African foods that are rich in vitamins

Varieties of vitamin rich foods found in Africa

 

By: Victoria Iyeduala (Freelance Health and Wellness Writer and DLHA Volunteer)

With Editorial contribution by The DLHA Team

 

 

Africa has a large variety of foods which contributes to the versatility and abundance of its dishes. Even better, people in rural areas have easy access to fresh ingredients and food

 

We list and discuss below a sample of some African foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. 

 

Vegetables

 

Africa has many leafy greens rich in many nutrients, including vitamins K, C, E, A, and most B vitamins. They're used in soups, stews, salads and other delicacies. Some people also make them into herbal drinks. Examples are;

  • Fluted Pumpkin leaves
  • Waterleaf
  • Scent leaf/clove basil
  • Bitter leaf
  • Cassava leaves
  • Quail grass
  • Chaya leaf
  • False Cubeb leaf
  • Wild Spinach

Collage of africa vegetabkes that are rich in vitamins

A collection of African vegetables that are rich in vitamins

 

  • African spinach
  • Jute leaves
  • African Rosewood Leaf
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Moringa

 

Other vegetables, such as 

  • Carrots are rich in vitamin A and eaten raw or used in salads and rice dishes.
  • Onions – good source of vitamin C, B6 and Folate.
  • Okra – has vitamins A, C, K and folate.

 

Fruits

Fruits have many nutrients, including a generous amount of vitamins C, A and B vitamins, except vitamin B12. Examples are;

  • Mangoes
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, etc.)
  • Apples
  • Papaya
  • Bananas and plantains

A diversity of vitamin rich fruits found in Africa.

Varieties of vitamin rich fruits found in Africa, including bananas, oranges, watermelon, mangoes, apples, etc.

 

  • Tomatoes
  • Cashews
  • Guavas
  • Avocados
  • African Mangoes (ogbono)
  • Watermelon
  • Palm fruits

 

Spices

Apart from making your meals smell and taste awesome, spices provide good amounts of Vitamins A, C, E and B vitamins except for B12. Examples are;

  • Ginger
  • Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric

Varieties of vitamin rich spices including ginger, alligator pepper, black pepper, etc.

Varieties of vitamin rich spices found in Africa. These include alligator pepper, black pepper, ginger, thyme, cloves, cinnamon, etc.

 

  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Nutmeg

 

Nuts, seeds and beans

This group of foods are good sources of B vitamins and vitamins E. Examples are;

  • Green peas
  • Green beans
  • Cashew nuts – contain some vitamin D
  • Walnuts
  • Groundnuts
  • Macadamia nuts

Varieties of African beans and seeds that are rich in vitamins; including melon seeds, mano seed, walnuts, cashew nuts, groundnuts, etc.

A sampling of African nuts and seeds that are rich in vitamins

 

  • Bambara nuts
  • Dates
  • Almonds
  • Tiger nuts
  • Beans (soya, black, kidney beans, etc.)
  • Melon seeds (egusi)
  • African mango seeds (Ogbono seeds) – has vitamin C

 

Whole Grains

A good amount of B vitamins, vitamins E and K, is present in whole grains. Examples are;

  • Rice
  • Teff
  • Millet
  • Corn
  • Barley
  • Sorghum
  • Fonio
  • Amaranth grains
  • Wheat

 

Tubers

Tubers are a good source of vitamins A, C and some B vitamins. Examples are;

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Yams
  • Cassava

 

Animal products

Animal products are the only food sources of vitamin B12. They're also the main food sources of vitamin D apart from sunlight.

Other B vitamins and vitamin A are also present in generous amounts. Examples are;

  • Beef
  • Sheep meat
  • Pork meat
  • Chicken
  • Liver – very rich in vitamin A
  • Kidneys

Vitamin rich anilamr products dound in Africa, including beef, poultry, liver. etc.

Vitamin rich animal products found in Africa

 

  • Bushmeat
  • Fish and other sea foods
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt

 

Other sources

  • Vegetable oils, such as soya oil and groundnut oil are rich sources of vitamin E. Palm oil is rich in vitamin A.
  • Palm wine contains vitamin C and some B vitamins
  • Mushrooms are a good source of vitamins B2 and B5
  • Vitamin-fortified processed food products such as refined rice, cereals, pasta, milk, drinks, cooking oils, etc

 

You can consult a dietitian to help you plan a healthy diet suitable to your needs.

 

Takeaway

Your body needs vitamins to function properly. Regularly eating a well-balanced diet will give you the adequate amount of vitamins you need. Unless, for any reason, you can't access such a diet, are at risk of a deficiency or need extra amounts of vitamins, vitamin supplements are considered unnecessary.

 

Always read the information on the pack before buying or taking supplements. Also, you should seek a doctor's or dietitian's advice before adding supplements to your diet to ensure you do it right.

 

Related:

What you need to know about micronutrients and dietary supplements in Africa

Vitamin supplements, are they necessary to take?

 

 

Published: December 22, 2022

 

 

Disclaimer

DATELINEHEALTH AFRICA INC., is a digital publisher for informational and educational purposes and does not offer personal medical care and advice. If you have a medical problem needing routine or emergency attention, call your doctor or local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or the nearest hospital. You should consult your professional healthcare provider before starting any nutrition, diet, exercise, fitness, medical or wellness program mentioned or referenced in the DatelinehealthAfrica website. Click here for more disclaimer notice.

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