One of the most popular berries that grow well in this region are strawberries and today you will learn more about how this fruit is very healthy and highly recommended.
Strawberries are super rich in this quintessential vitamin which offers great antioxidant support too. In fact just 1 cup of strawberries contains 113% of your RDA (Recommended daily allowance). Not only is vitamin C important for preventing colds and flu, it is also linked to cancer prevention and maintaining a healthy blood pressure, you know how high blood pressure is very rampant in modern society, a few berries can help a lot.
Research has also shown that strawberries help slow down ageing by maintaining great skin – call it the perfect anti-wrinkle product as the antioxidant vitamin C takes care of that. Vitamin C is also associated with healthy eyesight and immune system boost.
Manganese & Potassium
When you hear the nutrient potassium, you should immediately think cardiovascular support – it is great for maintaining a good ticker but science has also shown it is very helpful in bone health, by alkalizing the body hence avoiding acidosis (too much acid) which is typical in most modern diets. Strawberries are loaded with potassium as well as manganese which work hand in hand with other nutrients to enhance bone health.
Strawberries are a great source of fibre which acts like a broom and sweeps off the toxins in your digestive tract. On top of that, the insoluble fibre in strawberries cannot be digested and ferments while in the gut to create probiotics or good healthy bacteria which are essential for health.
Being naturally sweet, strawberries are highly recommended to people who have diabetes because the many minerals and nutrients found in berries helps control sugar in the berries and it is not like drinking a sugary processed drink which will spike the blood sugar.
How To Use
Since strawberries are very short-lived, you don’t want them lying around in the fridge- it is ideal to consume them within 48 hours or freeze them. They hold well in a tightly sealed container, preferably with foil so as to maintain some humidity and moisture.
Eating them raw is the best way to access this nutritional powerhouse but you can also throw them into a green salad or in a morning smoothie for some natural sweetness. You can make jam too or throw them into your muffin batter for added nutrition and colour in your pastry.
Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are a staple in India and the Middle East where they are popular due to their high nutrition value. They pack lots of protein, fibre, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus among other healthful nutrients that lack in most modern diets. Chickpeas are also loaded with complex carbohydrates which also help give you energy for working out, or just to have a successful and productive day.
These legumes also have a great amount of antioxidants in the name of flavonoids often recommended for anti-ageing and anti-disease qualities. Being nutrient dense and fibrous, chickpeas are awesome in the food arsenal of people who would like to shed a little weight because the beans keep you full for longer periods hence keeping those food cravings at bay. If you are diabetic or cook for someone, chickpeas are a great snack with a very low glycemic index meaning that they will not spike blood sugar.
Cumin & Cayenne Health Facts
Cumin is a very traditional spice and natural medicine that has been used for ages in Asia to treat flatulence and many other stomach upsets. Cumin is a great source of iron and magnesium, which are very important for overall health.
Cayenne pepper has been widely used to boost the immune system hence preventing against many diseases. Cayenne has also been proven to stop a heart attack in its track, in fact almost all ambulances have some cayenne pepper for this reason, but you know….prevention is better than cure.
|INGREDIENT||AMOUNT||PRICE AT MBOGA MASTERS|
|Chickpeas||1 cup||195/- per kg|
|Sea Salt||145/- per 500g Jar|
|Cayenne Pepper||95/- per 50g Jar|
- Soak the chickpeas overnight in the 3 cups of water as it will absorb most of it.
- Drain them and season with sea salt, black pepper, ground cumin and cayenne pepper.
- Add a touch of extra virgin coconut oil and bake them for 1 hour while flipping them every 15 minutes for even cooking.
- Cool them and enjoy immediately or pack them as a snack for your hike or day out.
Dietary fibre is one of the most overlooked ‘nutrients’ since it is not essentially nutritious but it does play a vital role in overall health. The best sources of course are fruits and vegetables. The insoluble fiber acts as a broom and sweeps out the stuff in your gut, meaning that you might experience more bowel movements which is super healthy.
Kiwi is loaded with this type of fibre, soluble fibre as well. If you eat the skin, you get even more fibre…it is so much work to peel a kiwi fruit and the skin tastes nice so why bother?
Fruits are one of the best ways to get kids to eat healthier as they love sweet stuff. Kiwi has actually been proven to help kids with asthma -probably due to the high concentration of Vitamin C, B and E. Kiwi also has Folic acid (B vitamin) which is quintessential for pregnant women and highly recommended to them.
This super fruit is an excellent source of calcium, Magnesium and copper. All these micronutrients work hand in hand to keep you healthy and energetic. They also provide vital nutrients for the skin, keeping it young and glowing.
Phytonutrients & Antioxidants
Kiwi fruit is rich in phytonutrients which help prevent cancer and also help with eyesight. The antioxidants are attributed to reversing the ill effects of oxidative stress in the body…simply put as your body uses oxygen in day-today functions, it releases rather toxic byproducts that need to be taken care of, otherwise they trigger diseases. Antioxidants take care of these harmful byproducts.
How to use
Just eat it raw as is, toss it in a fruit salad, throw it in a smoothie or juice it up. Key thing is to consume them raw and don’t cook them so as to get the above nutrition intact.
Green avocados are back in season meaning that they are in plenty, taste the best and also the prices are at their lowest now. Many vegans and vegetarians rely upon the high protein content of this amazing fruit as well as the other nutrients that it brings to the table, not to mention superb flavor and awesome creamy texture that can be used to replace cheese in a sandwich or salad.
Apart from that, avocados are a great source of Alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and oleic acid . dietary fiber, vitamin K, copper, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin C. This is why some people are even referring this fruit as a superfood due to its immense documented health benefits.
Eating avocados is great fun, delicious and can be used for a cheap facial treatment. Avocado has excellent exfoliation properties – i.e. it removes dead skin effectively, which can help the many people who have acne. Just smear it on your face and wash off with clean water.
The fats in avocado were previously thought to be unhealthy but modern research actually has proven that we need saturated fat, especially the kind found in plants ; the avocado is plentiful in fats.
There are so many ways to consume avocado; raw, in a smoothie or salad, to add flavor to this great beans and chapati dish, on bread as a substitute to margarine or butter etc.
Watermelon, a great way to refresh yourself in the heat. Did you know that it is about 90% water? And the other 10% nutrients that help you to keep fresh and energetic all day long. If you can JUICE IT, even better and it also works great in a SMOOTHIE. Watermelons are also awesome because they have very few calories yet so many vitamins (vitamins C, B1 & A), minerals (potassium, magnesium and calcium) antioxidants and fibre.
Oh, and EAT THE SEEDS too, they contain a lot of nutrition as well and can be dried, roasted on a pan or in the oven and consumed as a snack – they are loaded with protein and ‘good fats’ too so no need for using any cooking oil, just a little bit of natural Himalayan salt.
You could also dice the watermelon and freeze them using some skewers to make watermelon popsicles, there are so many endless possibilities with this nutrient dense fruit.
Here’s another idea, you can MAKE A SALAD using watermelon, which goes really well with mint, maybe a little crispy prosciutto, some red onion, dress it up with extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice, serve with nyama choma, or anything grilled, the freshness works well with meats and also helps to digest it.
Another tip is to EAT PART OF THE RIND itself which also contains plenty of nutrition and fibre.
Local pears are now in season and bursting with flavor and nutrition. Plus, they are cheap – only 15/- each at Mboga Masters. Don’t peel your pears, when cleaned nicely, the skin adds flavor, texture and nutrients. Not peeling also means less work for you 🙂 and less chance of cutting yourself – peeling fruit is tricky business.
Here are some benefits of pears:
Pears contain a good amount of the water-soluble fibre called pectin which is linked to good health and longevity in their skin. Fruit skin/ rind in general contains a lot of fibre – which is great for digestion, controlling blood sugar and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. The pectin fibre is also attributed to help with constipation, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and many other digestion-related ailments.
VITAMINS & MINERALS
Pears contain a good number of vitamins; Vitamins B2 (helps prevent migraines, treats anaemia among others) C (boosts immunity) & E (cancer and heart disease prevention) can all be obtained from this amazing seasonal fruit. Pears are also a great source of the dietary mineral Potassium whose deficiency is usually associated with risk of high blood pressure.
Naturally the fruit contains fructose and glucose which are complex carbohydrates that boost your energy and are also used in cell structure formation. This burst of natural sugars gives you high amounts of sustained energy which is great for people who work out and do not want to consume calorie-heavy foods that will use up some of their working-out energy.
This fruit is one of the easiest foods to digest – being one of the first few foods recommended when weaning infants. For this reason it is also recommended for people with food allergies as they often don’t react to them.
OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS
Studies have shown pears to be very helpful in cancer prevention, immune boosting and anti inflammatory. They contain folate, which is recommended to pregnant ladies or those of child-bearing age because it helps to avoid birth defects. In traditional Chinese medicine, they simmer the pears and add honey and lemon juice to the mixture and use it to treat throat ailments.
There are indeed many reasons to be excited about pears this season.
You may already be eating healthy – you eat meat in moderate amounts, you eat fruits and vegetables every day, and even use olive oil and sea salt. But there is still more you can do, for example, you could make your home a little more eco-friendly. I am not talking about going off the grid and supplying your own energy from the sun, wind, biofuel :-), though that would be great if you could pull it off, but I am talking about replacing common household chemicals with often cheaper and often more effective alternatives.
Most soaps are made from petroleum products and are often laced with a cocktail of sometimes harmful chemicals. Organic soap is available in Kenya at specialized health stores such as Healthy U. You could also choose to make it at home. You could even use kipande which has less chemicals and color and is quietly but widely used in the beauty industry.
Convenient yes, but did you know that baking soda is a very effective and natural cleaning ingredient? It is effective on its own, but when mixed with white distilled vinegar and fresh lemon juice, the concoction can literally clean anything and everything. From a very dirty oven, to the floor. Ok, you could add a tiny bit of powdered soap, which gives it that lather and you can then clean the house or wash clothes with it.
Everyone loves a hot shower but new studies have shown that the chlorine often used to treat water can react with the heat and create harmful compounds which may cause you to feel tired and dizzy after a long hot shower.
You could simply choose take shorter showers (which is better for your power bills and the environment), ensure maximum aeration in your bathroom and take advantage of cold showers where possible. For example, I bath with cold water everyday after my work out.
Extra virgin coconut oil acts as the perfect lotion, shaving cream and deodorant. You can also get some natural make up products from your local health store or switch to homemade DIYs
Popcorn and Health
Pop corn is a snack that has become especially popular within most malls or shopping centers. It is increasingly being consumed by both children and adults. However, mass-produced popcorn is often cooked with unhealthy fats so making them at home is much healthier where you can control how they are made. Not only is it a great after-school snack for the kids, but it can also be incorporated into a weight loss/healthy eating/lifestyle.
Popcorn is rich in protein which will make you feel full for longer periods of time. Since it is a wholegrain, it is also rich in fibre which slows down digestion and keeps food cravings down.
|INGREDIENT||QUANTITY||PRICE AT MBOGA MASTERS|
|Coconut Oil||1/3 teaspoon||N/A|
|Unsalted Butter||1/3 teaspoon||N/A|
|Sea/ Himalayan Salt||N/A|
|Black Pepper in Grinder||N/A|
*N/A = Not YET available at Mboga Masters
Using extra virgin coconut oil to make the popcorn takes care of any fat worries because it is a super healthy fat and the sea/natural salt plus black pepper seasonings keep it clean while adding tonnes of flavor. The only slightly questionable ingredient is unsalted butter, which however when used in moderation adds a lot of flavor to popcorn while keeping them moist.
- Gently heat the pot with 1/3 teaspoon of coconut oil and 1/3 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
- Season your corn with a pinch of sea/Himalayan salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Put the 1 cup of seasoned pop corn into the pot and cover, medium-low heat and let it just pop.
- Listen very carefully as the cooking stops when the popping sound stops, immediately remove from the pan, DO NOT uncover, just let it rest for about 5 minutes and then serve, movie time J
There is a good reason why the pomegranate is one of the most expensive fruits, first of all, it is a superfood hence used all over the world by the health community for its outstanding nutrient density. Interestingly enough, the pomegranate is mentioned often in ancient Biblical text, leading many scholars to think that it could possibly have been the forbidden fruit in The Garden of Eden.
Secondly, it is very delicious and can be eaten as is, used in gourmet salads and is also used industrially to make high-end condiments. It is my favorite ingredient in a signature BBQ spare ribs recipe, pomegranate molasses.
The fruit is quite difficult to grow. Trees take 3-4 years to bear fruit which are often attacked by birds and insects, who are clearly aware of this particular nature’s treat. The trees also do not bear a lot of fruit.
Pomegranates are a worthwhile buy; they have been proven a great antioxidant which simply put, means they help prevent many types of cancers.
Pomegranates are available on order from Mboga Masters at 300/- per piece.
There is a lot of misinformation about oils – ‘Cholesterol-Free’ and ‘Heart Healthy’ are common terms shoppers encounter in the marketplace. However, to really get the healthiest oils you often have to spend more; but your money gets you not only truly healthier oil, but flavour too.
We highlight 2 oils that will transform your cooking and baking for the better:
Extra virgin coconut oil is perfect for everyday cooking and sautéing vegetables; it adds flavour and nutrition to the party.
Coconut oil is comprised of saturated fat, but science has recently shown that the type of saturated fat in coconuts is actually super healthy and delicious too. It also bakes well and is very economic (I usually use half the amount required in a recipe since coconut oil can be overpowering if not used with a deft hand).
As a side note, this oil is often used as a safe make-up remover. 🙂
Olive oil is one of the healthiest ingredients in the Mediterranean diet. Premium high quality olive oil will give you flavour that you simply CANNOT get with other processed oils. My favorite brand by far is Oilivia, but I also buy other cheap extra virgin olive oils for other uses like coating bread before baking.
Olive oil is really great for searing meats, sautéing veggies, in salad dressing, and for baking cookies. It brings a lot of versatility to your kitchen.
Also, extra virgin olive oil is loaded with vitamin E making it great for the skin. You can add some into your bath for soft supple skin.