10 Superb Health Benefits of Pigeon Peas (Fio Fio)

Health Benefits Of Pigeon Peas

Pigeon peas are one of the most common legume crops which grows in the tropical and subtropical regions around the world and are commonly consumed in South Asia, South East Asia, Latin America and Africa. In Nigeria, pigeon peas are called fio fio in Igbo, waken-masar in Hausa and otinli in Yoruba. The meal made from pigeon peas is also called fio fio, which is prepared with Achicha Ede. It is popular in the South Eastern part of Nigeria. This article will provide you with the nutritional value and health benefits of pigeon peas (fio fio).

The pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan) are perennial legumes from the family Fabaceae. They are small and oval-shaped legumes. 

Like other legume crops, pigeon peas have a lot of health benefits to the human body. Continue reading to find out the health benefits of pigeon peas in this article. 

Health Benefits of Fio fio
Fio Fio — a popular Nigerian meal prepared with pigeon peas. 

Nutritional Value Of Pigeon Peas

Pigeon peas are highly nutritious, and contain many of the essential nutrients that the body needs.

100 grams of raw pigeon pea contains about 23.88 grams of carbohydrates; 3 grams of sugars; 5.1 grams of dietary fiber; 1.64 grams of fat, and 7.2 grams of protein.

Vitamins Quantity(DV%)
Thiamine (B1)
0.4 mg (35%)
Riboflavin (B2)
0.17 mg (14%)
Niacin (B3)
2.2 mg (15%)
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.68 mg (14%)
Vitamin B6
0.068 mg (5%)
Folate (B9)
173 μg (43%)
45.8 mg (9%)
Vitamin C
39 mg (47%)
Vitamin E
0.39 mg (3%)
Vitamin K
24 μg (23%)
Minerals Quantity (DV%)
42 mg (4%)
1.6 mg (12%)
68 mg (19%)
0.574 mg (27%)
127 mg (18%)
552 mg (12%)
5 mg (0%)
1.04 mg (11%)


From the table, it can be deduced that pigeon peas are high in thiamine, vitamin C, and folate. It is also loaded with phosphorus, magnesium, iron and manganese.

In addition, pigeon peas are have high levels of protein and the essential amino acids methionine, lysine, and tryptophan.

Health Benefits Of Pigeon Peas (Fio Fio)

Health Benefits Of Pigeon Peas

Due to its rich nutritional profile and completeness of various amino acids, there are so many amazing health benefits of pigeon peas (fio fio). Below are some of them.

1. Good for pregnant women

Fio Fio is one of the best foods for pregnant women. The reason is because fio fio is rich in folate, which produces folic acid. 

During pregnancy, folic acid helps form the neural tube in the developing baby. Folic acid is crucial during pregnancy because it helps prevent some major birth defects in a baby, such as an anencephaly and spina bifida. 

Therefore, it is imperative that pregnant mothers eat enough foods that are rich in folic acid, and fio fio is one of them.

2. Improves metabolism

Having a good metabolism means that you are able to provide your body with energy for essential body functions like breathing, exercising, and digestion. It also helps in losing weight fast.

Pigeon peas are particularly good for improving metabolism because they are rich in manganese. Manganese plays a key role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. It is also necessary for optimal brain and nerve function.

3. Prevents diabetes

Diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar.

A 2016 study revealed that the consumption of pigeon peas gives rise to reduced blood glucose levels. This is because they have a low glycemic index; therefore, blood sugar levels rise after eating.

Due to their fiber content, pigeon peas help regulate and reduce blood sugar.

4. Strengthens your immune system

A strong immune system is vital to a healthy life. Eating foods that boost the immune system is one way to fortify your immune system.

Fio Fio is packed with vitamin C and antioxidants that can strengthen your immune system. 

5. Manages blood pressure

Pigeon peas reduce the constriction of blood vessels and lower blood pressure due to the presence of potassium as a vasodilator.

Hence, if you suffer from hypertension, you ought to include pigeon peas in your daily diet to ward off this ailment.

6. Aids in weight loss

Pigeon peas contain low levels of calories, saturated fats, and moderate levels of dietary fiber, which aids weight loss. 

Food that contains fiber digests slowly, which means it stays in the stomach longer. The dietary fiber content contributes towards a better functioning of metabolism and curbs unnecessary weight gain.

Furthermore, the calories in 100 grams of fio fio are 343 cal, which makes it a great food for weight loss.

7. Reduces Inflammation

The organic compounds present in pigeon pea act as the main anti-inflammatory agents and reduce any inflammation in the body.  Also, medical evidences suggest that pigeon pea contains bioactive compounds play a vital role in regulating the gut micribiota hence, which can reduce inflammation. 

A 2012 study showed that pigeon peas contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

8. Boosts energy levels

Pigeon peas contain Vitamin B2 which gives us energy, niacin and riboflavin which promote the metabolism of carbohydrates in the body. It is rich in protein which promotes the body metabolism and helps convert the food into usable energy.

9. Increases lactation

Pigeon peas increase milk production in lactating women. Breast milk is very important for infants as it helps build strong bones and the immune system.

One study found out that pigeon peas where an effective supplement for lactating dairy cows.

10. Prevents anemia

The high level of iron found in pigeon peas promotes the production of red blood cells and prevents anemia.


Pigeon peas are one of the most beneficial legume crops to the human body. As a diabetic patient or someone with high blood pressure, adding pigeon peas to your diet will help in improving your health. The health benefits of pigeon peas prove that is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.



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