General information on fibre and fat enriched maize meal By Jandri Barnard (Registered Dietician)
Health benefits of maize meal are known by most African communities, in traditional homes, for whom it has been a staple food for many years and presently in more urban societies. Maize meal is usually commercially prepared by sifting, meaning that the germ has been removed from the maize. This Super Maize Meal flour is white in colour with most of fibre removed. It is loaded with carbohydrates, B vitamins (niacin, thiamine, riboflavin) as well as the minerals potassium, magnesium and iron, but very little fat.
Maize meal of different coarseness is made by grinding dried maize kernels into different textures which gives it a darker, more brown colour. Super fine maize meal enriched with fibre and fat more nutritious but also more perishable because of the higher fat content. The improved texture of the fibre and sweetness of the fat content can be used in porridge, and an ingredient as part of maize containing recipes.
Some of the benefits of grinded maize meal or sifted maize meal enriched with fibre and fat are: Benefit 1: Rich in carbohydrates Maize is highly rich in carbohydrates and as being a starchy food, it releases energy slowly in the blood stream ensuring that you stay energized the whole day. Benefit 2: Higher in fibre Maize meal fortified with additional fibre, is higher in natural fibre than grinded maize meal. This fibre assists in maintaining a stable blood glucose and regular gut movement for improved health. Benefit 3: Source of natural maize fats Maize oil or fat is a mono-unsaturated fat, which is also an antioxidant and does not solidify at room temperature, thus it does not have cholesterol as found in animal fats. Benefit 4: Rich source of iron Non-sifted or fibre enriched maize is higher in iron, as there is a higher content of the maize germ, which is added to sifted maize. The endosperm is the energy store of the maize packed with kilojoules and energy.