Have you ever wondered why people in Enugu look healthier than others? Do you want to know? OK, I’ll tell you. Well, it’s because they eat Okpa! Ok, maybe that was too much, but sincerely, Okpa is a healthy food.
Okpa is prepared from a leguminous plant called Bambara nut scientifically named ‘Vigna subterranea’. The Bambara bean has its origin in West Africa, specifically Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory coast. It grows in sandy soil between the PH of 5 and 6.5. Bambara nuts are highly resistant to drought as they do not require high rainfall in order to grow. They can also be called hog peanuts, ground beans, earth pea or ‘Congo sobber’.
Okpa is not only cheap and easy to make, it also has a lot of health benefits. Here are some of them:
1: It is an Anti-Arthritis- Due to the high content of minerals in this nut, it is a natural remedy to safeguard the body from Arthritis.
2: It Boosts the Blood- These nuts are rich in iron. Iron helps to boosts the blood level and aids the treatment of Anaemia. No need to waste your money anymore in buying blood tonic, daily consumption of this delicacy would go a long way.
3: Treatment of Insomnia- They are natural sources of remedy for lack of sleep. This is because of the content of Amino acid that stimulates the release of serotonin from the brain thereby bringing a mental calmness which aids Sleep.
4: Okpa Reduces the Danger of stomach cancer- It has the ability to produce a carcinogenic substance that helps in lowering the risk of stomach cancer.
5: It Fights Kwashiorkor- It plays an important role in providing nourishment for many children in the rural areas.
6: It Maintains healthy bones- Okpa is not just rich in protein but also in calcium which aids in the growth of strong bones in both adults and Children. It helps in generating Collagen which is very important for connective tissue formation such as tendon, skin cartilage and Bones.
7: It Lowers cholesterol- Do you have high cholesterol and you don’t know how to lower it?Search no more, Okpa is very rich in Lysine which is an essential element that helps in the proper and manufacturing of ‘Carintine’ which is a nutrient accountable for breaking down fatty acids to provide energy to the body thus lowers cholesterol.
8: It is highly therapeutic- Okpa is reported to be therapeutic, suppressing the growth of probiotics.It suppresses the growth some activities like Diarrhea, Irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
The nutritional profile of Okpa is strong and high enough to sustain the growth of probiotics.
OTHERS WAYS OKPA CAN BE CONSUMED.
1: Okpa can be boiled and salted, eaten as a relish or roasted and eaten as a snack.
2: It can be fermented with lactic acid bacteria to make a probiotic beverage.
3: It can be made into the paste and cooked as ‘moimoi’.
Sometimes, you do not need to add much to it just your pepper, onion and salt and Viola! You will have you a healthy meal.
Whenever you visit Enugu don’t forget to try out Okpa, your soul would be grateful.