, ginger adds a special flavor and zest to many fruit and vegetable dishes. Raw ginger juice is especially effective at invigorating the body and promoting good digestion, and is drunk liberally in Senegal and other Muslim West African countries during public and social occasions, as alcohol is avoided. This can also be found at any food store.
And now, a treat for you. Please let me know how it turns out and how you like it. Enjoy!
1. Melt the butter over a low heat. Crush the biscuits to crumbs and add to melted butter. Once blended, press the mixture into the base of springform pan.
2. Mix cream cheese, sugar, baobab powder and Amarula cream until consistency is smooth. Squeeze in lemon juice and combine.
3. Spoon the mixture onto the pressed breadcrumbs and spread evenly across the dish.
4. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. (Optional finish with a thin layer of passion fruit)