Health & Fit: A Dietitian’s Delicious Discovery in Tanzania - PressFrom - US
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Health & FitA Dietitian’s Delicious Discovery in Tanzania

10:40  07 august  2019
10:40  07 august  2019 Source:   usnews.com

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I can say with certainty that a safari trip in Africa was not on my bucket list. But after years of resisting my husband’ s hope that I would join him on this adventure, I gave in. I moved out of my comfort zone, faced my fears, packed my Patagonia and traveled to Tanzania .

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A Dietitian’s Delicious Discovery in Tanzania© (Getty Images) Spices

I did have concerns about the food I’d face there. I’ll admit that I’m a fussy eater with a few food quirks. I don’t like to eat anything that looks like it did when it was alive, and I’m not fond of exotic experimentation – think dishes like snake, ants and so on.

To my surprise, the food was incredible, exploding with flavor. Tanzanian cuisine is a fusion of Indian and Mediterranean influences coupled with local specialties. Spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and turmeric were seamlessly incorporated into appetizers, main dishes and even desserts. The cold soups and tajines were my favorites, especially when fruit was included in unexpected places.

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Although spices impart flavor and cultural connections to food, they also provide medicinal benefits. It just so happened that when visiting Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, I had a sore throat, chills and fever. The chef whipped up a few mugs of steamy tea made with fresh ginger, ginger beer, lemon and local honey and by that night I was ready for our next game drive.

Healthy Spices

Here are some ingredients you may want to add to your shopping list – without needing to board a flight – to keep you feeling your best:

Cardamom: Cardamom may be helpful in reducing blood pressure and protecting cells against damage therefore playing an important role as an anti-inflammatory agent. It has also been connected with squelching symptoms of upset stomach including nausea, heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome.

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Chilies: Chili peppers are rich in vitamin A, and they have been shown to reduce pain, fight free radicals, lower cholesterol, clear congestion and boost immunity. And when it comes to fighting stomach ulcers, contrary to what you might believe, chilies have been shown to help, not harm ulcers. Capsaicin is the powerful compound in chilies that has been shown to fight inflammation and get your blood flowing to the right places, including boosting circulation to benefit heart health.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is one of the most commonly used spices that can easily be woven into sweet and savory dishes. You can add a sprinkle to your morning coffee, a touch onto your oatmeal or include some with other seasonings in a sauce for poultry. Cinnamon provides manganese and it has been shown to help prevent blood sugar levels from spiking.

Cumin: Cumin may help improve digestion by promoting the activity of digestive enzymes. Interestingly, one ground teaspoon of cumin seeds are rich in iron, providing 1.4 mg of iron, or 17.5% of the RDI for adults. As with other plant compounds, cumin’s antioxidants help to decrease inflammation and may be beneficial in helping to control heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

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Garlic: Garlic’s antiseptic properties help to support its reputation for fighting colds. Garlic might also boost heart health by playing a role in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, increasing circulation and protecting blood vessels from inflammation. The health benefits of garlic are enhanced further when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed or chewed, releasing the powerful sulfur compounds within.

Ginger:Ginger is known to settle an upset stomach, prevent seasickness and even squelch morning sickness. Gingerol, the potent chemical in ginger, helps decrease inflammation and perhaps even block nerve pathways that process pain.

Turmeric: Turmeric can add a beautiful yellow glow to any dish. This spice has been getting lots of media attention because of its long list of anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer activities. Curcumin, the potent component of turmeric, has been shown to relieve arthritis pain and manage diabetes, heart disease and a variety of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Two teaspoons a day provide 10% of your daily value of iron and 17% of your daily manganese.

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Make Your Own Spice Blend

You’ll find lots of DIY spice blends on tables in Africa, with one of the most popular being dukkah (or dukka). This is a coarse blend of coriander, sesame seeds, cumin seeds and nuts (like almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios) that gets mixed with olive oil and, in some cases, balsamic vinegar. Dunking some warm pita into this combo will set the stage before a hearty meal.

Here’s the dukkah mix I tasted and enjoyed at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge in Tanzania:

Dukkah Spice Ingredients

  • 1 Cup sesame seed (do not grind).
  • ½ Cup coriander seed.
  • ½ Cup hazelnuts/almonds/cashew nuts.
  • ¼ Cup roughly ground cumin seeds.
  • Salt.
  • Black pepper.
  • Dried mint .
  1. Roast the ingredients separately, except salt, pepper and mint.
  2. Pound together in a mortar and pestle until finely crushed but not pulverized (except sesame).
  3. Dukkah should always be a crushed dry mixture and not a paste.

The quantities above make a generous portion of dukkah, but it can be stored for many weeks in an airtight jar. Use on meats or fish as a seasoning or marinade, or add oil and vinegar to use as a dip for bread.

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This is interesting!