Palm wine might be known as a tropical local alcoholic drink that has a sweet taste when freshly tapped and is enjoyed by as many that loved it either when sweet or sour, thus refreshing them all the time but it is really more than that!.
In as much as it does all of the above, most people still fail to understand that palm wine contains rich nutrients that provide the body with lots of amazing benefits which are discussed below.
Here are surprising health benefits of Palm wine you may not know
1. Improves Eye Vision
This is one of the primary functions of palm-wine which many people are aware of but may not really know what nutrients actually do the work. The presence of the vitamins in palm wine such as vitamin C and B’s have a vital role which they play in improving eye vision.
While vitamin C helps in building the connective tissues of the body and the blood vessels of the eye preventing related eye problems like cataracts, macular degeneration, etc., Vitamin B1 and B12 help in solving vascular-related issues that concern the retina which could result in chronic inflammation and more.
Generally, vitamins help in keeping the eye healthy and reduces the chances of getting eye problems as much as possible.
Potassium also helps in keeping the eye healthy and moist as its deficiency can cause eye twitches or eye muscle spams as a result of eye dryness caused by the lack of potassium.
This benefits can’t be gotten from any other alcoholic beverage even those that promise it does, and this could be the sole reason people who live in the villages, especially our grandparents, tend to have better eyesight due to their intake of palm-wine which seems to be their top alcoholic drink.
2. Build the Body’s Structure
Protein is an essential nutrient which the body cannot do without, and palm wine contains lots of amino acids whose main function is to act as the building block of the macro-nutrient - Protein.
Thus, it helps in building and improving the body cells and as well help to store nutrients in the body which is vital for the functions of the body’s organ. It also plays a major role in the repairing of the body’s tissues, structures of the bones and muscles.
3. Improves Hair and Skin
Palm wine does more than is expected of it, it contains nutrients that help in nourishing the skin, the hair and even the nails (fingers and toes alike), such as the vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and others which plays a very important role in the improvement.
It also helps in the promotion of new body cells by removing the dead cells in the body and replacing it, thereby giving the skin a soft, smooth and better appearance.
4. Used to Treat Skin Rashes
In most places, palm wine can be used externally in the treatment of skin conditions such as rashes, eczema, etc., especially in small children. It is done by rubbing the affected areas with un-adultered palm wine, its content of vitamins will help soothe the skin and relieve such skin issues.
5. Increases Breast Milk
This is one of the functions of palm wine in the body that most people especially those in the villages are aware of. Though it is widely believed that taking of palm wine help increase breast milk in lactating mothers but scientifically, it hasn’t be proven.
But still, that doesn’t make the saying all wrong as most of the diseases and cure for the treatment of various health conditions are from naturally occurring plants and vegetations which our forefathers have practically been using.
Palm wine has long served as the main beverage for lactating mothers in many African countries like Nigeria, Cameroon, etc., where it is mostly cultivated and can be easily gotten, and have been locally proven to help mothers whose breast milk are low by increasing the flow for adequate breastfeeding.
6. Improves Heart Health
Its potassium content makes it a good source of drink to help combat various related cardiovascular diseases. Potassium is good for the body and helps it function better, and the expected level in the body is between 3.5 and 5 mmol/L.
It helps the nerves and muscles to function well and as such helps in normalizing the rate at which the heart beats and well helps in reducing or lowering the blood pressure.
Palmwine should be taken in moderation to provide the heart and the entire body with the potassium it needs as either too much (hyperkalemia) or low (hypokalemia) content of potassium in the body can cause irregular heartbeats which can lead to serious and deadly health problems.
7. Fights Cancer
Food rich in antioxidant properties is known to help in reducing cancer risk, as they help prevent oxidation processes in the body which could cause some chemical reactions in the body thereby leading to damages of vital organs and cells, ulcer, inflammation, etc.
Palm wine contains antioxidants that help prevent free radicals from damaging the cells in the body and fight cancer. An example of such antioxidants in palm wine is vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).
Nutritional Values of Palm Wine
It may not be surprising to say that palm wine contains sugar, bacteria and yeast (which causes fermentation), but it is surprising when nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, vitamin C, Amino acids, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin B’s are mentioned but it surely contains them all and even more yet to be proven.
Where Palm Wine can be found!
Palm wine is a common traditional alcoholic drink in tropical areas due to the favorable climate and is widely cultivated in West and Central Africa like Nigeria, the Caribbeans and Asia, and even some parts of South America.
In Nigeria, it is mainly found in tropical regions such as the Southeast, South-west, and South-south, and their favorable climate and weather condition is suitable for its growth in such areas.
Kinds of Palm Wine
Most people may not know that palm wine comes in various tastes and flavors, especially as a result of geographical areas which can be attributed to many factors like soil type, climate condition, and others.
Majorly, the Nigerian palm wine is gotten from the oil palm tree and Raffia palm by palm wine tappers, but in various Africa countries and other areas where it is found, there could be other different types of palm.
a. Palm wine from the oil palm tree is called “nkwu enu” in Igbo, “emu” in Yoruba.
b. Another kind of palm known as “iti” is common in Anambra state and involving the tapping of palm wine from the stem of the oil palm tree, it is also known as Stem tapping.
c. Raffia palm wine is tapped from the raffia tree and is known as “Ngwo” in Igbo, “Ukot” in Efik and “Ogoro” in Yoruba.
d. Another type of palm wine is gotten from felling the palm tree and is known as “down-wine”, it is common in Ghana and in some parts of Cross River like Boki LGA but abolished by the government as it discourages forestation.
In some countries of the world, it is known with different names such as “Mbu” in Cameroon, “Ukwu or Ngwo” in Igbo (Nigeria),” Doka” in Ghana, “Panam culloo” in China, “Emu” in Yoruba (Nigeria), “Lambanog” in the Philippines, and more.
In as much as palm wine is vital for our health, and is being recommended by many because of its nutritional benefits, yet it should not be taken in excess especially when it has undergone fermentation.
As it can result in hypertension, neurological problems and can as well lead to failure of the body’s vital organs such as the liver and kidney, the alcohol content in fermented palm wine is 2 or 3 times more than that in other alcoholic drinks which gives the liver work overload while trying to detoxify the system.
Many local gins can be produced from palm wine too depending on the duration of the fermentation process which still has adverse reactions to the body when taken in excess.
Palm wine is more than just a refreshing drink and is rich in minerals and vitamins that help to provide the body with the necessary nutrients which prevent deficiencies and improves the hair, skin, fight cancer, improve vision and promote heart health.