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11 Swallows and Their Health Benefits

Eating good food can define our life. In the wake of various illnesses and various health problems such as cancer, diabetes etc it is important for individuals to watch what they eat. As you take care of your physical looks, it’s very important to care for what you put inside too.  In Nigeria we have locally made foods that are rich with healthy traditional recipes.

One of the traditional food we have in Nigeria is the ‘Swallow’.  Swallow in Nigeria is usually a starchy food  eaten with different kinds of soups. It is called swallow because of the way it’s eaten; you cut a small fraction of it, roll it into a ball, dip it in the soup and Swallow).

Here are some popular Nigerian swallows with their nutritional benefits:

Eba, Photo: Wella Blog

1.) Eba, is made from grated and dried cassava, and is also popularly called GARRI. It is rich in cabohydrates and has 358 calories per 100g, It is low in other nutrients like vitamins, protein and minerals. It is called Eba when it’s made for eating but called  Garri when it’s still in the raw form. Eba can be used  for swallow and also for drinking. It’s in two (2) colours, the white and the yellow and this depends on the method of preparation. When it’s prepared without palm oil it remains white, but when prepared with palm oil it turns yellow. Eba can be taken with soups like Bitter leaf soup, ora/oha soup, egusi soup etc.

Semolina, Photo:

2.) Semolina, is very easy to prepare. Its particles are bristly in texture, making the swallow more textured  than that of Eba, unlike Eba it does not have a sour taste. Because of its high energy content it’s very beneficial for individuals looking to gain weight. The most popular brand of Semolina is called Semovita.

Pounded yam, Photo: Travelstart Nigeria

3)  Pounded yam, which is also known as Iyan is a yam recipe. It is made by boiling the yam, pounding it in a mortar until it stretches like a dough. Yam is a source of cabohydrates, it contains 356.25 calories, 80kg cabohydrates, 0.8g fat and 7g proteins per 100g.  It’s beneficial for those that want to gain weight. It can be taken with any type of soup.

Amala, Photo: Wikipedia

4) Amala which is majorly taken by the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria, is prepared from yam skins. When the yam skins are processed , the flour (which is known as elubo) is white in colour but when put inside boiling water while it’s being prepared it turns brown. Amala can be prepared also from fermented cassava flour, it remains white in colour even after cooking (it’s then called amala lafun). The yam flour is more healthy than the other two, because it contains fewer calories and more protein per 100g than the cassava flour. It’s a good food for diabetic individuals. Amala can be taken with ewedu soup.

Wheat Fufu, Photo: ZeeSaa Online Market

5) Wheat is another swallow that can be enjoyed especially by those that still want to maintain their  figure and not add weight. It’s a light brown swallow that is made from whole grain wheat. Wheat is high in protein and rich in fibre. It helps cleanse the colon and after digestion it facilitates the digestive process. Wheat can be taken with vegetable soup, okra soup, bitter leaf soup.

Oatmeal Fufu, Photo: 9jafoodie

6.) Oatmeal fufu, is for those looking for a modern and healthy diet and still be able to enjoy traditional food. It contains 3.98g of fibre and is made by cooking blended whole grain oats in water till it becomes pasty. It is in the carbohydrate family and also rich in protein. Its benefits include to help reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and also stabilize blood sugar levels.

Dawa, Photo: Virtual Data Room

7) Dawa also Millet, contains uniquely high content of nutrients, including impressive starch levels, very high B-vitamin content, as well as calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium and so on. Millet fufu is made almost the same way as amala, tuwo and other ‘flour’ forms of swallow (fufu).

Plantain fufu, Photo: What’s cooking

8.) Plantain fufu/ plantain amala is an alternative amala recipe. It’s made from unripe plantain, and it’s easy to make, good for the body as it’s high in nutrients. It’s prepared by cooking and blending the unripe plantain till it’s soft and in dough form. It contains adequate levels of potassium that’s important in stabilizing blood pressure. It’s also recommended for diabetic patients.

Tuwo shinkafa, Photo: Nigerian Food TV

9) Tuwo shinkafa is majorly eaten in the Northern part of Nigeria. It is a thick pudding prepared from rice flour and is usually served with miyan kuka soup. It is rich in energy, it contains 80.127g carbohydrate and 366 calories per 100kg. Beneficial to people watching their cholesterol and gluten intake.

Starch, Photo: Nigeria Galleria

10) Starch which is made from grounding and sieving out the starch from the ground casava is rich in proteins, fat ,carbohydrates, iron, Vitamin B and C and of course starch. It is made live semovita, dawa, etc. but is more difficult to get it right. It is common food among the Delta and Edo people.

Cassava Fufu, Photo: Immaculate Bites

11) Cassava Fufu (Akpu) is very rich in carbohydrates and can give lots of energy. It is very low in cholesterol and contains a lot of potassium. It is made from cassava and served almost raw.

All these are healthy locally made meals that can balance out the everyday junk taken. Good food enhances our lives and makes us live long!

Did we leave anyone out? please let us know in the comments.

***Feature Image Credit: 9jafoodie

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Becky Onoise

Becky Onoise is a psychologist, chocolate junkie, and puppy lover. A writer who is sorry... not sorry about correcting your grammar. She's a word enthusiast and aims to achieve her goals. Instagram handle @mz_berkey



  1. Avatar

    Vanessa Willie

    31st July 2017 at 8:31 am

    I don’t know if I like her bio more than the article. Lol. Your sense of humor is out of this world…. I hope I haven’t committed any grammar blunder.

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    31st July 2017 at 3:54 pm

    This is enlightening. I Didn’t know there were these many kinds of swallow. I’ve never heard of plantain fufu, and I thought tuwo had something to do with cow milk.🙈

  3. Avatar


    1st August 2017 at 11:21 am

    A very nice, educative and interesting article. Keep it up girl..👍👍👏👏

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    1st August 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Love this. Thank you girl!
    So when are you going to write about the 11 kind of lovers….😉?

  5. Avatar


    1st August 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Nice one…good knowing the other names. Well put together,looking forward to your next….

  6. Avatar

    Damilola Moyela

    1st August 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Makes sense

  7. Avatar


    5th August 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Good piece.thank you so much ,you rock

  8. Avatar


    11th September 2017 at 11:32 am

    More swallows added to the menu. Thank you.

  9. Avatar


    6th June 2018 at 2:10 pm

    AMALA is NOT made of yam skins. Get your info right, go to markets where they sell ungrinded sun dried yam for amala.

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    23rd June 2018 at 5:51 pm

    You didn’t write on banana and coco yam

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    7th September 2018 at 2:20 pm

    What about corn swallow??

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    Tina Naomi

    8th January 2019 at 1:40 pm

    What about (1) cocoyam swallow
    (2) sweet potato swallow ?

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    Funmi Samson

    14th April 2019 at 7:26 pm

    Very good article but a point of correction if you don’t mind. Amala is not made from yam skin. It is made from dried yam. The yam is cut to smaller pieces, left in the sun to dry, then ground into powder, and voila! there comes “yam flour” Thanks for the article. I learnt a lot, especially about the nutritional values which brought me here in the first place.

  14. Avatar

    Edewin Atihie

    7th August 2019 at 1:20 pm

    I’m diabetic…which of the swallow will u recommend…please kindly name d best three

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