Nutritional Values and Health Benefits Of Bambara Groundnut
This type of food crop, also known as Bambara nuts is predominately cultivated in West Africa, it is a type of groundnut and also is one of the common food sources in Nigeria as it used in the production of various food delicacies.
It might be surprising to say that most people in Nigeria may not be conversant with this name as the local name is commonly used but it forms most parts of some families daily meal. Locally, it is called Okpa (Igbo), Epa- Roro (Yoruba), Kwaruru or Gurjiya (Hausa).
Just like groundnuts, Bambara groundnut or nuts is regarded as a false nuts, rather it is a legume and contains lots of protein as well. It is mainly used in cooking especially in the making of Okpa which can be taken along with Pap (Akamu or ogi), drinks, soaked garri flakes and others.
The method of cooking the nut (Okpa) is by steaming which after grounded into flour is used in the preparation, and this makes all the ingredients to remain intact, thus making it highly nutritive. It can as well be roasted, properly salted and then eaten as a snack or used in the making of probiotic beverages.
Most times, Bambara groundnut is consumed because it gives energy and taste great when prepared well but it has other great health benefits which make it a must eat for everyone one.
Its nutrients consist of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fibre content, vitamins, minerals such as manganese, potassium, fluoride, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, sodium, iron, copper etc., and just like milk, it too is regarded as a complete food.
The numerous health and nutritional benefits of Bambara nut includes;
- It has all the essential nutrients that a food needs and because of this, it helps in the prevention of malnutrition and other health problems such as kwashiorkor, rickets etc., which are triggered or caused by poor and inadequate dieting.
- It helps in reducing the effects of various health conditions such as anaemia as it contains iron and other essential nutrients which boost the body’s blood level.
- It also helps in reducing the chances of getting cancer and other health issues because of the presence of antioxidants which protects the body from harmful food chemicals.
- The minerals contained in the Bambara nuts such as calcium protects the body from arthritis, osteoporosis and other related bone diseases.
In as much as Bambara nuts or groundnuts is well known for its food source, it is also good to know that its health benefits are almost second to none, as it is used for various medicinal and therapeutic purposes, and contains all the nutrients that our body needs to function wel