Also Known as:

Mahewu (Shona), Amarewu (Xhosa), Amahewu (Zulu) Togwa (Tanzania), Mabundu (Venda), Mapotho

Mahewu (As I grew up calling it) is a traditional African beverage enjoyed by millions. Derived from fermenting cereals such as maize (corn), millet and sorghum, it can be consumed hot or cold and is commonly served as a thirst quencher, meal replacement and weaning food. Traditional mahewu is low in high quality protein but high in carbohydrates making it an ideal source of energy.

Commercial mahewu is often enriched with nutrients such as protein, iron, calcium and folate and is therefore more nutritious than the traditional version.

                        Why Mahewu is “TAPN APPROVED” (Green Seal

  1. Both traditional and commercial versions can be classified in the functional food category because they provide health benefits that go beyond their nutritional content.
  2. Fermented beverages such as Mahewu are high in probiotics, the good type of bacteria. Numerous studies show that including them in your diet not only improves your digestive health but also prevents disease such as heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
  3. A happy gut is a healthy body. There is a strong connection between the body’s ability to fight disease and the state of the gut. The more good bacteria you have, the better your immune system.
  4. Fermented foods may reduce obesity. A study published in the  European Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that people who included a fermented drink for 12 weeks reduced the amount of fat in their abdomen by almost 5%.
  5. Mahewu are a great source of probiotics- live microorganisms that provide the gut with good bacteria. Probiotics have been credited with:
    ◦ Killing viruses and bacteria
    ◦ Fighting some tumors and leukemia
    ◦ Fighting vaginal infections and intestinal infections
    ◦ Preventing and alleviating  diarrhea related illness across all ages of life

Other nutritional benefits of Mahewu include:

• Enhanced absorption of nutrients especially the B-vitamins (Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Folic Acid, B1, B2, B6, B12)
• Improved digestion: Some studies suggest that the healthy bacteria found in mahewu  helps the body obtain much nutrition from the diet in general. In addition, they help to prevent constipation.
• In traditional medicine, Mahewu is used to increase milk supply in breast feeding mothers. While there is little research to support this practice, traditionalists still promote it. Given the many benefits of Mahewu this could certainly not hurt.

TIP: Limit the amount of sugar added to Mahewu as it adds empty calories to a drink that is already high in energy.

Help us grow our database. If you have seen know of any scientific studies or traditional beliefs on Mahewu, please let us know.  Do you know Mahewu by any other name? We want to know. Just be sure to tell us which country the name is from. Leave comments below.

Cheers to your health!