Sukuma Wiki, which is considered one of Kenya's national dishes, is a cruciferous, dark-green leafy vegetable that is loved by East Africans because of its ease of preparation, affordability, taste, and health benefits.
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- what are the health benefits of eating sukuma wiki?
- 1. Sukuma Wiki is nutritious
- 2. It promotes liver function
- 3. Sukuma Wiki is a great source of dietary fiber
- 4. Weight-Loss
- 5. Reducing the risk of cancer and diabetes
- 6. Sukuma Wiki is special-diet friendly
- 7. Memory Function, Mood and Sleep
- 8. Regulation of Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
- 9. Good Vision and Bone Strength
- 10. Hair, Nails and Overall Beauty
- 11. Pregnancy
- Buying Storing and Cooking Sukuma Wiki
- Conclusion on the Benefits of Sukuma Wiki
- Other Useful Resources
Is sukuma wiki as healthy as people claim? If it has any health benefits, what are they? Can someone eat too much of it? Sounds interesting? Let us explore further.
what are the health benefits of eating sukuma wiki?
Sukuma Wiki is a dark-green leafy vegetable that belongs to the Brassica genus of plants, just like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. In Kenya, both kale and collard greens are used interchangeably to prepare sukuma wiki. There are many well-known and proven health benefits to eating sukuma wiki. Let us look at what they are.
1. Sukuma Wiki is nutritious
Sukuma wiki is a nutritious and low-calorie vegetable. According to the nutritionix database, a cup of raw chopped Sukuma contains:-
- 43 calories.
- 2.92 g protein.
- 1.49 g fat.
- 4.42 g carbohydrates.
- 4.1 g fiber.
- 0.8 g sugar.
- 254 milligrams (mg) of calcium.
- 241 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin
It is a great source of Vitamins A, C, E, and K. 100 g contains about 5000 IU of Vitamin A. Vitamin A has many health benefits, including promoting eye health and strengthening the immune system. Vitamin C contributes to bone health.
2. It promotes liver function
According to a 2013 study on the impact of leafy greens on liver fatty acid profile, eating cruciferous vegetables such as sukuma wiki helps promote liver health as well as regulate blood pressure. The study demonstrated the ability of green leafy vegetables to modulate liver fatty acid composition, thus providing protection against an increase in atherogenic fatty acids, which may be involved in cardiovascular diseases.
3. Sukuma Wiki is a great source of dietary fiber
Sukuma Wiki is a great source of dietary fiber, which means it is a great aid in digestion. It contains soluble fiber which add bulk to your stool, making it lighter to go.
While no food can single-handedly help you lose weight, eating more fiber-packed foods and vegetables such as sukuma wiki has been proven to aid with weight-loss. A dietary study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine established a greater weight-loss in participants who had a high-fibre diet, compared to those who were not. The study concludes that a simplified method to weight-reduction focusing only on increased fiber intake may be a reasonable alternative for people with difficulties sticking to more complicated diet regimens.
In addition to its high fiber content, it is low in calories and low in the glycaemic index, both of which have been proven to help with weight-loss.
5. Reducing the risk of cancer and diabetes
According to a study on the anticarcinogenic effect of cruciferous vegetables, the leaves of leafy greens such as sukuma wiki are packed with sulfur-containing compounds known as glucosinolates. These break down upon ingestion to compounds associated with decreased inflammation, lowering the risk of cancer.
The leaves also contain chlorophyll, which is what gives them their green colour. Chlorophyll forms close bonds to carcinogenic chemicals (also known as aflatoxins), thereby assisting to prevent the absorption of these cancer-causing agents in the intestines. Read more about the cancer chemo-protection of chlorophyll-rich foods here.
Additionally, Sukuma wiki and other dark leafy greens contain flavonoids (such as myricetin, quercetin, luteolin and apigenin). Flavonoids have been linked to minimising the risk of major diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, and age-related function decline.
6. Sukuma Wiki is special-diet friendly
Sukuma wiki is also suitable for those on special diets. It is vegan, vegetarian, Keto, paleo, and low carb. It is also suitable for the whole 30 and THM diet plans, making it a wonderful option as a side dish.
7. Memory Function, Mood and Sleep
Sukuma wiki and other leafy greens contain choline, an essential nutrient that is also an important neurotransmitter. Choline helps with muscle movement, learning, memory functions, sleep, and general mood. Choline also assists with maintaining the structure of cellular membranes, the transmission of nerve impulses, the absorption of fat, and the reduction of chronic inflammation.
8. Regulation of Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Dark leafy greens such as sukuma wiki contain soluble fiber which helps absorb cholesterol before it gets into the bloodstream. A 2013 dietary study conducted to determine the impact of collard greens on blood pressure in rats established a significant decrease in the blood pressure of animals consuming a diet rich in green leafy vegetables. The study established an ability of green leafy vegetables to favorably modulate blood pressure.
9. Good Vision and Bone Strength
Sukuma wiki contains vitamin A. According to the American Optometric Association, vitamin A is beneficial to a healthy functioning ocular surface (the outer layer of the cornea, the tears, the conjunctiva, and the margin of the eye lids). It is also required for the formation of rhodopsin, a photopigment that is especially helpful in allowing our eyes to see at night. Adittionally, sukuma wiki is also a great source of vitamin K, which has been proven to assist with the absorption of calcium in the body, resulting in healthy bones.
10. Hair, Nails and Overall Beauty
Sukuma wiki contains vitamin A, which has been proven to promote the growth of body tissues, such as skin, hair, and nails. It also contains vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that is required for the biosynthesis of collagen, a protein that helps promote healthy joints, and skin elasticity.
Sukuma wiki is rich in folate, a form of vitamin B9 needed for healthy growth and development. Folate is important before and during pregnancy because it has been shown to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. Because folates play such an important role in pregnancy, the Food and Nutrition Board recommends pregnant women increase their intake of it from 400 mcg DFE/day for nonpregnant women to 600 mcg DFE/day during pregnancy (Source: National Institute of Health Publication).
Buying Storing and Cooking Sukuma Wiki
When buying sukuma wiki, go for perky, dark green leaves. Avoid leaves that have dark spots or that are already turning yellow. If you want to prepare your sukuma wiki later, clean, slice, and keep it in the fridge or freezer.
When it comes to cooking sukuma wiki you can use it in several recipes as follows:-
- Make East-African sauteed Sukuma Wiki and serve this with ugali.
- Use it when cooking stir-fries.
- Use the leaves as wraps or add them to soups.
- Add it to your Kenyan Beef Stew.
- Combine it with other vegetables such as spinach, cabbage or grated carrots.
Conclusion on the Benefits of Sukuma Wiki
We have explored the benefits of eating sukuma wiki, but is there anything like too much of a good thing turning into a bad thing? Well, unfortunately, this holds true in this case.
- Sukuma Wiki is packed with fiber, and the body takes longer to digest fiber than most other foods that we ingest. Eating too much fiber at once can result in uncomfortable side effects such as bloating. To avoid getting problems with gas, stick to eating no more than one or two cups of it at a go.
- Additionally, people who take blood thinners are required to keep their intake of vitamin K constant. Because sukuma wiki provides more than the daily recommended amount of vitamin K, this could pose a problem for such people. In this regard, it is important to keep an eye on how much sukuma wiki you are consuming per day.
- It can cause some discomfort to people with peptic ulcers. Speak to a health care professional to find out whether you should consume sukuma wiki or not.
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