By Kholeka Mkhize

Registered Dietitian (B. Nutrition)

It’s that time of the year where performances are reviewed and one has to pause, look back and ask the question “have all set goals for 2022 been achieved?” Most people are looking forward to the holidays, because of body and mind exhaustion, at this point most people are on a ‘go slow’ with the pace of execution of tasks going at a very slow rate. The reviews we make at this time are not only work related, but also holistic i.e.

  • Spiritually – how has one grown?
  • Mentally – how has one stabilised in the environment?
  • Health and wellness – how has one been able to sustain body health and nutritional status.

If all three are still well maintained at this time of the year, WELL DONE!!!


Since the beginning of time human beings have enjoyed activities involving families and communities, however, in the 21st century all these activities are now spear-headed by celebrities and people that have powerful influence over others. These influences are recently powered by social media which is easily accessible and has many followers. People’s behaviours and eating patterns are heavily influenced by these platforms. Fast and easy/convenient life has become more popular to such an extent that indigenous food is viewed as taboo and seldom available in popular super-markets and restaurants. Some people are even shy to be seen eating pap with traditional morogo (a type of leafy green) mixed with nuts or tomatoes – which contrary to popular belief – is a healthy meal. Morogo has a protein content of up to 36% and contain vitamin A and vitamin C; also complement the low levels of calcium, magnesium and iron in maize. Another example is Mopani worms a local delicacy in the northern region of South Africa, they are a high source of protein offering more than 55g per 100g of serving. They contain high measures of iron, calcium and phosphorus.

Chickpeas (izindlubu – in Zulu) are full of fiber, which offers several benefits for digestive health. The fiber in chickpeas is mostly soluble, meaning that it blends with water to form a gel-like substance in your digestive tract. Soluble fiber may help increase the number of healthy bacteria in your gut and prevent the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria. This may lead to reduced risk of some digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colon cancer.

Chickpeas may also help support digestive health by improving the frequency, ease, and consistency of bowel movements which most people suffer from due to reduced fiber diets and lack of exercise. Chickpeas may help reduce risks of several chronic illnesses like heart diseases by lowering cholesterol; (chickpeas are a great source of several minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, which may support heart health by helping prevent high blood pressure — a major risk factor for heart disease). Chickpeas promotes body’s production of butyrate, a fatty acid that may reduce inflammation in colon cells, possibly decreasing the risk of colon cancer. Furthermore, chickpeas contain saponins, which are plant compounds that may help prevent the development of certain cancers. Saponins have also been studied for their role in inhibiting tumor growth. Chickpeas also provide several vitamins and minerals that may lower your cancer risk, including B vitamins, which may be associated with a lower risk of breast and lung cancers. B vitamins are especially important for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. These vitamins aid in fetal brain development, and they reduce the risk of birth defects. Chickpeas may help prevent and manage diabetes due to their blood-sugar-regulating effects. The fiber and protein in chickpeas help stop your blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after eating, which is an important factor in diabetes management. Indulging in all sorts of legumes (beans, lentils and chickpeas) on a daily basis prevents major illness and promotes good health.

Iron (Fe)Iron is essential in making haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells. These red blood cells help carry oxygen throughout your body. Apart from bone mineralization.
Calcium (Ca)Calcium has an essential role as a hormone messenger. This means that calcium is responsible for communicating hormonal messages to your DNA for their functions to be expressed.
Phosphate (P)Phosphate is necessary for the formation of bone and teeth. Phosphate is also used as a building block for several important substances, including those used by the cell for energy, cell membranes.
Vitamin B complexVitamin B complex may help prevent infections and help support or promote: Cell health, growth of red blood cells, energy levels, eyesight, brain function, digestion, appetite, proper nerve function, hormones and cholesterol production, cardiovascular health and muscle tone.

“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely” borrowed from Roald Dahl; so if you eat well and healthy, without being shy of the type of food eaten or pressured by the ‘trends’ – you will look happy and younger.


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