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Nutritionist Akosua writes: The amazing meal Shinkaafa/Kwenkwen


Shinkaafa or Kwenkwen is one amazing and tasty meal which can never go bad.

The unique taste is constantly felt no matter how different the pots may be. The aroma is almost the same for all sellers and the special sound of hitting the caldron scoop by scoop brought us out of our various homes as children and adults to buy shinkaafa/Kwenkwen/Kyinkaafa. It comes with its own embellishing and the presentation is greatly affected by the buyer’s pocket.

A plate can have the shinkaafa or Kwenkwen itself, spaghetti, salad, egg, tomatoes stew, shito, cooked beans on the side, gari on the side, beef or fish and sometimes wele (my Kumasi people will say, kahuro).
Below are the amazing benefits one derives from this amazing meal;

1. Egg- it’s a high-quality protein food. More than half of the protein is found in the chalaza (egg white). It also contains vitamin D for bone protection in preventing osteoporosis and rickets. A study shows that 1 egg for children each day for 6 months helps prevent stunting (a great remedy for addressing malnutrition in children).

2. Salad- it’s a good source of dietary fiber for decreasing constipation and for weight control as well. The rich fiber content of salad helps reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels in our bodies. It can contain healthy fats e.g. if an avocado is a part, it helps to build stronger bones, improves muscle performance, protects your heart and improves skin tone.

3. Tomato stew – the pepper in the stew improves metabolism and heart health. The tomatoes contain lycopene for heart health. It contains vitamin C, folate (folic acid), vitamin K and potassium. Onions boost bone density, controls blood sugar levels, it’s decreased in calories and contain other minerals and vitamins.

4. Beans and Gari – beans contain flavonoids for the reduction in the risk of heart disease and cancer. For Gari, research supports its benefit for diabetic glucose control. Cassava contains vitamin C, thiamine, niacin and riboflavin which all serve our bodies with amazing benefits.

5. Pasta- it helps with a caloric check for people trying to watch their weight. It helps in sustaining energy. It’s low in dodo and cholesterol-free. Enriched pasta may contain folic acid for blood health and essential for women in childbearing age.

6. Shito – this is good for gastric relief and also mitigate migraines (e.g., chili pepper), for joint pain, promote weight loss and improve metabolism. It also fights flu and colds, fungal infections and quells psoriasis (a skin condition) and promotes a healthy heart.

7. Beef or Fish- beef helps with muscle building and repair. It also a good source of iron for the body and protecting it from anemia by helping to build healthy red blood cells for the body and for our immunity. It’s also for general health, nervous and digestive health. Fish is among the healthiest foods on the planet, high in important nutrients, minerals and vitamins. It lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes and also contains omega 3 fatty acids, essential for growth and development and for brain health.

8. Shinkaafa or Kwenkwen (brown rice meal) – it’s low in glycemic index (how carbohydrate increases our blood sugar) as a whole meal. It is loaded with fiber and helps reduce cholesterol levels, moves waste through the digestive tract, promotes fullness and may help in the prevention of blood clots. It’s a highly nutritious food and it’s gluten-free. It’s also good for type 2 diabetes patients. It also contains folate (folic acid) and vitamin B for making new cells, preventing birth defects and so on.

We are blessed with amazing foods as a country and a continent and I believe that these were some of the reasons why our old folks lived longer and healthier.

Read and share with family and friends and let’s together build a very healthy populace.

Watch Nutritionist Akosua on Citi TV each Monday from 9:00 am to 9:30 am on Breakfast daily’s Nutrition segment where we discuss various nutritional concerns and ways to stay healthy.


Columnist: A. Aphyra Akosua Konadu Yiadom

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