Indigenous foods fight diabetes and other lifestyle diseases

Filed under: Lifestyle & Fashion,Special Comments |
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By Asunta Simoloka

Zambia has seen epidemic levels of lifestyle related diseases, especially Diabetes and high blood pressure.

Diabetes is the leading cause of amputations that are not injury related, this is a moral issue that needs to be addressed urgently. Non communicable diseases, also known as lifestyle related diseases, are diseases that do not spread from one person to another. Examples include diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.

These diseases are on the rise due to changes in lifestyle patterns driven by urbanization, increase in income, and change of lifestyle culture. At the center of this change is lack of realization that our own indigenous foods, eaten mainly in rural areas, are exceedingly healthy.

In rural areas lifestyle diseases are rare because people are active and they eat unprocessed foods like nshima from coarse wholegrain mealie meal, known as mugayiwa. Furthermore, diets are high in legumes, nuts, wild fruits and vegetables while low in meat. This lifestyle is followed because of affordability, not the realization of its health benefits.

Indigenous foods are the most overlooked healthy foods so much that few realize just how healthy these foods are while foods like carrots and broccoli that are found in western countries are the ones seen as healthy. However, Indigenous foods like wild fruits and vegetables are even healthier because they are organic and not genetically modified.

Wild fruits and vegetables are rich in phyto nutrients which fight various diseases. For example, African black plum known as mufutu has phyto nutrients known as phenols which fight free radicals that contribute to diabetes, cancer, and various diseases.
In contrast, lifestyle diseases are common in urban areas especially among high income earners.

With more money, habits change; people discontinue indigenous foods in favor of unhealthy modern diets high in meat and processed foods like ‘breakfast’ mealie meal. Additionally, there is little exercise as people drive more and cycle or walk less.

This lifestyle shift is made without awareness that unhealthy habits are being adopted and healthy ones discontinued. People need to understand that they can live affluent while making healthy choices.

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4 Responses to Indigenous foods fight diabetes and other lifestyle diseases

  1. This is good I’m considering a change of diet. It has been had to start, I want to cut down on the meat. Prolly eat meat once a week. Good article. I have always thought i ate better in the village.

    Tasila
    June 13, 2013 at 8:39 pm
    Reply

  2. No chicken & ZAMBEEF from now on!

    Sam
    June 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm
    Reply

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    Sac Lancel
    June 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm
    Reply

  4. Aw, this was a very nice post. In idea I wish to put in writing like this additionally ?taking time and precise effort to make an excellent article?however what can I say?I procrastinate alot and on no account seem to get something done.

    Oakley
    June 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm
    Reply

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