For everyone who loves cooking, there is always that urge to spice up your meals.
Spicing up your meals can come in the form of trying out new meals or introducing new spices to your meals that make them taste different and one great spice that falls into this category is ‘scent leaf’.
Scientifically known as Ocimum gratissimum, scent leaf is one herb that comes with a distinct flavour and definitely transforms the taste of any meal it is added to. Fortunately, scent leaf isn’t only beneficial for its aroma and flavour, this spice comes with amazing health benefits such as regulating blood sugar levels, easing a blocked nose and can help boost the immune system.
With all these health benefits, comes the question, what particular meals can be prepared with scent leaf? Well, here are five meals you can cook with scent leaf;
1) Pepper soup
This popular Nigerian spicy broth often made with assorted meats or fish, can be prepared with scent leaf that gives it that extra layer of flavour.
2) Black soup
Black soup is a delicacy popular among the Edo people of Nigeria. One of the major leaves used in preparing this soup is scent leaf. Others include uziza and bitter leaf.
3) Palm oil rice
Another meal you can prepare with scent leaves is palm oil rice. This is also called local jollof and it is made with palm oil and dried fish. Addition of scent leaf to this meal takes it to a new level.
4) Yam or Plantain porridge
Scent can also be added to porridge meals such as yam porridge or plantain porridge. The scent leaf can be added just before the meal is taken off the fire.
5) Vegetable sauce
Your favourite vegetable sauce can also be prepared with scent leaf. This can even be combined with eggs and enjoyed with some boiled plantain – a meal perfect for breakfast. Now you know some meals you can prepare with scent leaf, which one are you trying first?
Beans and fried plantains might be a deadly food combination, here’s why
If there’s one food generally loved by Nigerians, it’s fried ripe plantains, or dodo and beans.
Frying ripe plantains gives them a caramel-like taste that many people enjoy; most times, this plantain is mixed beans cooked with palm kernel oil.
This conversation has been going on online for quite a while now about whether beans and ripe plantains are healthy.
Kemi Lopsam, a natural health doctor and an acupuncturist based in Akure, first spoke about this in 2019 on a website called Newsroom. According to Lopsam, “cooking food like beans with unripe plantains has no problems. It is a perfect combination that makes digestion easy.” But cooking beans with ripe plantains is unhealthy.
The combination is acidic
Ripe plantains are fruits. She explained that heat turns fructose into acid, and many diseases stem from acidity. Acid-forming foods are unhealthy and dangerous and can cause heart problems, ulcers, and gastrointestinal reflux.
Beans are naturally acid-forming too, but they help to create a great PH balance of acid and alkaline in the body. There’s no problem as long as you give beans ample time to digest, but some people are allergic to beans and need to stay as far away from them as possible.
It doesn’t digest properly together
She states that beans take five to seven hours to digest and leave the stomach, while ripe plantains take just three hours. Fruits digest in the terminal ileum and not the stomach. Foods digested in the stomach.
Ripe plantains do not need pancreatic enzymes to digest, unlike beans. When combined, the plantains struggle to leave the stomach and go to the terminal ileum, but the beans in the stomach make it difficult for them to leave. This struggle continues until fermentation occurs, which is known to cause many diseases. She advises that plantains shouldn’t be cooked but eaten raw.
However, Lopsam might be wrong in her assertion about where fruits and food are digested, as both are digested in the small intestine. Although they are both highly acidic and might cause severe stomach upset when eaten together.
Bad oil makes fried plantains unhealthy.
According to Healthline, “fried plantains aren’t exactly a healthy choice if fried in unhealthy oil.” So your plantains are only as good as the oil used to make them.
Plantain chips have high calories and fat
Per the United States Department of Agriculture, plantain chips are rich in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. This high-calorie count can lead to weight gain and health issues.
Seven quick, healthy breakfast options for kids
Numerous studies have shown that taking breakfast has a positive learning effect on kids in terms of their behavior, cognitive development and school performance.
However, due to the morning rush and bustle that comes with school sessions, coming up with a quick yet nutritious breakfast for the kids can be quite difficult.
Ensuring your kids have a nutritious and energizing breakfast is more vital now than ever to keep them focused in the classroom.
Without further ado, here are easy yet tasty breakfast ideas for your kids.
Pancakes, which take less than 5 minutes, are a quick fix for kids, and it is tasty and filling.
This breakfast idea requires a few simple ingredients including flour, baking soda, milk and eggs — which you probably already have in your kitchen.
Interestingly, there is now pancake mix you can get to make the preparation even faster.
So whip up some fluffy pancakes for a delightful breakfast for your kids. To make it more fun, you can make it in different shapes, and flavors and also top it with your kids’ favorite fruits.
French toast is a sweet morning treat for your kids that requires just bread, cinnamon, eggs and less than 30 minutes of your time.
All you need do is to dip the bread in a cinnamon and egg mixture, then cook until golden.
However, if you do not have cinnamon, you can alternate it with nutmeg.
You can make it more exciting for your kids with toppings like powdered sugar or syrup.
Oatmeal is a wholesome breakfast choice that is not only easy to prepare but also nutritious.
Taking less than 15 minutes, oatmeal can provide your kids with the dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins they need to be energised in school.
Do not forget to add toppings which could include dried or fruit fruits, and bananas to make it more delightful.
Egg muffins are a popular and healthy breakfast choice for kids.
They are made with scrambled eggs and vegetables. However, it can be spiced up with balconies as well as cheese.
The choice of veggies will guarantee that the egg muffins are packed with nutrients for your kids.
Interestingly, you can make them in advance and refrigerate them. And just reheat them when you need a quick breakfast for the kids.
Cereal with milk is one of the most popular breakfast options for kids.
However, always ensure you opt for whole grain and low sugar cereal for them in order to provide a quick yet nutritious breakfast.
Sandwiches are great options for breakfast particularly during the school period because they’re super quick and easy to make.
There are a variety of sandwiches ranging from chocolate sandwiches to jelly sandwiches, and egg sandwiches. So you can decide to pick any to fit into your schedule.
However, you can make it more filling and healthier for the kids by adding fried sausages and avocado.
This is another breakfast option that requires less than 30 minutes.
All you have to do is blend together a combination of yogurt, fresh or frozen fruits, and milk to create a nutritious and tasty smoothie.
You can also add some vegetables like spinach or kale for more nutrients.
Chicken, oats, yoghurt… 7 immune-boosting foods
It is no secret that you are what you eat. So eating balanced diet foods filled with nutrients is important to maintain your overall health and wellness.
Now more than ever — with the world navigating through various health challenges — having a robust immune system is important.
While there is no magical solution to prevent illness, research has suggested that your diet plays a crucial role in boosting your immunity.
Without further ado, here are immune-boosting foods you should add to your diet.
Sweet potatoes are one of the richest natural sources of beta carotene, a plant-based compound that is converted to vitamin A in your body.
Vitamin A is crucial to a healthy immune system as it helps your body respond to toxins and foreign substances.
Also, vitamin A helps keep the skin strong and healthy. You may not think of skin as part of your immune system. But this crucial organ serves as a first-line fortress against bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.
Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C. Meanwhile, vitamin C has been proven to be effective in boosting immunity.
Vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells which help protect the body against infection. It also makes the cells function more effectively while protecting them from damage by potentially harmful molecules.
Sweet potatoes are highly versatile and easy to incorporate into your diet, so add them to your diet today.
Oats are a great food to boost your immune system due to their high level of antioxidants, fiber and zinc.
These antioxidants work together to help fight off free radicals that cause oxidative stress, which contributes to inflammation and the development of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Avenanthramides, a type of antioxidant found in oats, has been proven to have anticancer properties.
Oats also contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucans boost the immune system by stimulating immune cells, enhancing their ability to detect and eliminate pathogens.
The zinc found in oats also has a profound influence on your immune system. Research has found that zinc deficiency increases one’s susceptibility to a variety of pathogens.
Broccoli is a good choice of vegetable to eat regularly to support immune system health.
This vegetable is packed with several vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Broccoli is rich in a particular antioxidant called sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane aids in the production of glutathione. Research has shown that glutathione helps attack free radicals in the body and reduces their damage to your immune system.
Broccoli is healthiest when steamed or microwaved, according to a study.
Poultry such as chicken and turkey are needed in your diet to boost your immune system.
Poultry are rich in Vitamin B6 which are important player in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body. It is also vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells.
The protein in chicken and turkey also provides you with amino acids, which are used by your body to build antibodies to fight infection. Research also suggested that amino acids enhance the immune status, thereby reducing morbidity and mortality.
Yogurt contains beneficial bacteria — probiotics — that promote gut health and regulate your immune system.
Daily consumption of probiotic-rich yogurt improves your immune function by increasing the activity of cells that limit the spread of disease.
However, when choosing yogurt to add to your diet, look out for brands without added sugar.
- Fatty fish
Fatty fish including salmon, tuna and sardines are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Long-term intake of omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a healthy part of the body.
- Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons, and limes contain high levels of vitamin C.
Vitamin C helps fight infection by increasing your white blood cells.
Remember, your body does not produce or store vitamin C so you need regular intake. Add these fruits to your diet regularly.
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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.
She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others
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