Monkey kola is an African indigenous fruit that is popularly grown. It is a specie of the West African kola nut tree. The scientific name of monkey kola is Cola lepidota K. Schum. It is widely cultivated in many parts of Nigeria.
Although the common name of the fruit is monkey kola, it is known as Ochiricha or Achicha in Igbo, Obi Edun in Yoruba, Goron birri in Hausa, and Ndiyah in Ibibio or Efik. This fruit is mainly found in the southern part of Nigeria, where it’s grown in homes and villages.
There are three main species of monkey kola: yellow, white, and red monkey kola. The yellow monkey kola is the most popularly known among the three categories. Generally, the monkey kola comes with numerous health benefits.
This piece will enlighten you on the nutritional composition and health benefits of monkey kola.
Nutritional Composition of Monkey Kola
A 2016 study investigated the nutritional and phytochemical properties of monkey kola. The study found out that monkey kola was abundant in potassium and beta-carotene (vitamin A). Monkey kola also had adequate amounts of iron, zinc, and copper, the B-vitamins, and vitamin C. In addition, the phytochemical contents were quite high, the most abundant being flavonoids.
Another study discovered that monkey kola was high in calcium, magnesium, as well as saponins.
7 Health Benefits Of Monkey Kola
Based on its high nutritional composition, here are the potential health benefits of monkey kola:
1. Ensures healthy bones
This fantastic fruit contains potassium and calcium, strengthening bones and reducing the risk of fractures. Foods rich in potassium may neutralize acid load and reduce calcium loss from the bone, which has a beneficial effect on bone mineral density. Thus, eating monkey kola can improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis.
2. Antioxidant properties
Monkey Kola contains flavonoids and vitamin C, two groups of antioxidants that are imperative to human health. Recent research was done to investigate the chemical composition and antioxidant activity of monkey kola. The results showed that the fruit contained tannins, flavonoids, terpenoids, phenols, coumarins, and anthocyanins, which accounted for its antioxidant properties. Therefore, it might be useful for preventing cancer.
3. Fortifies the immune system
To help strengthen your immune system, you need to take in foods that can strengthen your immunity. The flavonoids and vitamin C present in monkey kola can help to boost your immune system and prevent diseases.
4. Good for the heart
One of the most abundant nutrients in monkey kola is potassium. Potassium plays a vital role in the heart. In fact, it is crucial for every heartbeat. It helps keep your heart beating at the right pace by helping to control the electrical signals of the myocardium, the middle layer of your heart muscle. Furthermore, adequate potassium intake may help prevent the hardening of the arteries, which might lead to serious heart-related conditions.
5. Improves eye health
The body needs sufficient Vitamin A to help enhance the eyes’ health. The body converts the beta-carotene present in monkey kola to Vitamin A. The eye then uses this essential nutrient for proper functioning. Vitamin A and beta-carotene support eye health by keeping the surface of the eye (the cornea) moist and healthy. It also helps you see better in low-light conditions.
6. Maintains a healthy skin
The beta-carotene contained in the fruit is an antioxidant, and vitamin C helps repair and maintain the damaged skin. It also prevents the skin from wrinkles caused by aging, thereby leaving an attractive glow on the skin.
7. Ensures adequate metabolism
This African fruit also contains manganese, riboflavin, and zinc, which aid in ensuring adequate metabolism as well as other bodily functions.
Can pregnant women take monkey kola?
Yes, the presence of riboflavin, folate, Vitamin C, and potassium makes it a good food for pregnant women.
Does monkey kola have any side effects?
No, however, excessive intake of it could result in a deficiency of the body’s micronutrients. It should always be consumed in moderation.
Monkey kola contains numerous minerals and vitamins that could benefit the body. One significant advantage of this fruit is that you don’t need to go far looking for it. Additionally, you can plant it in your garden and nurture it to maturity.
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