Bambara nut pudding (Okpa) is a drought-resistant legume that is widely cultivated in most West African countries such as Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad.
The nuts are incredibly nutrient-dense and loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals.
Bambara nut pudding (Okpa) is a nutritious food that is eaten and enjoyed by lot of children, adults, and can be served as a family meal.
Okpa is made from the predominately Bambara nut which is the main source of the food delicacy.
Bambara nut is a very good source of many nutrients, and has a lot of uncountable and amazing health benefits which is vital for the normal functioning of the body.
Okpa is also a traditional food and delicious breakfast that is popular in Eastern Nigeria especially in Enugu, Nsukka, and Ngwo.
Local names assigned to it in Nigeria are:
- Okpa (Igbo)
- Epa-Roro (Yoruba)
- Kwaruru or Gurjiya (Hausa)
The fact that this delicacy is nutritious is fascinating as its preparation requires few ingredients and still offers impressive health benefits.
So, this post contains valuable information about Okpa overall health benefits, nutritional facts, preparation procedure, role in weight loss and downside.
Health Benefits of Okpa
The health benefits of Bambara nut pudding are numerous to count, they include:
- Boost blood’s level
- Boosts immune health
- Prevents bone diseases
- Prevents weight gain
- Promotes digestion
- Provides strength
- Contains antioxidants which helps prevent cancer
- Essential in diabetes management
- Helps in insomnia and chronic fatigue syndrome
- Helps in the prevention of malnutrition and other health problems such as kwashiorkor, rickets caused by poor and inadequate dieting
- It can also help in the management of ulcers
- It helps in the regulation of the menstrual flow which includes both prolonged and heavy flow cycles.
- It helps prevent diarrhea and other irritable bowel movement syndromes
- Prevents anemia in pregnancy
Nutrients Found in Okpa (Bambara Nuts Pudding)
Okpa is a complete food and are very nutritious and filling.
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.
To determine how beneficial this delicacy is, let’s see the nutritional value of Okpa.
Per 100 grams of Bambara nut seeds contains:
- Carbohydrates: 65 g
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams (mg)
- Dietary Fiber: 6 g
- Energy: 412 kcal
- Fats: 6 – 6.5 grams (g)
- Moisture content: 1.5 – 2.16 g
- Protein: 15 – 20 g
- Trans fat: 0 mg
And essential minerals:
- Calcium: 14 – 18 mg
- Potassium: 58 – 81mg
- Phosphorus: 165 – 187 mg
- Magnesium: 50 – 69 mg
- Sodium: 19 – 26 mg
- Iron: 0.15 mg
The nuts also contain trace amounts of vitamin C, selenium, zinc, and copper.
Is Okpa Good For Weight Loss?
YES, Okpa like all protein rich food is thermogenic and helps in weight management.
Thermogenic foods take longer time to digest and the body uses more energy to digest it.
This can help you to lose weight as you get satisfied fast and feel full for a longer time and drink more water.
Nevertheless, you still have to learn how you can combine this food in your diet to get the maximum benefit.
Okpa can only be good for weight loss when it is prepared and eaten the right way.
Just because it is good for weight loss and is rich in protein doesn’t mean it should be eaten without any thought for calorie.
You should also know that even though it is rich in protein, that it also contains carbohydrate.
How To Correctly Prepare Okpa
Bambara groundnuts are boiled, salted, and eaten as a relish or roasted and eaten as a snack.
The delicacy does not require tons of ingredients, yet it tastes good.
Okpa is prepared from ground Bambara groundnut (Okpa flour), palm oil, pepper, salt, and seasoning cubes (optional).
And all of these ingredients can be easily sourced locally.
In the eastern part of Nigeria, bambara nuts are ground into a fine powder.
The powder is then mixed with palm oil, salt, and pepper before being boiled into a cakey pudding (dumplings) to make “okpa”.
In other parts of Africa, the nuts are processed into a flour and used in baking.
They are also processed into probiotic beverages and used as a substitute for milk.
Watch this Allnigerianrecipes video to learn how to prepare this amazing food.
How Can Okpa Be Consumed?
Generally, it can be taken along with pap, drinks, soaked garri flakes and others.
Okpa and cola drink is also a perfect combination and that’s what most people use when eating it.
If you’re trying to lose weight, use cola sparingly to avoid excessive calorie buildup.
Lot of the Okpa we consume is purchased from commercial vendors who sometimes add corn flour or other unwanted ingredients to thicken it in order to make more sales.
They may also contain excessive palm oil and these sellers may also add red coloring to save cost in oil while giving it the rich red color that makes it so attractive.
When it comes to natural, healthy food that can aid in weight loss, we have it so good in Nigeria.
Okpa is healthy, nutritious and generally considered safe no matter how and when it is consumed but provided it is eaten moderately and paired with the right food as excessive intake can lead to weight gain.
Its consumption is recommended and should be added especially in the diet of aging adults, growing children and women of childbearing age.
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