Food: Natural Is Always Better!

Natural is always better!

January has come and gone. And some of us would’ve made a list of New Year’s resolutions when the year began. The subject of health is always a popular pick for each New Year, with losing weight trumping the ‘to do list’.  And I trust that we are all still feeling motivated and energised!

There are those who would’ve pledged to shed a few kilos; or perhaps you have been blessed with a lean, fit body and don’t necessarily want to lose weight but simply remain your healthy self. It really doesn’t matter what your health goal is, there will be something for everyone. Therefore, what more fitting topic to kick start this health column than to explore ways in which we can eat our way to a better health and lose weight at the same time.

Where health is concerned prevention is always better than cure. And yet we can’t ignore the fact that certain factors do come into play and meddle with our health. Our lifestyle choices, genetic disposition, environment, life’s mishaps , circumstances or indeed lack of will power among other things can leave us in a precarious position and before we know it we find ourselves battling one ailment or another.

But it’s never too late regardless of what your health situation may be as every little step you take from today will go a long way towards optimising your health!

Grains, Nuts, Fruits and Vegetables

When my daughter started school I had to sign a parent contract pledging that I wasn’t going to put any candy, biscuits, crisps or anything unhealthy in her lunch box! That’s right, the matter was that pertinent! And three years later I still stop and think about each item of food that I put in her lunch box.

It is often preached that natural is always better and I tend to agree. Therefore, for this food series the more natural varieties will be explored first. And nuts, grains, fruits and vegetables do come to mind.

Prepared as naturally and simply as possible vegetables, nuts, grains and fruits are the most nourishing and healthful of the bunch.  I’ll be the first to admit that I used to struggle with the more natural varieties of food especially grains. I found them unpalatable, dry and dull in the best of times. And if you have children then you will understand what a chore it can be to try and get them to eat their fruits and vegetables.

There is also the unfortunate problem of  gluten and nut allergies; and there are some who will swear that because of their texture grains are responsible for irritating their stomach lining by scrapping the mucosa, and flaring up symptoms of diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. These types of food, when cooked effectively and creatively, adding healthy natural additives such as pepper, natural butters/oils and honey, can be quite palatable and easy to partake. Not only are nuts, fruits, vegetables and grains beneficial for health, they are easily accessible regardless of where in the world you live. You don’t have to be mighty rich to afford these. All it takes is a bit of energy and perhaps a gardening tool or two to grow your own, or indeed take a wander into the forest for some of the wild varieties!

However, it is crucial to remember to tailor your choice of these varieties to your individual health needs.

Examples to choose from:

Nuts – peanuts, round nuts, cashew nuts, hazel nuts, peanut butter, almond

Grains – oatmeal, whole meal bread, brown rice, sorghum, chappatti, pumpkin seeds, millet,

Vegetables – pumpkin leaves, cabbage, spinach, cassava leaves, potatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers, sweet potatoes

Fruits – lemons, oranges, grapefruit, apples, bananas, mangoes, figs,

Not only do grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables taste delicious, they are a rich source of all the nutrients that the body needs to fight disease (protein, vitamins, iron, fats and so on). These foods also feed the intellect, provide energy and help us maintain the vigour that we need to carry out our daily duties.

Therefore,  if you are like me a few years ago, I hope that you will now be more willing to give these foods a go. I wish you the best of health!

Join me again next month as we tackle another topic for our food series.

Stay Cool!

Bertha Mukodzani is a Registered Nurse Theatre Practitioner and is the author of the book A Life Steered. She also writes for other publications and is a blogger:

Resources: Healing Foods: Eat your way to a healthier life by Steel et al. Discover more at



  1. Agree with all the above,
    Have you any recipes that are quick and easy with them that would suit a busy mum?

    • Thank you Kelly for your question. I was actually intending to post some recipes which incorporate the natural varieties suggested in the column, therefore, be on the lookout as I shall be posting these in the near future as part of our healthy eating series. Take care!

    • Dear busy parent. Thank you for your question. I shall be posting some simple recipes which I hope will be useful in getting the kids to enjoy their food. Therefore, be on the lookout! I hope you find the time to rest in your busy schedule :-). Take care!

  2. This is an extremely good topic to discuss/read in today’s society, which I think is all about chips! However whilst I agree with this topic I do understand that some families fine this a much more expensive option.

    It would be great if you could recommend where we can buy fruits and vegetable at a more cheaper rate for families.

    • Thanks Sasha for your comment. I am sure there are markets that sell fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables at a cheaper price. One can always take matters into their own hands and grown some varieties themselves in their gardens/backyards. In Africa fruits nuts, sweet potatoes (etc) and fruits such as mangoes, oranges, lemons are easily accessible. Most people grow these depending on the season. Don’t forget we have the wild varieties which are just as healthy and nutritious and one only needs to take a walk into the forest to pick them when they are in season. I hope it helps. Stay healthy!


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