Seeds are often thought of as something that has just one purpose; being put into the ground to grow another plant. But seeds are meant for more than that. Some seeds can serve as food, not just to animals but to humans as well. Seeds have been eaten by humans for millennia. You might know this, but here in Nigeria, some of the food you eat are seeds of a certain plant.
Like we stated above, some seeds can serve as food. This means that not all seeds are suitable for eating. But some are edible and quite healthy. In today’s article, we would be looking at some healthy edible seeds you can find in Nigeria.
1. Melon Seeds
Melon seeds, popularly called “Egusi”, is gotten from a species of watermelon, commonly known as gourd. The seeds have a yellow brittle shell. The shells are broken and the white inner seed is what is used to cook. Melon or egusi seeds are a popular cooking ingredient for soups here in Nigeria. It is ground to powder form, then water is used to mix it.
Melon seeds are very rich in fats and oil as well as protein. In the north, melon seed oil is often used for cooking. Melon seeds are also rich in fibre, carbohydrates, Thiamine, Niacin, and more.
2. African Bush Mango Seeds
Ogbono seeds are gotten from a fruit locally known as African Bush Mango. It is mostly used to make soup here in Nigeria after it has been ground. But the seeds can also be eaten raw or roasted like it is done in some other parts of Africa. Like melon seeds, ogbono is also rich in oil and produces oil that could be used for cooking. It is loaded with calories and is rich in so many nutrients, including, carbohydrates, protein, calcium, and more.
3. Ataiko Seeds
Aframomum Subsericeum seeds, are commonly known as Ataiko seeds in Nigeria. This seed is more common in the Niger Delta region of the country, where it is often used in the preparation of spices for pepper soup or Banga soup. It has a rich flavour that allows it to enhance both the taste and smell of anything it is mixed with. For it to be used, it is first ground to a fine powder.
4. Fenugreek Seeds
The fenugreek seeds are used in the preparation of herbs because of the nutrients they have, which includes protein, dietary fibre, B vitamins, and more. Fenugreek has so many health benefits, including lowering blood sugar levels, increasing milk production in women, and boosting testosterone levels in men.
5. Ehu Seeds
Ehu seed (scientifically known as Monodora myristica) is a tropical spice of West African origins. It is a popular ingredient in soups among the many cultures in Nigeria. In Nigeria, it is commonly called African Nutmeg or calabash nutmeg, and has a strong aroma. Medical studies have shown that ehu seeds can fight constipation, boost blood production, fight rheumatism, and contains essential oils.
6. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are edible seeds from the pumpkin plant. The plant also produces pumpkin leaves, or ugu leaves. Pumpkin seeds are one of the most healthy edible seeds in Nigeria. It is rich in valuable nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. Pumpkin seeds are packed with antioxidants, high in fiber, and boosts fertility. They are also good for the prostate and bladder.
7. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are usually put on burger buns as a form of decoration but they are very healthy seeds as well. It is rich in carbohydrates, protein, calcium, copper, fibre, and lots more. It produces oil that can be used for cooking. It is often mixed with nuts and baked into snacks like cookies.
8. African Oil Bean
African oil bean, popularly known as Apara in South West or Ugba (Ukpaka) in the South East, is used in cooking a wide range of dishes, including soups and porridge. Where it is used determines what it is used for.
It is rich in nutrients like magnesium, phosphorous, copper, and calcium.
Other Healthy Edible Seeds in Nigeria include:
- Black seeds (Nigella sativa)
- Flax seeds (Linum usitatissimum)
- Coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum seeds)
- Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica).