Okpa which is also known as Bambara groundnut pudding, Bambara beans or Bambara nut pudding has a lot of uncountable and amazing health benefits which is good for the body and vital for the normal functioning of the body as well.
In Nigeria, the name Okpa is mainly used than the name Bambara nut as it not popular like other food crops but it is termed as one of the “miracle food crops”, Why? because it has no side effects and gives the body eventually all it needs once it is consumed adequately (in the right proportion).
Health benefits of Okpa covered in this article are discussed as follows;
1. Helps Prevent Malnutrition
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.
2. Prevents Insomnia & Weight Gain
Bambara nut pudding just like Bambara nut contains tryptophan which produces niacin which in turn also produces/creates serotonin which is a neurotransmitter and helps in mood regulation, improves sleep/sleeping pattern and memory.
It also helps in digestion and serves as an appetite suppressant which is good for weight management (weight loss).
3. Boost Blood’s Level
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.
4. Contains Antioxidants Which Helps Prevent Cancer
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.
5. Prevents Bone Diseases
The minerals contained in the Bambara nuts/pudding (Okpa) such as calcium protects the body from arthritis, osteoporosis and other related bone diseases.
And not only that, it also contains a mineral called lysine which is an amino acid commonly found in beans and other food protein and helps in the proper absorption of calcium in the body.
6. Provides Strength
Okpa provides strength which can help alleviate the symptoms caused by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) which comes with “Extreme Exhaustion” or tiredness and is a disease which medically, there is no clue of what actually causes it or how it can be cured.
7. Immune System Improvement
Valine which is one of the amino acids which can also be found in okpa provides the body with right benefits as it helps not only in the healthy growth of children but also helps in the normal regulation of the immune system and the body’s nitrogen content.
It also helps in the management of stress, repairs the tissues of the muscles and as well increases its metabolism.
8. Promotes Health Conditions
The health benefits of okpa are numerous to count, some of its other health benefits include:
Nutrients found in Okpa (Bambara nuts pudding)
Bambara nuts pudding (Okpa) contains numerous nutrients as none is actually lost either during the processing of the nuts into flour or the cooking of the pudding as the steaming method is predominately used.
Some of the minerals and vitamins which in Okpa includes as much nutrients and as the parent source which is Bambara nut and includes potassium, carbohydrates, phosphorus, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals such as manganese, tryptophan, lysine, valine and other amino acids, fibre content, iron, magnesium, calcium, fluoride, zinc, selenium, sodium, copper etc.
Some of the Popular Names for the Okpa Delicacy!
Okpa - Bambara nuts pudding is made from the predominately Bambara nut which is the main source of the food delicacy and is widely cultivated in West Africa.
Though it might be commonly called Okpa (Igbo) by most persons, it has other local names assigned to it, as it is called Epa-Roro in (Yoruba), Kwaruru or Gurjiya in (Hausa).
In other African countries like Zimbabwe, it is known as Nyimo beans, in isiZulu, South Africa as Izindlubu, in Zambia as Ntoyo cibemba, and in South Africa as jugo beans.
How Okpa (Bambara nuts) can be consumed!
In as much as Bambara nut pudding (Okpa) is made from Bambara groundnuts which is a very good source of many nutrients, 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 well.
Okpa is the name for Bambara nut and also the name for the delicacy it is known for. Generally, it is cooked using the steaming method and can be taken along with Pap (Akamu or ogi), drinks, soaked garri flakes and others
Okpa is generally considered safe no matter how and when it is consumed but provided it is eaten in the right proportion as excessive intake can lead to weight gain.
Conclusively, Okpa is one of the healthy snacks which is commonly found in Nigeria as it contains various nutrients which is good for the body such as;