If you want to add a fun new ingredient to your diet, you’ll have a tough time beating these nutrient-dense superfoods that you can find locally. Each of the 5 we’ve selected have highly sought-after properties, are flexible, and steeped in Malawian lore.
We’ll give you background information, nutritional content, and how they should be consumed for maximum benefit.
Superfood One: Tamarind aka Bwemba
Tamarind is native to Malawi and it is known for having a sweet and sour flavor that is highly desirable. This superfood is especially helpful when it comes to restoring electrolytes and staving off dehydration, and it is often served to guests who come in from the heat or who are suffering from a hangover.
The easiest way to make a Tamarind drink is to shell the fruits, allow it to steep in water, add a tablespoon of sugar and serve. If you eat the sticky pulp, you’ll get 13% of your daily dietary fiber intake from 100 grams.
Superfood Two: Moringa
The Moringa tree is another native to Malawi amazingly every part of this tree is edible, and it is packed full of nutrients. The bark, flowers, leaves, nuts, tubers, pods, seeds, and roots are all useful for their nutrient content I guess that why they call it the tree of life.
Traditionally, the leaves are used either fresh or dried and ground down into a powder that results in a high calcium, protein, iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C mix.
Superfood three: Baobab aka Malambe
The only fruit in the world that dries naturally on the branch, baobab’s natural format is a powder that is rich in vitamin C and fibre. Baobab also has the highest antioxidant content of any fruit, giving you radiant, younger looking skin definitely a plus to add to skincare routine.
Unlike other animals, the human body cannot synthesize its own vitamin C. This means we must top up our vitamin C daily through the foods we eat. A single serving of baobab provides 33% of your daily requirement – and as it’s a natural source, it’s more bioavailable than manufactured vitamin C tablets, which means a greater uptake.
Vitamin C creates and maintains collagen – important for healthy skin. It also pumps up your immune system to full capacity, which is particularly important at this time of year when cold and flu season is approaching. It is also essential for energy release, which is helpful during winter months when 40% of the UK population suffer from fatigue.
Baobab also contains almost 50% fibre, half of which is soluble – a key component to a healthy digestive system, helping control blood sugar levels and keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
On top of that, unlike a lot of superfoods, baobab actually tastes good too! It has a unique sherbet-like citrussy flavour that makes it easy to blend into water or other liquids or to super-charge your favourite recipes! Think baobab smoothies, brownies, porridge and dressings.
Superfood three: Hibiscus
Sitting down to a steaming cup of pink tea is a rare pleasure afforded by the one and only hibiscus flower. You’ll often find a bit of hibiscus in berry tea blends just for this beautiful colour it gives.
The medicinal variety of hibiscus flower is a Malawian native commonly known as Sorell. There it is made into sweet herbal teas and candy. Do not confuse the healthful Hibiscus sabdariffa with the purely decorative Hibiscus ascetosella. The latter is well-known for its beauty but can’t hold a candle to the benefits of the sabdariffa.
Hibiscus, like moringa, is high in protein. The vibrant colour of the tea is a giveaway of its high flavinoid content, which is known for being high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. These inherent antioxidant properties have been shown to reduce the biomarkers of oxidative stress in male athletes.
Hibiscus is also high in vitamin C, iron and other minerals. Its slightly bitter or sour flavour makes it a nice post-dinner drink or afternoon pick-me-up.
Superfood - Apple Custard aka Mpoza
Custard apple aka Mpoza might not be so popular fruit but it comes with an abundance of health benefits. From increasing immune power to lowering the risk of cancer to making the digestion process healthy, Mpoza can benefit your health from several aspects.
This fruit is packed with vitamins B and C, flavonoids and antioxidants which can save you from free radical damage in our body protecting us from these chronic diseases.
This fruit comes with vitamin B6 which plays a major role in the creation of neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. These control our mood. If our body lacks the adequate level of vitamin B then this can cause mood disorders. So, custard apple keeps the level of vitamin B in check to combat mood disorders. Studies also found a connection between a good amount of lutein intake and a healthy vision. Lutein also protects our eyes from cataracts.
The fruit is rich in potassium and magnesium that can regulate high blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause heart diseases and stroke. And potassium and magnesium both work on the dilation of blood vessels which lowers the blood pressure level.
This superfood can fight with cancer as well. The flavonoid compounds of the fruits have catechin, epicatechin and epigallocatechin which prevent the growth of cancerous cells. Also, the regular consumption of this fruit can lower the risk of stomach and colon cancers.
Severe inflammation causes heart diseases, cancer, etc. Custard apple has anti-inflammatory compounds that have kaurenoic acid. This acid comes with powerful anti-inflammatory effects that can lower the inflammatory protein levels.
Mpoza is highly rich in vitamin C that can effectively boost the immunity level in our body to protect us from disease and infections. It can also reduce the duration of the common cold.
What’s great about all these superfoods is that they are available in your local market by the road site and if you are lucky right in your back garden! So that’s it there’s our list of superfood benefits you can find in Malawi.