( sweet potato leaves prepared with egusi and served with white yams).
In September which was Sickle Cell Awareness Month, as part of my awareness drive, I wrote a series of articles one of which was sharing with other warriors and warrior parents five natural blood builders which have kept me away from blood transfusion and a vampire-like existence; which is the reality of many warriors as bags upon bags of blood are continuously pumped into our systems each time many of us visit our favourite rest house.
My desire to stay free from this insatiable quest for blood as the most effective means of anaemic and pain crisis management, while enjoying a healthy and pain-free life as much as possible let to a voyage of discovery through Mother Nature’s amazing store house of pharmacological products. The more I dug, the more I discovered many amazing products which are constantly replenishing my natural blood bank and ensuring I never run short of supply. I have shared five with you all fabulous warriors and now, I bring more so we together can beat off those hospital vampires and enjoy our lives without stress. So follow me as I bring to you five more natural blood builders we all should know.
1. CASSAVA LEAVES.
This versatile plant from Africa comes with a lot of uses. Considered the number one staple food across many African countries because of the variety of foods produced from its tuber fruit commonly called cassava, the leaves are also effective blood builders. In my country Cameroon, it is a delicacy amongst the Betis and many others East of the Mungo. One way of cooking it is by pounding and cooking with natural palm oil extracted from nuts. This dish fondly called ‘nkwem’, is eaten with the main tuber fruit cassava. I have tasted this and my taste buds didn’t exactly sing kumbaya and so to get the most from this plant, I made use of the leaves now and then. It is simple. Pound or blend, add a little water then sieve and stand on a fire for a few minutes. Let it get warm, mix with milk and drink. I prefer the sweetened nestle condensed milk kids refer to as ‘cartarh milk’. Not only does it make it rich, it adds a certain sweet taste to the extract making it palatable. Try it someday and let me know.
2. SWEET POTATO LEAVES.
I have never really loved eating sweet potatoes. Only until recently did I try eating it after some research show what a nutritional vault I have been missing. Long story short, I started making an attempt to eat it now and then. Never did I know I will one day fall in love with the leaves. Yes, you heard me right the leaves are a paradise of nutrients and blood builders. Rich in Vitamin B and other essential nutrients, it builds the blood supply faster than you can say howdoyoudo? How did I stumble on this blood mine? A random discussion about new foods we would love our friends to try on Facebook led to this amazing discovery. Ms Patty Badobre, an elder sister, in whom I am well pleased, shared the secret behind this and encouraged me to try. Being the picky food type, I agreed but prepared very small in case I couldn’t like it… girl was I in for a pleasant surprise! Yes this time my taste buds sang kumbaya loudly! It has made its way among my favourite vegetables. You can prepare it like eru without waterleaves or like Okongobong. When prepared like Okongobong the egusi makes it even richer. What you need to do is just wash the leaves well slice them thinly and stand aside to add to your meat or whatever you want to use 5 or ten minutes before you finish cooking. This way, they are not overly cooked and the nutrients are retained.
(sweet potato leaves prepared two ways).
3. CONDENSEDMILK AND TOP TONIC
Surprised? Don’t be. I have drank it several times and it is one of the blood builders I swear by. In the absence of top tonic, you can use gin tonic though it has a somehow bitter taste because of the quinine content. The raison d’etre of this mixture can not fully be explained by me. All I know is it has helped me immensely. The quinine content is also believed to be a good preventive measure against malaria, which destroys our blood cells while the other ingredients provide the necessary minerals for blood production.
4. TOP GERALDINE AND TOMATOES.
Fondly called small pikin lipstick because of the way young girls love the red stains it leaves on their lips, when mixed with tomatoes and milk, it is a great blood builder. This is because tomato is a rich source of vitamins and some essential nutrients good for blood building. Milk is a good source of protein. When combined, the two help build blood faster. Grenadine serves as the binding factor. Its sugar content adds flavour and also makes the anaemic person more energetic. Furthermore, as I just recently learnt, the fruit promeganate from which the grenadine flavour is derived is rich in Vitamins such as B6, Folate, iron and other minerals thereby, making it a good blood booster. So those who can access it directly are encouraged to make good use of this nature’s amazing gift.
Not only do they provide vitamins and essential nutrients, fruits like pawpaw, beetroots (beets), apples and carrots when blended together are also very great sources of natural blood supply.
As I said in the last article, to get the most out of this and ensure your blood supply remains top always, make a habit of consuming at least one or several of these regularly. A healthy and balanced nutritional routine ensures our system is always ready to fight diseases. Also, a regular intake of these blood builders ensure our system always has enough blood to prevent us from getting anaemic during crises necessitating the demand for blood transfusion. So take charge of your health daily. Nature’s amazing pharmacy never runs out of supply of new things to discover. That means just maybe as I research more, I will be coming with another five more natural blood builders everyone of us warriors and our care givers should know.
And as usual my bonus point is DRINK! We can never have enough of this so KEEP DRINKING! Share what more natural blood builders you know with us.
Keep reading, keep sharing and keep commenting. We are inspired by your comments, thank you.
ARREY E. AGBOR-NDAKAW.