Also known as bean cakes, Akara is one of the popular Nigerian snacks that are really tasty and nourishing. It is made from beans, thus the name and other ingredients like tomatoes, onions, pepper, salt, and crayfish, depending on how you like it. It is mostly taken as breakfast or dinner. Akara can be taken with pap or custard. Let’s find out the nutritional value, calorie content, and health benefits of akara.
Nutritional value of Akara
As we all know, akara is made from beans, and beans are a very good source of protein and other essential nutrients such as sodium, dietary fiber, sugar, and saturated fat. Beans are rich in zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, and vitamins B1, B6, E, and K. 
Calorie content of akara
Two servings of this traditional snack have approximately 110 calories. One ball of akara contains about 60 to 70 calories. 
Health Benefits of Akara
There are so many health benefits of akara, due to its rich nutritional components. Here are some of them:
1. Good for weight loss
It is often difficult to find a good Nigerian snack for weight loss. However, akara is one of them. Beans are one of the best Nigerian foods for weight loss, and that is what akara is primarily made up of. Akara is rich in both protein and fiber, but low in calories. Protein and fiber are two of the most vital nutrients that promote weight loss. 
You may have noticed that you eat Akara, it takes a while before you get hungry again. This is because of the fiber and healthful starches they contain, which helps to create a feeling of satisfaction. This could help prevent overeating and may lead to weight loss.
2. Heart-healthy food
It is important to eat healthy foods that are good for the heart, as it will help you prevent the risk of heart diseases. Eating protein-rich foods like bean cake can help protect your heart from heart diseases. In fact, one medical study said that regularly eating a diet or snack that is rich in beans can significantly lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of getting heart issues. It is one of the Nigerian foods with low cholesterol. 
3. Great for preventing diabetes
Another interesting health benefits of akara is that it can help you prevent type 2 diabetes. It is a great food for people with diabetes because it is very rich in fiber. They also have a very low glycemic index (GI). Foods with low glycemic index raise blood sugar slowly, which is crucial for managing diabetes. Akara is one of the top Nigerian foods with a low glycemic index. The glycemic index of akara is 44.  
One medical study even added that a diet rich in beans can lower blood sugar and HbA1c levels, which simply measures how blood sugar control over time.
4. Easier to digest
Akara balls are known to provide a healthy alternative to our meat and animal proteins as they also tend to digest faster. Since it’s also rich in fiber, that makes it a great food for the digestive system. It is also a healthy Nigerian food for babies.
5. Prevents fatty liver
Eating food with bean content prevents fatty liver. This is a condition whereby the fat stored in the liver keeps accumulating, which can lead to obesity or high cholesterol level. Replacing our diet, which contains higher fat animal proteins with beans product, is a good step towards better liver health.
NOTE: Most akara that are sold are not made with good cooking oil. It’s better to prepare akara with healthy cooking oil that is low in cholesterol and fats. If you don’t want to waste oil while trying akara, you can learn how to safely reuse cooking oil to stay healthy.
Akara is one of the favorite snacks of Nigerians. The many health benefits of akara shows how nutritous and beneficial it can be to you. It can be made at home or is being sold at the roadside. Do not miss out on this healthy meal.