Everyone loves good, delicious food, but not just that everyone loves healthy food. Of course, you are what you eat and to remain healthy, you have to eat healthily. But you can’t know which food is healthy without finding out the health benefits of the food. Today you will be learning about 10 healthy Nigerian swallows and their health benefits. Before I begin, I will briefly explain what ‘swallows’ are and why they are called so (for those who don’t know). Let’s begin gradually.
What is a Nigerian ‘swallow’?
The truth is that many Nigerians know what a swallow is, but will find it difficult to define. I tried my best to come up with a definition, so here goes.
Swallow in Nigeria is a term used to describe starchy foods that are made into a paste and swallowed along with Nigerian soups. Swallows are usually made from grains, cereals, starchy roots and vegetables. They are mainly in the form of pastes or dumplings and are gotten from staples such as yam, plantain, cocoyam, millet, sorghum cassava and maize. It is called swallow because of the way it is eaten. You cut a small fraction (or a big fraction if you have a large throat), dip in the soup and SWALLOW! Yum.
Nigerian swallows are really delicious and are made to accompany the soup into your stomach. But just like many Nigerian celebrities, Nigerian swallow has been in a lot of controversy. A lot of people feel that such swallows are not healthy since they obviously contain too many carbohydrates and calories, but is that really true?
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Are Nigerian swallows really healthy?
It is very easy to conclude that Nigeria swallows are unhealthy and that they will only make you put on a lot of weight since they contain carbohydrates. This is not entirely so, and I have two reasons why. First, although these foods are made up of mainly carbohydrates, they go through many process that give then added nutritive benefits. Most of these staple foods undergo fermentation and oiling that make them healthy.
Second, there are not eaten alone, they are eaten with a lot of very healthy Nigerian soups and dishes, which have they own health benefits.
So what should you do? The answer us eat in moderation. There is nothing stopping you enjoying these delicious meals, even if you are trying to lose weight, the key is moderation and discipline.
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10 Healthy Nigerian Swallows And Their Benefits
The following are some the healthy Nigerian swallows and their health benefits.
Eba is a very popular Nigerian swallow, it is cheap and can be easily prepared. It is made from cassava tubers, and when prepared with boiled water, it is called eba. I said a lot about the health benefits of garri in one of a recent post. Although is high in calories, it is also very rich in fiber and great food for boosting energy. Eba made with yellow garri is more nutritious than white garri because it is fried with palm oil.
Fufu is another common Nigerian swallow that us very beneficial. Also known as akpu, or cassava fufu, this Nigerian staple food is high in calories and very low in cholesterol. It is rich in potassium and other minerals. Although fufu is very difficult to prepare, it is worth the effort.
3. Tuwo masara
Tuwo masara is a staple food prepared with corn flour, and mainly eaten in the northern part of Nigeria. This healthy swallow can be eaten with delicious soups such as miyar Taushe (Vegetable soup), Miyar Kuka (baoba soup), and Miyar Kubewa (Okra soup). The health benefits of this appetizing food are that it improves digestive function, reduces stomach acidity and prevents constipation.
Àmàlà is another nutritious Nigerian food made with cassava and/or yam flour. When the yam is peeled, sliced and dried, it changes its colour to brown, and that makes àmàlà look brown.
There are three types of àmàlà, yam flour àmàlà (àmàlà isu), cassava flour àmàlà (àmàlà láfún) and Plantain flour (Amala ogede or elubo ogede). The yam flour àmàlà is much more healthy than the other two because it has fewer calories and more protein.
Amala is high in carbohydrates and has a lot of calories.
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5. Pounded yam
Pounded yam is also called Iyan is a Nigerian staple food made with yam. It is prepared by boiling the yam, and pounding it in a mortar until it, softens and stretches like a dough. Pounded yam is highly nutritious and can be consumed with any soup.
It you are looking to put on some weight, pounded yam is the right Nigerian food for you.
6. Wheat meal
Wheat meal is a swallow prepared from wheat flour. It is widely consumed among the Nigerian populace. Wheat flour is very healthy; it contains all the essential vitamin B complex substances and is very high in potassium in phosphorus. How foes eating wheat meal benefit you? For one, it is moderate in calorie content, so you can consume it if you are looking to maintain weight. It is also a good food that enhances digestive function.
7. Plantain fufu
Plantain fufu is made from plantain, and it is a bit similar to plantain amala. It is prepared by pureeing fresh or unripe plantain into a paste or dough form. Then after allowing it to cool, you can eat with any soup.
Plantain fufu is great for the heart since it is rich potassium content. It also has a low glycemic index, which makes it great for diabetic patients. But it is high in calories and should be eaten moderately.
Semolina is the coarse, purified middling of durum wheat. Durum wheat us the wheat used in making pasta and macaroni. It is another widely consumed swallow in Nigerian and is also very sweet.
Semolina is high in calories and carbohydrates. It constitutes about 47mg of Magnesium, 136 mg of
Phosphorus and 186mg of Potassium per 100g serving. This shows how highly nutritious and beneficial this food is. It can also help you gain weight.
9. Tuwo shinkafa
Another common swallow in northern Nigeria is tuwo shinkafa. Whenever you hear tuwo shinkafa, you should expect to also hear miyan kuka too, they go very well together. Tuwo shinkafa is a staple food prepared from rice flour and made into a thick pudding. It is very rich in nutrients and minerals.
10. Tuwo dawa
Tuwo dawa is prepared from millet, and it is an equally popular food in northern Nigeria. Tuwo dawa has very high B-vitamin content. It is rich in nutrients and very delicious.
So there you have it, the 10 healthy Nigerian swallows and their benefits. Forgive me if I made any mix up when describing the names or preparation methods. Keep eating healthy food, and you’ll look pretty good!
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