July 19, 2017

HEALTH:African pear and corn: a nutritious, healthy combination



African pear and corn: a nutritious, healthy combination

By  agronigeria

Many have often wondered why most people eat both corn and the African pear known by some as ‘Ube’ together. It is also a source of wonderment to many why these foods come out in the same season, during the season of heavy rains. Regardless, their nutritional value is unquestionable.

Whenever you see banes of cooked or roasted corn along the nooks and crannies of Lagos, and in other parts of the country, the African pear is always close by, like a twin. Whether roasted or cooked, both foods pack a punch in nutritional value.

The majority seem to prefer the yellow corn, which is believed to be most nutritious. It is almost as if people draw circles in their calendars waiting for the season of corn to arrive, when you consider the number of people that cue up in strategic spots where they purchase these wonderful nature foods.

In the months of June and July, a walk around the streets will fill your nostrils with the enticing aroma of corn, roasted or boiled. The good news is, apart from the sweetness and satisfaction that can be derived from these foods, there are also additional benefits.

The African pear scientifically known as “Dacryodes edulis” is a fruit tree that is native to Africa. Here in Nigeria it is commonly known as “Ube”. This unique fruit with outer purple colour has a buttery content inside and can be eaten raw, boiled or roasted. In fact, many prefer to eat ‘’Ube’’ with corn as the two combination produce a well approved satisfactory taste.

Apart from the sweet and buttery (when cooked or roasted) taste you derive from this fruit, as well as corn, they contain other essential vitamins and minerals needed in the bodily function:

African pear 
lIt helps to prevent mouth odour and tooth decay; it contains antimicrobial properties which keeps the bacteria’s responsible for tooth decay and mouth odour away.

lAfrican pear is an excellent source of vitamins C and E, which are antioxidative in nature. These vitamins help in maintaining glowing and healthy skin as well as slow down the aging process.

lAfrican pears are also rich in niacin, thiamine, magnesium, pantothenate folate, potassium, calcium, amino acids, fibre, phosphorus, riboflavin, carbohydrates and vitamin B6.

lThe oil from the pear is a good source of fatty acids, essential fatty acids(EFAs) — alpha-linolenic (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6) — are intimately related to managing inflammation in the body. Fatty acids provide the building blocks for your body to make prostaglandins, agents that increase and decrease inflammation in the body.

Corn

lYellow corn is richer in carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin…Corn is a good source of pantothenic acid, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fibre, manganese and vitamin B6.

lCorn (scientific name Zea mays), is one of the most popular cereal in the world and forms the staple food in many countries.  Corn can be found in different varieties and contains high amount of important vitamins, minerals, fibre, carbohydrates and calories that are vital to human health.

lCorn is also good source of antioxidants as it contains carotenoid antioxidants which support the system and protects our skins and eyes from oxidative stress.

lOrganic fruits and vegetables like corn have proven to be effective in reducing the signs of diabetes. The regular consumption of corn kernels assists in the management of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and protects against hypertension due to the presence of phenolic phytochemicals in whole corn. The phytochemicals regulate the absorption and release of insulin in the body, thus reducing the chances of spikes and drops for diabetic patients and enabling them to maintain a normal lifestyle.