Five common Fruits in Africa that help manage Body Health

Body Health Fruits in Africa – – I have always been a good health advocate, I’m not really sure why it matters to me that people eat healthy but I definitely do know I have this great passion for healthy eating. As a young student while in the university, I would advise people on eating fruit because they are  functional more in comparison to junk food, I am of the opinion that what you eat have high tendency of determining what your health would be. Most health decline the world is faced with right now is often as a result of bad eating habit and a non responsive lifestyle. A lot of people do not see fruits as food but that is not an important part of this topic; a lot of people believe fruits are expensive and often hard to come by. Which of course maybe true or wrong depending on how you search for them, where and what function you aim towards getting when you decide to consume them.

 

Over years, Africans have substituted fruits functions with (counter) drugs which was not how our fore fathers lived their lives – one fruit a day is a great way towards good health. There are lot of fruits which is good for our body health, but this article will focus on five which are very common in Africa, most importantly my country home Nigeria.

Five common Fruits in Africa that help manage Body Health
Photo: Fruits appreciation by Greta Hoffman

1. Dates

Dates are good and healthy source of sugar. I have had to advice people to ignore sugar and focus on dates if they can; aside from the fact that dates functions as plant sweetener, it also help to stabilize sugar level and this means diabetic patient will not have issue with this fruit so far they consume it moderately.

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Dates are very common in Nigeria, hardly will you pass any fruit market or the street without finding them. Dates are 21% water, 75% carbohydrates, 2% protein, and less than 1% fat (table). In a 100-gram (3+1⁄2 oz) reference amount, dates supply 1,180 kilojoules (280 kilocalories) of food energy and are a moderate source (10-19% of the Daily Value) of pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, and the dietary minerals magnesium, manganese, and potassium, with other micronutrients in low amounts.

Five common Fruits in Africa that help manage Body Health
Date Fruits

Date can be eaten raw, dried and grounded into particle as substitute for sugar or for baking. They have good carbohydrates source and therefore can be taken before hitting the gym to improve your energy level.

 

2. Sugar Cane

One of the thing I got to understand during pregnancy was how sugar cane is actually undervalued in regard to the nutrient it contains. A nutritional truth most people are not aware of is how most chemical sweetener are made of sugarcane beet, and also how most refined sugar are made from sugarcane. Sugarcane on it own contains all these nutritional values;

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Calories: 113.43
Protein: 0.20 grams
Fat: 0.66 grams
Carbohydrates: 25.40 grams

Sugarcane has more vitamins and minerals than refined sugar, including small amounts of: Iron, Magnesium
Vitamin B1 ( thiamine), Riboflavin and also a good source of vitamin C.

Five common Fruits in Africa that help manage Body Health
A young African man selling sugarcane on a wheel barrow | Picfair

During pregnancy I was able to control my weight again by consuming sugarcane. While refined sugar have several side effect on your healthy system, sugarcane will protect you since it’s a plant nutrient although must be taken in moderation also. Sugarcane can also be blended with ginger which make a good diet drink.

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3. Agbalumo ( African Star Apple).

I once told someone of how pregnancy made more of a  fruit nutrient consumer. Research has shown babies who are fed with plant nutrient grow better and faster. So I started with Agbalumo. A good interesting nutritional fact that people are not aware of is how agbalumo actually contains more level of ascorbic acid than fruits in the citrus family.

Five common Fruits in Africa that help manage Body Health
African star apple

The rate of ascorbic acid present in this fruit makes it a good source of nutrient but great immune system, also it contains essential antioxidant that may help the body to fight against fever etc.

 

4. Watermelon

My love for red fruits is amazing! I believe my love for watermelon is more advanced as it is a good source of lycopene, Omega three and six fatty acid. These are fats which is needed for good heart health.

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Apart from this, the seed are also rich in antioxidants which help to control sugar level and is deem appropriate for diabetics patient to consume. Watermelon fruit is 91% water, contains 6% sugars, and is low in fat. Watermelon are also good fruit for weight loss if routined correctly.

 

5. Oranges

Citrus family are very common fruits in Africa, almost everyone is aware they are good for digestion and also good immune booster. Many citrus fruits, such as oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, and clementines, are generally eaten fresh. They are also used for oil extraction etc most essential oils are made from the citrus family. The most common nutrients in all citrus family is ascorbic acid and readily available antioxidants which places them as a good immune system fighter.

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Five common Fruits in Africa that help manage Body Health

I have heard people say fruits are expensive to consume, making a food routine around fruit is very expensive to live on. I disagree with this; although pocket most times determines a lot but a ‘enough’ of any of these fruits cost N100, so I advice you spend at least N300 weekly to tap from these nutrients. If you start with three out of these five fruits above for a month, you will notice good difference in your body health.

 

 

Badmus, is a Writer and Food Scientist.

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