Cameroon’s forest tribes have long depended on insects to supplement their diets. The palm weevil grub, a fat worm found in palm trees, is such a popular source of protein that it has squirmed out of the forests and onto the plates at popular restaurants.
In Cameroon’s capital, some unusual ingredients are wiggling into city kitchens.
At Le Cercle Municipal restaurant, Chef Emile Engoulou cooks palm weevil grubs to create dishes of international standard.
Engoulou says they are the best protein that exist and they have not even finished making an inventory of all the benefits they obtain by eating the palm tree worms.
For people used to eating meat and fish, finding worms on their dinner plate can be a shock. But the palm weevil grub can also be a pleasant surprise for many consumers like Paul Ndom.
He says the service is very well done, the dish well prepared and they are enjoying it. He says he hadn’t seen this way of cooking yet, but that it is great.
The high demand from chefs has led to a shortage of palm weevil grubs. Villagers like Valentin Bidja, who used to gather the grubs in the forest, see it as an opportunity for people in rural areas.
Bidja says when they raise worms in the village, it is less stressful and more profitable and that in the village, they spend less energy.
The growing popularity of the grub in Cameroon, Chef Engoulou says, has made it several times more expensive than beef.
The skeleton system of our body plays a vital role throughout our lifetime. It acts as pillar of support for our body’s framework and protects our vital organs. Additionally, bones help in storing minerals like calcium and phosphorous, as well as support the muscles for locomotion. From birth to old age our bones go through series of changes.
By the age of 30, the bone mass density reaches its peak. After which it tends to lose more bone mass than it is deposited. Osteoporosis is a frequently occurring condition developed by people as they grow old. In this condition, bones become weak and fragile. Consequently, it becomes difficult to heal a broken bone after an osteoporotic fracture.
According to statistics, adult population above the age of 50 tends to break their bones easily. Where it is seen, 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men fracture their bones due to osteoporosis. Hence, it is important to take care of our bones from young to old age.
There are certain risk factors which may act as a catalyst for accelerating osteoporosis early. Lack of vitamin D and calcium in diet, lack of physical activity, being underweight, smoking and drinking, irregular hormonal levels and intake of certain medications are some common examples of risk factors.
The risk factors increase the vulnerability of osteoporosis as we age. Dr Harish Ghoota, Additional Director-Orthopaedics, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad shares the following steps to incorporate in your lifestyle to better bone health:
Incorporating food and drinks rich in calcium and vitamin D is a good step. For example, low-fat dairy, tofu, soy milk, green leafy vegetables, leguminous pulses, salmon and nuts are good sources for calcium. Exposing one’s body to sunlight for 10-15 minutes twice or thrice a week acts as a good source for vitamin D. Food products like fortified milk and cereals, salmon, tuna, shrimp and oysters are also good sources for vitamin
Indulging in regular exercise for minimum half an hour keeps the muscles and bones strong. Strength building, weight training exercises and dancing are one of the best ways to keep fit and healthy bones
Avoid tobacco and alcohol abuse. According to medical advice, women should not consume more than one drink per day and men should not consume more than two drinks per day
With increasing age, regular bone density tests and health check-ups with doctors helps prevent excessive bone density loss.
Taking care of your bones from a young age becomes essential to prevent poor bone health. During childhood and adolescent years, bones rapidly grow. These form crucial years for developing good bone health. Proper balanced diet with increased intake of calcium rich foods and minimum one hour of physical exercise everyday helps to maintain good bone health. Additionally, adults after 30 years of age must integrate healthy lifestyle practices. These activities help to prevent poor bone health after the age of 30:
Exercising daily for 30 minutes least
Being cautious from falls or accidents
Going for regular check-ups
Regular bone density tests. Especially, after age of 50 with a fractured bone