Sunday, August 7, 2022

Functional foods

It was back in the days during Gaborone cold chili winters that my siblings and I would feast on oranges and warm ginger tea with lemon sweetened with honey, faithfully doing this knowing that the Vit c, which, I am sure, we had no idea what it was, would stop us from getting flu.

But this is actually what food does, it is functional and serves not just satisfying our hunger purpose, but sustains our growth in a healthy way. There is so much to the world of food that we fail to understand, the way we grow it, prepare it and eat it all contribute to bodies that grow and flourish well.

Nobody plans to get sick; as a matter of fact, we try by all means to avoid it. We sanitize our hands frequently, wipe away our children’s rooms with the best child friendly soaps, cook our meats to detailed temperatures and yet regardless of how much we do this, sickness always finds a way to crawl in to our ` perfect nests`.

Now and again, the inevitable rumble in our tummies begins and that bugging flu turns our noses into pink; our children are home sick and our humble homes are no comfort zones.
Is there something you are doing wrong?

Maybe not, but there probably are a few things you could do right just to claim back a little of your health back.

Natural foods, not the junk or the chemically grown, have natural immunity boost within them. Unmodified whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are the simplest example of naturally occurring medicinal foods.

Plants containing bran that is unrefined and have undergone minimal processing is beneficial to the body. Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients that are in veggies and fruits and help the body’s defense system fight against diseases. Herbs and seeds also play a vital role in providing the body with essential nutrients.

Medicines and drugs weren’t always there, and there wasn’t such a high and alarming number of diseases like there are today, and this was mainly because the old folk believed in Mother Nature very best and free fresh ingredients. Even after many years, the grasses and roots have not lost their healing powers. In fact, they are still the best drugs and pharmaceutical therapies available.

When asked what she thinks about plants and natural greens as a source of healing power, Dr Kopano Mpuang- Allmon affirms that herbs, vegetables, plant foods and the abundance of fruits are what the body knows and needs, and are so much better as compared to pills and medication. As a matter of fact, the drugs used to fight diseases are made from the plants.

You see, the world of food is mystical and just needs one to unearth all the secrets. It has within it life saving secrets and promises many years of freedom from diseases regardless of how complicated we make it. It is all about knowing where to find such rejuvenating components that benefit the body.

For example, lutein, an antioxidant, helps counter age related muscular degeneration and is found in spinach, broccoli and oranges. Grapes and raisins are good for reducing the risks of thrombosis, a condition where the blood forms clots within arteries and veins causing heart pains and attacks. Grapes also have copper that helps in absorption in iron and they also detoxify the liver, increasing bile production.

Aromatic plants such as basil, thyme, sage and parsley are used to give flavour to salads and soups. They also aid in stimulating appetite, in digestion and keeping headaches away. Intense flavoured spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger flavour food with natural odor but are also good for keeping young and are nutritious. They have perfect ratios of salt and, therefore, one would not need to add extra salt to their diet.

Stalks of lemon grass, chives and onion rings are a health condiment. Green beans and peas reduce blood glucose levels. Tomatoes, which are in every Motswana kitchen, have lycophene, which helps prevent cancer so mummies make sure you are loaded with tomatoes.

Let’s say it together, prevention is way way better than cure, and if you want to know how true this is, then try changing your grocery list. Instead of buying processed cheeses and chocolate cake that will guarantee calories, diabetes and a fatty belly, try rocket leaves with romaine lettuce for healthy filling green salads flavoured with mint or play around with fruits for an amazing summer salads with mouthwatering sweetness, and by the time you hit 100, you’ll be saying ‘what cancer’?


Read this week's paper