Nsala soup, also called White Soup is undoubtedly very popular with Igbo people. Often referred to as Ofe Nsala by the Igbo folks, it usually has a combo of local spices, meat, pounded yam, vegetables, and fish; which is added together and transformed into a very delicious dish. Nsala soup is a common staple food that goes well with eba, fufu, starch, pounded yam, wheat, semo, rice, agidi and even boiled yam. Nsala soup is sometimes prepared with small pieces of yam, utazi leaves, and flavored with ogiri or iru. Today, you will find out the health benefits of nsala soup. But first, what is the nutritional value of nsala soup.
Nutrients in Nsala Soup
The most common ingredients used in the preparation of nsala soup are utazi leaves, yam, catfish, and pepper. Utazi leaves are rich in essential amino acids, and contains flavonoids, such as saponins and tannin. Yams are rich in carbohydrates, dietary fiber and potassium. While catfish is rich in vitamin B12, protein, and nutrients such as selenium, phosphorus, and sodium. Nsala soup is a pretty spicy one. And thus, Vitamin C and Capsaicin are some of the macro nutrients present in the indigenous soup.
As you can see, a plate of nsala soup is packed with a variety of nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
Health Benefits Of Nsala Soup
As stated in the introductory parts of the article, Ofe Nsala has several benefits that are associated with it, and some of them are briefly highlighted below:
1. Rich In Nutrients
Nsala soup is very rich in nutritional elements, and has a high content of vitamin C, protein, omega-3 fatty acid, selenium, phosphorus, carbohydrates, fiber, potassium, vitamin B12 and essential amino acids.
2. Fights Cold
Chicken nsala soup can help fight cold symptoms. This hot spicy soup is great for clearing your nasal congestion when you down with cold. However, it is also rich in vitamin E, C and bioflavonoids, which boosts your immune system, and helps you fight cold.
3. May Help With Childbirth
Nsala soup is said to contract the uterus, after a woman has given birth, however this has not been medically proven. Nonetheless, a study has suggested that some medicinal plants in Nigeria can help with uterine contractions. It also facilitates the removal of stale blood from the womb of a new mother.
4. Good For Breastfeeding Mothers
Nsala soup may be good for childbirth, but it is definitely great for breastfeeding moms. A 2020 study found out that consumption of Gongronema latifolium aqueous leaf extract during lactation may improve metabolic homeostasis in babies. Note that Gongronema latifolium is the scientific name of utazi leaves. This simply means that taking nsala soup with utazi when breastfeeding can protect your child against elevation of blood glucose level, and dyslipidemia later in life.
5. Good For The Heart
It improves the flow of blood and enhances protection of the heart against disease infections. The presence of Capsaicin paves way for more safer protection of the heart by lowering amount of triglycerides, cholesterol and platelets aggregation. The excess of these three can trigger stroke, blood vessels and heart diseases.
6. Boosts the Immune System
Nsala soup strengthens the immune abilities of the body system and helps to keep diseases at bay. It is loaded with antioxidants which contributes to a healthy immune system.
7. Good For Regulating Blood Sugar Levels
Nsala soup can be consumed by people who want to control their blood sugar levels, or diabetic patients. Several studies have attested to the antidiabetic properties of utazi leaves.
8. Can Help With Weight Management
Nsala soup is a great soup you can add to your Nigerian weight loss diet. The soup is generally low in calories, but it can vary depending on the ingredients and swallow used in eating it. The calories in nsala might range from 400 to 550 calories. Nonetheless, it is rich in fiber, and can fill you up.
Some questions has been raised in the past about the possibility of pregnant women to eat Nsala soup. Can a pregnant woman eat Nsala soup? Yes! They have nothing to be scared of. Infact, one of the benefits attached to the intake of Nsala soup makes it a perfect treat for women with pregnancy.
More so, there is no study or body of knowledge that have proven Nsala soup to be unsafe for pregnant women. There is no possibility of miscarriage or whatsoever associated with it.
On a final note, it would be recommended that you take the soup from time to time to enjoy some of the health benefits of Nsala soup.