Maggi seasoning is possibly the number one ingredient in every West African household used by generations as a cooking companion. You probably couldn’t imagine life without it. I mean you’ve grown up cooking with it all your life so how bad can it really be?
Maggi cubes are added as an ingredient to
almost every dish and there’s no denying that it contains all the flavour that make your dishes taste amazing!
I decided to explore each of the ingredients in Maggi cube. Let’s dive in and see what’s it comprises of:
• Iodised Salt
• Flavour Enhancers (Monosodium Glutamate, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate)
• Maize Starch
• Vegetable Fat (Palm)
• Hydrolysed Soya Beans
• Colour (Ammonia Caramel)
• Ferric Pyrophosphate
• Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin)
• Spice Extracts (White Pepper, Chilli, Clove)
• Yeast Extract
Use of Maggi as a flavor enhancer is widely used across Africa for many different African recipes. These cubes which have no nutritive value have grossly taken the place of many fermented seeds and products that once added much variety, flavor, and nutritive value to our African foods.
Fermentation of seeds like ogiri (sesame
seeds) and iru(african locust bean) though still done, may soon be a lost art.
Using fermented seeds as food flavoring
in soups and other recipes has many more benefits than use of your typical Maggi cube. Research shows that fermentation of these seeds increases the protein content, mineral and vitamin content, and increases the digestibility of the carbohydrates found in the seeds. Thus, addition of these fermented products into our food, would increase the nutritive value of our foods.
In contrast, Maggi cubes and similar products, add no nutritive value to our foods, but also actually decreased the healthfulness of our foods.
Three primary ingredients in these products
are salt, monosodium glutamate(MSG),
and hydrogenated oil (trans fat). All three
of these ingredients have been found to
negatively effect health.
TV and Radio adverts have also made stars out of the users of these products without taking cognizance to health risks of their consumption.
Of the above list, three ingredients are major. These are Salt, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and Hydrogenated palm oil or Trans fat.
It is no longer news that excess salt in a diet is one of the major causes of high blood pressure. This is the reason why patients that are diagnosed of the disease are made to refrain from salt.
Can Maggi cube lead to high blood pressure, the answer is simply yes. Since it has been
established that one of the major ingredients of Maggi cube is salt, and to make the matter worse, many women usually add several cubes to their cooking with additional salt.
It is therefore an established fact that most high blood pressure in the country can be traced to consumption of excess salt derived partly from Maggi cubes.
Also, it should be noted that medical research has linked MSG the occurrence of asthma, obesity, cancer among many others.
It is also believed that MSG can cause headache, tingling, numbness, general weakness, and muscle tightness when consumed in excess.
This is the reason why so many people feel weak and worn out when they consume a meal with excess cubes of Maggi.
Although the exact amount of MSG in one packet of Maggi is not known, MSG is known to cause neurological problems, headache and inflammation in the liver. It also increases your risk of metabolic syndrome and obesity and also lowers your appetite.
Finally, Trans fat is a sure way to develop
coronary heart disease, which is a hardening and narrowing of arteries that supply blood to the heart.
This become possible due to the ability of
trans fats to increase LDL(bad) cholesterol and decrease HDL(good) cholesterol in our blood stream.
The aftermath of the increase in bad cholesterol is an eventual narrowing and blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the heart thereby leading to stroke or heart attack.
How do you control this potential health risk?
It all boils down to proportion.
Use a little proportion. It’s a Little tricky but its likely the best solution.
You can eat Maggi occasionally – once in 15 days (in the case of adults) but avoid eating it daily as it doesn’t have any health benefits.
You can alternatively use natural and local
Dry and grind garlic , ginger , crayfish and yere (a substance used for making locust beans ) together. Use a little bit of the grinded substance in food instead of maggi coupled with a little salt. Try this and you will surely enjoy your meal .