10 Perfect Health Benefits of Egusi

Health Benefits of egusi

Melon seed, popularly known as Egusi in Nigeria, is a food many Nigerians, irrespective of state or tribe, enjoy. The popularity of the food is beyond Nigeria as people from other West and Central African countries also enjoy a dish of Egusi. People enjoy egusi by grinding it and using it to make soups, although the method of preparation may vary across tribes and countries. [1]

Egusi is gotten from a fruit from the Cucurbitaceae family, which the watermelon also belongs to. The botanical name of egusi is Colocynthis citrullus. The fruit is hard and smaller than the average watermelon and has a marshy, bitter pulp that is inedible. The seeds of this fruit are what is eaten instead, after being scooped out and left to dry. The egusi has a brown, brittle shell around it, which is broken to reveal the white seed that is the main ingredient for soup.

Nutritional Value of Egusi

Besides its great taste, egusi also has a high nutritional value, with a high oil content of up to 50%, potassium, protein, calcium, and much more. It is also a rich source of vitamin B1, B2, sulphur, dietary fibre, zinc, magnesium, and a lot more. All these make egusi one of the healthiest foods you can eat. [2] [3]

Little wonders it is a favourite for some people. The oil extracted from Egusi seeds can be used to make butter and can also be used in the making of animal feed. After the extraction of the oil, the used seeds are used to make a type of local snack called Robo. If the seeds are left to ferment, they turn into another local spice called ogiri.
Today, we would be looking at some of the health benefits of Egusi and why you should consider consuming it more.

Health Benefits of egusi
Health Benefits of egusi

Health Benefits of Egusi

From the nutritional composition of egusi that you read above, you can deduce that there are manifold health benefits of egusi. Let’s find them out.

1. Anti-inflammatory Properties

Egusi contains anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce and prevent the effect of inflammation. It contains methanol, which has always been used to cure and treat inflammation. The methanol extracts help to stimulate the production of serotonin and carrageenan, which help to fight infections that could lead to inflammation. [4]

2. Improves Bone Health

The high concentration of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium in egusi allows it to form and strengthen bones and teeth while fighting off diseases that could affect the bones.

3. It Aids Digestion

Egusi is one food that stimulates and aids digestion and helps regulate bowel movement to the presence of soluble dietary fibre and vitamin B1.

4. It Improves Heart Health

Egusi also keeps the heart healthy and protected by reducing cholesterol levels in the blood due to the fact that it contains unsaturated fatty acids. It also has amino acids that have been known to promote cardiovascular health.

5. High Protein Content

Protein helps to build and repair the muscles and skin, and your body needs large amounts of it, which is one of the things that Egusi has a high content of. Consuming protein also helps fight off diseases like kwashiorkor and other deficiencies associated with malnutrition.

Health Benefits of egusi
Egusi soup @foodace

6. It Helps To Prevent and Fight Cancer

Several studies have shown egusi to help in fighting cancer, due to the presence of cucurbitacin glycosides, an active property that has been observed to have a pleiotropic effect, killing off cancer cells and slow their spread.

7. It Helps To Manage Arthritis

Eating egusi can also help those with arthritis due to the fact that it contains cucurbitacin glycosides and quercetin, two anti-arthritic properties. If left untreated, arthritis can lead to deformities, since it destroys bones and joints. The anti-arthritic properties contain flavonoids, which are very effective in treating and managing arthritis and related conditions.

8. It improves the skin

Egusi contains vitamin B2 and Niacin, two vitamins that help maintain and improve the skin. When extracted as oil, it can be used in the production of lotions and soaps that would keep the skin fresh and smooth.

9. It Helps Those With Diabetes

Insulinotropic properties are found in every part of the Egusi plant, from the stem to the seeds, which could help those with diabetes, because it stimulates the response of insulin. A study published in 2011 stated that, egusi melon seeds (Colocynthis citrullus) hs antidiabetic properties and lowers cholesterol  [6]

10. It Has Antioxidant Properties

Egusi helps get rid of toxins from the body and prevents cell damage due to the antioxidant properties it has, containing lots of vitamins and essential minerals. This helps protect against diseases and the effects of free radicals in the body.

Healthy Nigerian lunch ideas

Bottom Line

Melon seeds or egusi are rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. There are so many amazing health benefits of egusi, such as it’s ability to fight cancer, inflammation, and improve digestion. You can enjoy egusi by eating egusi soup. In fact, it’s one of the healthy Nigerian lunch ideas you can try.




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