Bambara nut or Bambara beans (Vigna subterranea) is a nutritious legume and a popular staple food in Enugu. It is locally called ọkpa in Igbo, epa-roro in Yoruba and kwaruru or gurjiya in Hausa. It is a drought resistant legume with different species which come in small pods that can be cracked to obtain the hard seeds.
The nuts have a naturally delicious flavour. It is used to make ọkpa, the popular Eastern Nigeria delicacy enjoyed by many. The meal is prepared by removing the outer covering of the seeds and grounding to flour which is used to make a thick solid cake. It can also be roasted and eaten as a snack, or allowed to ferment to make Bambara nut milk.
Bambara beans have all the essential nutrients the body needs which helps in the prevention of malnutrition. Its nutrients consist of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fibre content, vitamins, minerals such as manganese, potassium, fluoride, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, sodium, iron, and copper.
Bambara beans have numerous health benefits.
- The nuts are rich in iron that boosts blood levels in the body and help in the management of anaemia.
- It is essential in the therapeutic management of irritable bowel syndrome and severe diarrhoea.
- The fatty acids in Bambara nuts are able to suppress the production of substances that can harm the stomach’s lining and thus reduce the danger of stomach cancer.
- It lowers cholesterol levels and is used as part of the treatment for high cholesterol.
- The minerals contained in Bambara such as calcium maintains healthy bone and protects the body from arthritis, osteoporosis and other related bone diseases.
- It is a natural remedy for insomnia. They contain amino acids that stimulate a release of serotonin from the brain hence bringing about the mental calmness that makes it easier to fall asleep.
Source: Health Bubbles