Healthy eating is a big deal in the world these days, but in Ghana it’s nothing new. Traditional eating habits have always been focused on health and well-being.
These traditions have been passed down from generation to generation and are important now because watching what – and how – you eat is vital in today’s world.
Food is the body’s fuel. In the same way high performance fuel can produce higher performance in an engine than a low-quality fuel, so can clean and healthy eating enable the body and mind to function at peak performance, the benefits of which carry over into work and daily life.
An added benefit is, these tips also make for delicious foods.
1. Boil Before Peeling
Yams, cocoyams and sweet potatoes are some of the most common tubers around and can be eaten in a variety of ways.
Should you choose to enjoy them boiled, however, you might want to hold off on peeling them before you put them on the fire. This is because such tubers have essential nutrients such as Beta Carotene, an antioxidant that helps maintain healthy skin and also plays a vital role in eye health. This vital nutrient is traditionally believed to be lost in some quantity when peeled before boiling. The better way is to wash them, boil, and then peel them, and enjoy!
2. Switch It Up and Roast Your Plantain Instead of Frying It
Everybody loves plantain. In addition to tasting wonderful, plantain also boosts the immune system, helps guard against high blood pressure and detoxifies the blood.
Plantain is commonly enjoyed fried when ripe, but have you tried roasting them instead?
Roasted plantain delivers less oil absorption and retains more nutrients than the fried version. It also retains more of its natural taste. We don’t suggest that you never fry your plantain, but why not give the roasted version a chance?
3. Roasted Cocoa Beans Are Super Nutritious
Cocoa beans give us chocolate. That’s a good enough reason to love them already. But cocoa beans can be enjoyed on their own. In addition to at least fifteen other nutrients, they contain three times more antioxidants – help clear the bloodstream of harmful chemicals – than green tea and twice the amount in red wine.
Here’s an old Ghanaian way to enjoy cocoa beans: Roast them and grind them with pepper, tomatoes, garden eggs, onions. Enjoy with a dish of your choice. (May we suggest some roasted plantain?)
4. Add some Okra and “Prekese” to your Soups and Stews
When making soups and stews, a Ghanaian tradition is to add some okra and Tetrapleura tetraptera, known locally as “prekese”. Not only do they greatly enhance the taste of the food, but they also come packed with essential nutrients such as Vitamin A, which helps build up and maintain bones, and Vitamin C, which provides immunity against common infections .
The good thing about okra and prekese is that they’re also very common, and therefore aren’t very difficult to come by.
5. Add Some Turkey Berries Too
This is similar to our previous point, but turkey berries – locally known as “Abeduro” – deliver so many health benefits that they deserve a point on their own.
Among other things, turkey berries help in the cure and prevention of diseases such as anemia, stroke, gout, kidney disease, and the list goes on. You can check out its many benefits for yourself.
Now, even though turkey berries aren’t indigenous to Ghana, we suggest a very Ghanaian way to add them to your diet. All you have to do is add them to your soups and stews and you’re good to go.
There you have it: 5 Ghanaian tips to add to your cooking and boost your health.
Apart from tips like these, there are some local dishes which in themselves promote health and well-being. One such dish is kontomire spinach stew, which we have in our first issue of Koala’s Cookbook.
Inside our cookbook we’ve made a weekly meal calendar filled with a variety of healthy Ghanaian dishes to add to your diet.
Feel free to download the eBook and continue the Koala Food Tour from the comfort and convenience of your kitchen.
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