Kola nut comes from the evergreen Kola tree which is found in the rainforest of Africa. Inside the tree’s star-shaped fruits are white shells which contain the seeds called Kola nuts.
Kola nut has some reported health benefits. The powder and extract may help digestion and they are also thought to promote the production of gastric acid which helps digestive enzymes effectiveness in the stomach. The caffeine and theobramine in the Kola nut may help improve circulation by speeding up heart rate.
FAST FACTS ABOUT KOLA NUT
- The nut is relatively large, being about the size of a chestnut.
- The Kola nut has a bitter taste but becomes sweeter as it is chewed.
- The Kola nut may be beneficial for certain health conditions.
- Whether taken in supplement form or chewed, kola nut has certain side effects.
COMMON USES OF KOLA NUT
In certain African countries, the Kola nut is chewed during ceremonies and rituals.It is also used to sweeten breath.
Another application of the Kola nut in the western world is as flavouring agent in sodas. It is also used as an additive in energy drinks and performance enhancers.
In some cases, it is used in the form of an extract or powder. The nut is boiled to extract the Kola or grounded into powder. In certain parts of the world, the nut is used as a type of alternative medicine.
BENEFITS OF KOLA NUT
The health benefits of Kola nuts align with those if coffee. Several possible benefits of Kola nuts and it’s products include the following :
Kola nut products contain caffeine which can help give a person’s body metabolism a boost. People with slow metabolism could benefit from using products containing Kola nut. Conditions that may lead to slow metabolism include low testosterone levels, Grave’s disease and cushings syndrome.
Kola nut powder and extract help digestion. They are thought to promote the production of gastric acid which increases the effectiveness of digestive enzymes in the stomach.
The caffeine and theobromine in the Kola nut may help speed up the heart rate and improve circulation of blood through out the body.
Boost Energy Levels
The Kola nut naturally stimulates the central nervous system which increases alertness and boost energy levels in a person.
One study reported in the journal of Biosceinces and Medicine indicates that the use of Kola nut extract might stop the growth of harmful bacteria.
Reduce Risk of Prostrate Cancer
Although extensive studies have not been conducted, early researches indicates that certain compounds found in Kola nut may decrease the risk of prostrate cancer in men. Phytoestrogens in Kola nuts may help stop tumours from growing.
Treatment of Migraines
Kola nut may be helpful for people who have migraine headaches. Migraines often affect the blood vessels in the head and caffeine has been used for relieving headaches. The theobromine and caffeine in the Kola nut can help dilate the blood vessels in the brain which decreases migraine pains.
Helpful in Asthma
Although this may not be recommended as a treatment for respiratory conditions, Kola nuts might be helpful to people with certain breathing problems such as asthma. The caffeine in Kola nut can act as a bronchodilator which opens the airways and make breathing easier.
SIDE EFFECTS OF KOLA NUTS
The risk of side effects may vary and increase depending on how much of the nut is eaten. They may include
Increased Blood Pressure
This is due to the active ingredients in Kola nut which are stimulants of the body. They can raise the blood pressure and people who have existing high blood pressure or are taking blood pressure medication should check with their doctors before using any products containing Kola nut.
Difficulty in Sleeping
Using products containing Kola nuts can lead to insomnia or difficulty falling or staying asleep. Those with sleep disorders may be advised to avoid products that contain caffeine, including Kola nuts.
Tremors or Shakiness
Since Kola nuts have an effect on the central nervous system, they can cause shakiness, tremors and anxiousness. People with anxiety may be especially prone to shakiness from Kola nuts.
Eating too much Kola nuts may lead to stomach upset. Some people feel pain S because of the increased production of the stomach acids from Kola nuts which can predispose to ulcers.