TRADITIONAL AFRICAN FOODS REAPPRECIATED -PART 1
Dear reader, this article is about the forgotten importance of our African foods and their special role for our well-being. It is unfortunate though that this has been misunderstood, neglected and confused over the years—to our disadvantage, especially in these challenging times of this current pandemic. This is a series of articles that will delve into a reviewed appreciation of the hidden secrets of our cultural traditional foods. While this article introduces the importance of the subject, the next and concluding articles will touch on the difference between the traditional African foods and foreign foods as well as proffer suggestions on how to organize an altogether healthy lifestyle that will help boost the immune system to fight sicknesses.
The consumption of our traditional foods, vitamin D and the adoption of healthy lifestyles are most necessary for building and maintaining a strong immune system that can fight against diseases, illnesses and hopefully, protect us against the deadly coronavirus.
What is the Immune System?
The immune system can simply be described as the body’s security defence system consisting of numerous components. In alay-man’s term,it could be viewed as the various arms of a Military or Police Force of the body. They are supposed to be ready to protect and defend the body from diseases and viral infections depending on how well we eat and adopt healthy lifestyles. The more nutritious the food we eat the more effective the body’s security defence becomes in resisting viral attacks or aiding in fast recovery.
Coronavirus has been found to be more contagious and deadly among the elderly population and people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and other underlying ailments. The immune system of such people is deemed to have been compromised.The young and the seemingly healthy people are also susceptible to attacks from the virus. Hence, emphasis is on eating GOOD FOOD as our President, Nana Akufo-Addo, admonished recently. This emphasis on our diet is of great importance now more than ever.
Our luck in these trying times is that our traditional [African/ Ghanaian] foods are now seen as FOODS of HOPE.They are foods capable of helping us survive the pandemic. These traditional foods are particularly seen as boosters of the immune system, making it effective in combating and surviving this coronavirus and other diseases.
The emphasis is on ‘traditionalAfricanfoods’ because they are found to be unique, containing extremely powerful healthy elements that aid in strengthening and maintaining a formidable immune system. Eating fresh foods rather than canned or processed foods needs to be encouraged because unlike the fresh foods, ‘dead foods’lack ‘prana’ or ‘lifeforce’ which produces good microbiome that supports and maintains a strong immune system. Known variously as organic (purely natural), non-genetically modified organisms (non-GMOs) or super foods, these foods are sold in specialised health shops in many Western countries such as theUSA, UK and others.
Some of the most sought after pureorganic and non GM traditional [African/ Ghanaian]superfoods that are popular in most Western countries include pure cocoa powder (browngold), baobab leaves, dawadawa, bitter leaves, yam, cassava and plantain. Others are; fermented corn dough, sea salt, coconut oil, sorghum, milletand many more unique high quality resistant starches found in our traditional foods.
Above all, studies show that humans are designed to eat more root crops (such as cassava) than grains(especially large grains such as wheat, barley, rye, maize and rice). We are particularly not designed to consume and digest hard lectin glutens contained in wheat, barley, rye and some dairy foods. Consuming those foods(large grains) interferes with the proper functioning of the immune system, which causes body instability, weak immunity and susceptibility to diseases.
The climate of the African continent and Ghana in particular enables us to cultivate the above foods and other cultural cuisine combinations which are unique and vital to the general health paradigm. Such traditional meals as fufu and palmnut soup, kenkey or abolo and ground pepper, soakings (soaked gari with honey), banku and okra soup, pepper soup, peanut soup with fermented cassava dough, konkonte (face the wall) are recommended for consumption. Similarly, natural spices (such as ginger, garlic, chilli, onion, aniseed, fresh black pepper, turmeric and natural herbs, etc)often used in the preparation of these meals are highly recommended for their medicinal properties as they strengthen and invigorate the immune system.
Source: Amba Kabore-Sharkey