Health Benefits of “Okpa” (Bambara Beans)

Let’s talk about the health benefits of “Okpa.” Are you one of those people who love to eat Okpa for breakfast on your way to work? Or perhaps you are just hearing about Okpa for the first time and you are wondering what the benefits are. Well, Okpa is the local name given to Bambara groundnut or Bambara beans pudding. It is a very common widely enjoyed delicacy across Nigeria. 

In Nigeria, the name Okpa (in Igbo),  Epa-roro (in yoruba) or kwaruru / Gurjiya (in Hausa) is mainly used more than the name Bambara nut. Although it is not popular like other food crops like maize or millet, it is termed as one of the miracle food crops because it has no known side effects and gives the body many essential nutritional benefits once it is consumed adequately.

Interestingly, it is not only in Nigeria that this delicacy is greatly enjoyed.  According to one publication, Okpa is also a staple food in other African countries. In Zimbabwe, for example, it is known as Nyimo beans. South Africans call it Izindlubu and Zambians refer to it as Ntoyo Cibemba

Nutritional Value

Certainly, Okpa has much to offer our bodies in terms of nutritional value.  Bambara nut pudding contains numerous nutrients. This is because none of the nutrients are lost during the processing of the nuts into flour or the cooking of the pudding since the steaming method is predominantly used.  

Some of the vitamins and minerals found in Okpa are as much as they would have been found in the parent source which is Bambara nut. The nutrients supplied by a delicious Okpa meal include :

The mineral content include :

  • Potassium,
  • Phosphorus,
  • Manganese,
  • Tryptophan,
  • Iron,
  • Magnesium,
  • Calcium,
  • Zinc,
  • Selenium,
  • Sodium,
  • Copper.

Top 5 Health Benefits of Okpa

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You can enjoy a whole lot of amazing health benefits from Okpa delicacy. These benefits are good for the body as well as vital to its normal functioning. Let us look at the top five, probably they will help you make up your mind on adding Okpa to your diet, if you haven’t done that already.

1. Helps Prevent Malnutrition

Okpa has all the essential nutrients that your body needs. As a result, it is very helpful in the prevention of malnutrition and other health problems associated with malnutrition such as kwashiokor, marasmus, rickets, e.t.c. All these conditions are triggered or caused by poor and inadequate dieting. As you can see, this amazing benefit is something that both children and adults alike really can enjoy.

2. Provides Protection Against Anaemia

The iron and other essential elements contained in okpa helps in protecting against the effects of various health conditions that can cause anaemia. Iron helps in the formation of healthy red blood cells which carry the hemoglobin that’s responsible for oxygen transport throughout the body. 

3. Prevents Bone Diseases

The ingredients contained in okpa such as calcium and phosphorus helps protect the body from arthritis, osteoporosis and other related bone diseases. Not only that, Okpa also contains lysine which is an amino acid commonly found in beans and other protein foods. This amino acid helps in the proper absorption of calcium in the body.

4. Supplies The Body With Energy

Okpa is a good energy source that can help alleviate the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This is a condition that causes extreme exhaustion and tiredness. Doctors are still not quite sure on what exactly causes this condition or its actual cure, so prevention is the best way to keep CFS at bay. Adding Okpa to your diet can help you do just that.

5. Promotes Healthy Body Regulation

The health benefits of Okpa are too numerous to count. Some of the gastrointestinal benefits of Okpa includes the prevention of diarrhea and other irritable bowel movement syndromes. In women, some of its benefits is seen in the regulation of menstrual flow including prolonged and heavy flow cycles.

Conclusion

Okpa is one of the healthy snacks which is commonly found in Nigeria, especially the Eastern part, as well as other African countries. So if you are a lover of this delicacy, continue dieting with it because of its healthy benefits to your body. And if you are looking for something new and healthy to add to your diet, we recommend Okpa to you. Make sure you get a taste of this wonderful delicacy whenever you visit Nigeria as a tourist.

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