Jollof rice is one of the most delicious and popular rich dishes in West Africa. It is a rice dish that is usually made with rice grains, tomatoes or tomato pastes, onions, crayfish spices, vegetables, and meat in a single pot. However, the ingredients and preparation methods for Jollof rice vary across different regions.
In many parts of Nigeria, Jollof rice or Jello rice is typically the go-to food for occasions and events. That is because it is incredibly delicious, easy to prepare, the ingredients are readily available, and loved by everyone.
Jollof rice is also very healthy and nutritious. This article will provide you with the nutritional value and health benefits of jollof rice.
Nutritional Value of Jollof Rice
The nutritional value of jollof rice is based on its main ingredients, which are white rice and tomatoes.
In 100 grams of white, there are 30 grams of carbohydrates, 2.9 grams of protein, 0.9 grams of fiber, and 123 calories. Rice is rich in manganese, selenium, iron, phosphorus, and copper. It is also high in vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate. However, note that enriched white rice is more nutritious.
Tomatoes, which are usually used to prepare jollof rice, are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, folate, and an antioxidant called lycopene.
Other ingredients such as meat, bay leaves, spices, pepper, and fish all contribute to the nutritional value of jollof rice.
Health Benefits of Jollof Rice
Based on the nutrients found in jollof rice, here are some of the likely health benefits of jollof rice.
1. Provides energy
The foods you eat play an essential role in keeping your energy levels high. They may help maintain your alertness and focus throughout the day.
Although all foods give you energy in the form of calories, not all foods affect your energy levels the same way. Carbohydrates are a faster energy source compared to proteins and fats because they’re your body’s preferred source of energy. Jollof rice is loaded with carbohydrates, which makes it good for providing energy to the body. Both tomatoes, rice, and the other spices used in preparing this meal are all great sources of healthy carbohydrates.
2. Easy to digest
Some people may have health conditions that make many foods difficult for them to digest. People with digestive problems, nausea, or heartburn need to eat easy-to-digest foods that can satisfy their nutritional needs.
Not all grains are easy to digest, but white rice, which is commonly used in preparing jollof rice, is easy to digest. White rice is bland and low in fiber, which makes it easy to digest.
3. Strengthens the immune system
Tomatoes are particularly loaded with vitamin C, which can help to improve the body’s immunity. It also contains lycopene which is said to have many positive effects on the body, such as preventing cancer. Jollof rice is typically red because it is prepared with a lot of tomatoes.
4. Rich in manganese
Jollof rice is high in manganese — a naturally occurring element and an essential mineral nutrient. Just 100 grams of white rice contains 18% of the required daily intake of manganese. Most of the other ingredients used in preparing jollof rice are also rich in manganese.
Manganese is crucial for numerous functions in your body. It helps the body to form connective tissue, bones, cartilages, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones. It is also necessary for fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Manganese is also an antioxidant and plays an important role in normal brain and nerve function.
5. Contains niacin and selenium
Both white rice and tomatoes are excellent sources of selenium.
Niacin is a B vitamin that helps your body to turn food into energy. It is important in helping our cells grow and function and also keeps your nervous system, digestive system, and skin healthy.
Selenium, on the other hand, is a vital trace mineral that can improve brain health, immune system function, and fertility. It also plays a key role in maintaining thyroid hormone metabolism and DNA synthesis, as well as protecting the body from oxidative damage.
Jollof rice is delicious, famous, and loved by many, but most of all, it is healthy. The health benefits of jollof rice, which have been discussed above, should give you more reason to enjoy this meal.