Nigerian cuisine is delicious, versatile, and makes the best use of any ingredients you have. There are several very popular Nigerian dishes that you probably grew up eating and continue to cook for your own family. However, not all Nigerian cuisine favourites are equally good for your health. Here are 7 Nigerian classics that can have a negative effect on your body.
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1. Fried plantain
Fried plantain tastes great, is a favourite among people of all ages, and can be used as a component for dozens of dishes. However, frying plantain in a large quantity of oil makes it a far less healthy dish than it should be. Plus, plantain contains a lot of sugar that can lead to more side effects. To use plantain in your cooking in a healthy way, try boiling it or grilling it with minimal use of oil.
Read more: How To Make Plantain Pepper Soup
2. White rice
White rice is one of the staples in Nigerian cuisine. It’s one of the most popular products to serve with all kinds of sauces and it’s the main component of another Nigerian classic, Jollof rice. White rice can be fine in moderation, but using it in your cooking every day means you are filling your body with refined carbohydrates, which don’t do anything for your health and can lead to weight gain.
There probably isn’t a single Nigerian family that doesn’t use cassava in its daily meals from time to time. The most popular cassava dishes in the country, garri and fufu, have several significant negative effects on your body. They are both high in starch and in calories, which is bad news for anyone watching their weight. Cassava also contains a harmful chemical, linamarin, that can only be destroyed with a long cooking process.
4. Soft drinks
Soft drinks are not a Nigerian food you make in your own kitchen, but they can still be found in most households. Soft beverages have a strong flavour and a sweet taste, so they seem like a perfect thing to enjoy on a hot day. However, soft drinks are incredibly high in sugar, which is bad for you for obvious reasons. And even if you go for a drink with a sugar substitute, it’s going to be lower in calories but even more harmful for your health.
5. Pounded yam
Like white rice, pounded yam is a great addition to any meat and vegetable-based dishes, and it’s also popular to consume on its own. Pounded yam has certain health benefits – for example, it’s high in dietary fiber – but it also contains a crazy number of calories per serving and a lot of starch. Diabetic patients should keep from consuming pounded yam altogether, and everyone else should eat it in moderation.
6. Palm oil
Palm oil is one of the most common ingredients in Nigerian cuisine. It is used for deep-frying and is frequently added to soups and sauces. Palm oil is known for its health benefits, including its antioxidant effect. At the same time, palm oil contains a lot of saturated fats. In fact, 50% of palm oil is saturated fats. Saturated fats lead to rapid weight gain and heart conditions, so substitute palm oil with vegetable oil whenever possible.
7. Suya and kilishi
Suya and kilishi are some of the most popular Nigerian street foods, but they are also cooked every day at home. There are several reasons why you need to limit your intake of both suya and kilishi. First, they are made from red meat, which is associated with certain types of cancer. Second, the way they are processed and cooked makes them even less healthy: suya is covered in oil and charred, which can also have a cancerogenic effect, while kilishi uses a lot of salt and is smoked, which is not the healthiest cooking technique.
Read more: How To Make Suya Spice
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