Mageu needs no introduction because it is well-known as one of South Africa’s widely consumed drinks. This traditional South African drink made from fermented maize, is considered one of the most nutritious supplements and a good source of energy.
There are various healthy drinks, but mageu has become one of Mzansi’s favourites in the carbohydrates food group. It is beneficial to the ill, workers, students, and to many families due to its energy property and acquired taste, says Roodepoort-based registered dietitian, Sindi-Marie de Beer.
Mageu is a fermented non-alcoholic drink that can be drunk with or without added sugar and flavours. It is widely consumed in South Africa, especially in farming or rural areas where they normally cook it themselves.
Besides mageu being one of Tshepo Jordan’s favourite drinks, the young student from Rustenburg also enjoys it because it gives him sufficient energy to take on the day.
“I enjoy drinking mageu. It keeps me energetic in a good way, and it makes me feel quite healthy. My favourite is the cream flavour, however, I also enjoy all the other flavours. Mageu is a perfect drink, it fills me up, gives me energy, and is delicious,” he says.
The right cure when you need it
For Onke Mweza from Johannesburg, mageu became a meal replacement and rescued him when he had a throat infection and could not eat or chew.
“I opted for mageu because drinking lots of it didn’t upset my stomach as much as dairy would, and it didn’t make me feel bloated,” says Mweza.
De Beer explains that as part of a healthy balanced diet, mageu often plays a key role in providing energy and is normally consumed as a meal replacement for the ill because it is easy to digest and can be beneficial to one’s recovery.
Enjoy in moderation
While having too much of it can contribute to weight gain, the fermentation process involved in making mageu can contribute largely to its nutritional value.
“Due to the fermentation, it is easier to digest (easier to stomach), and it’s also lactose-free. Mageu has traditionally been consumed as a portion of comfort food during illness.
“People who are sick usually drink mageu as it helps provide much-needed energy. Mageu is also useful in persons who struggle to chew, especially in elderly persons who do not always manage to consume enough energy. People with diabetes should however consult a dietitian to make sure it fits into their diet, as too many carbohydrates may adversely affect a person with diabetes,” De Beer says.
“Fermentation of food is known for its health benefits. Not only does it preserve food, but it also allows the good bacteria in the gut to multiply. The good bacteria is known for stimulating the immune system, promoting digestive health, and the production of short-chain fatty acids and certain vitamins,” she adds.
Regardless of how much we love and enjoy this traditional drink, De Beer advises that like any other food, too much of anything can become a problem, and thus it should not be overly consumed and completely considered as a meal replacement.
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