Mazhanje: A Forgotten Superfood?

by Teurai Chanakira

Hmmm…yes most of us have experienced it – impatiently peeling the tough skin, unveiling the 3  to 5 clustered seeds and having the sweet-tasting pulp oozing onto our tastebuds. Besides being superbly delicious to many, did you know that mazhanje, mahobohobo or wild loquat fruit contain a long list of beneficial nutrients? Could this be one of our least celebrated superfoods? Whilst there is no specific definition of “superfood” and indeed the definition is still widely contested, the word is generally used to describe a food with numerous nutritional benefits.

One of ECCT’s missions is to promote natural and healthy Zimbabwean-grown produce, which contributes to our long-term vision of a healthier population. We love to rave about local produce which is easily accessible to the whole population, particularly the products we all easily overlook. Whilst we are on the subject of raving about Zimbabwean produce we easily overlook, remember our “How to make a Muriwo Smoothie” blog??

Whilst we do not claim that mazhanje are able to heal any illnesses, our research shows that they contain the following nutritional benefits (this is not an exhaustive list):

1. Pectin

– a general intestinal regulator, which is known to prevent cancer cells, particularly those causing colon, prostrate or breast cancer,  building up or spreading (metastasis) of cancer cells due to its binding effect;

– reduces blood cholesterol.

2.  Vitamin A

– maintains skin, including helping to reduce the risk of lung and oral cavity cancers.

3. Potassium

– an important component of cell and body fluids, keeping heart, kidney, brain, muscle tissue and other organs in good condition;

– controls heart and blood pressure.

4. Antioxidants

– boost our immunity levels;

– help to protect the body against diseases, including cancers.

5. Iron

– important in red blood cell formation;

– iron is found mainly in haemoglobin and helps carry life-giving oxygen to the blood cells.

6. Copper

– copper is not made in the body, so must be obtained from external food sources. It is important for proper growth, connective tissues, hair, eyes and energy production;

– helps with heart rhythm, thyroid glands, arthritis and wound healing;

– important in red blood cell formation.

7. Other essential minerals

– for example, manganese which is involved in bone formation, thyroid function, formation of connective tissues, sex hormone function, calcium absorption, blood sugar regulation, immune function and in fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

Well…we don’t know about you, but from now on we are going to enjoy buying a dish of mazhanje’s just that little bit more. Happy peeling!

**Keep your eyes posted on the blog and new ECCT website launching in April 2012 when we introduce our first worldwide fundraising campaign, to benefit poverty-stricken Zimbabwean cancer patients.

*Sources of info: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com; http://www.safireweb.org

*Pic sources: zimbabwenewsonline; yayemarieba.blogspot.com

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4 thoughts on “Mazhanje: A Forgotten Superfood?

  1. As I remember it, Mazhanje (about 4 seeds) was different from a Mahobohobo which only has one round pip. We ate plenty of both in Zim, but the Mazhanje was our favourite by far. So what were the ‘Mahobohobo’ that we knew??

    • Hi Bruce, thanks for this observation. From our research, mahobohobo was also referred to as being the same as mazhanje, however it may be an error on the part of that particular article. We appreciate your feedback.

  2. I have long been searching for that childhood taste of the Mazhanje Fruit, could it be the persimmon is related in some way?

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