If you are a Nigerian, and you have not come across owo soup, then you definitely haven’t traveled around the country. Owo soup is a tasty delicacy that is eaten and associated mainly with the South-South region of Nigeria, particularly the Itsekiri, Isoko, Urhobo, Ijaw peoples of Delta state and Bini people of Edo state.
Only someone who have visited those parts of Nigeria would have come across owo or owho soup. I was privileged to eat owo soup in Warri, Delta state and I enjoyed it. Many people there love this soup, and they are right to do so.
Being a Nigerian soup, it has to be eaten with a swallow. So, owo soup is usually eaten with starch, yam, eba or fufu.
In this interesting article, you will learn more about owo soup, and since we care about your health, you will also find out the health benefits of owo soup.
How to prepare owo soup
- The ingredients used to prepare owo soup include:
Assorted meat stock and fish. You can choose to use:
Beef, Cow Skin (kpomo), Snails, Dry fish, Stockfish and fresh fish.
- Palm oil
- 2 spoons powdered edible potash also known as akanwu, Kaun.
- 3 tablespoons ground crayfish
- Hot and spicy pepper
- Eba, Fufu or Starch.
Steps on how to prepare owo soup:
- Boil your meat stock, or fish
- Mix two spoons of potash with a little amount of water and keep it aside.
- Pour the palm oil in a small container.
- Pour the potash water gently into the palm oil while stirring it at the same time until the palm oil turns yellowish orange and becomes thick.
- Make sure you cook the meats and stockfish with the seasoning.
- You can choose to use a garri here, mix it with water from the meat and fish stock to make it soft. (Some people also use powdered starch here instead of garri)
- After some minutes, add the palm oil and potash mixture to the meat stock that you are boiling.
- Take small lumps of the soft garri dough into the pot and continue cooking.
- Keep checking to make sure the lumps of garri have dissolved, and the soup is not foaming.
- Keep stirring till there are no lumps.
- Serve hot with eba, fufu, yam or starch.
Health Benefits of Owo Soup
The health benefits of owo soup are based on the ingredients used to prepare it. As you can see, the primary ingredients used in owo soup are potash and palm oil. Hence, the nutritional content of owo soup is dependent on the condiments used to prepare it. It is very rich in potassium since it is prepared with potash. The ingredients all include Fish, which contains omega-3 acids, chili peppers, which contains loads of Vitamin C and antioxidants.
1. It is beneficial to the nervous system
Potash is a combination of potassium carbonate and potassium salt. Thus it is very rich in potassium. Owo soup is also rich in potassium since potash is a major ingredient.
Getting enough potassium in your diet can help you maintain healthy nerve function.
2. Good for the heart
Potassium in potash is a vital mineral in the body. Potassium is crucial for a healthy heart because the movement of the mineral in and out of cells helps maintain a regular heartbeat.
A diet rich in potassium may reduce blood pressure by helping the body remove excess sodium from the body.
3. It prevents osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition that is associated with weak, hollow and porous bones.
Osteoporosis is caused by low levels of calcium, an important mineral that helps in maintaining strong bones.
However, medical studies have shown that a potassium-rich food may help prevent osteoporosis by reducing the amount of calcium that leaves the body through urine.
4. Reduces water retention
Water retention occurs when excessive fluid builds up in the body.
Potassium has been used to treat water retention for many years. Even medical researchers have suggested that a high potassium intake can help reduce water retention by increasing urine production and decreasing sodium levels in the body.
Is owo soup good for weight loss?
Owo soup contains a huge amount of calories. In fact, a plate of soup serving of Owo soup contains 400-450 calories, and it is eaten with starch, yam, eba or fufu.
Hence, owo soup is not the best food for weight loss and can be extremely fattening.
I am not saying that you can’t eat owo soup if you want to lose weight, but eating very little would be better.
Owo soup and pregnancy
As you already know, owo soup is high in potash. There have been a lot of speculations about potash and pregnancy. The truth is that too much intake of potash is not good for pregnant women.
Mrs. Iyabode Alabi, a dietician and former Head of Department of Dietetics, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State stated that Potash could cause health problems, especially in pregnancy.
Some reports even suggest that potash can induce abortion in early pregnancies because of its ability to increase uterine contractility.
This is not to say that owo soup is bad for pregnancy, I have seen pregnant women eat it. However, potash isn’t good for pregnant women. Therefore, a diet that is high in potash should be strongly limited during pregnancy.
Owo soup is a delicious Nigerian meal, and it has some health benefits. However, it should be eaten in moderation and consumed in a healthy way.
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