Nigeria is home to a wide variety of healthy and nutritious local foods. These foods are not only delicious but also provide numerous health benefits. In this article, we will explore twenty of the healthiest local foods in Nigeria.
Akara is a popular snack and breakfast option that is enjoyed all over Nigeria. It is made from beans (cowpea) that has been ground into a paste and then fried in hot oil. Akara can be enjoyed alone or paired with bread, pap, or anything else.
Since it is made from beans, akara is very rich in protein and carbohydrates. It is also made with a lot of spices that enhance the taste and also supply the body with more nutrients.
2. Achicha Ede
Achicha ede, or cocoyam pottage, is a healthy food mainly eaten by eastern Nigerians.
It is a delicious meal mainly prepared from dried cocoyam flakes. Other ingredients used in preparing achicha ede include red palm oil, leafy green vegetables, ukpaka (ugba), akidi, onions, pepper, and pigeon pea (fio fio).
The Igbos consume this special delicacy both as an everyday meal and on special occasions. Achicha ede is incredibly healthy and can strengthen the immune system.
3. Egusi Soup
Egusi soup is a traditional Nigerian soup made from melon seeds. It is a rich source of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins such as vitamins B1, B2, and E. Egusi soup is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help boost the immune system.
4. Miyan Kuka
The soup is usually made with a variety of protein sources, such as beef, chicken, or goat, and it is seasoned with a blend of spices such as chili pepper, garlic, and onions.
Miyan kuka is a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins, and it is often served with a staple grain such as rice or millet.
5. Moin Moin
Moin Moin is a Nigerian steamed bean pudding made from black-eyed peas. It is high in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, and zinc. Moin Moin is a popular breakfast food in Nigeria and is believed to promote weight loss and lower cholesterol levels.
6. Brown Rice
Brown rice is a healthier alternative to white rice as it contains more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is also a good source of complex carbohydrates, which provide sustained energy and help regulate blood sugar levels. Brown rice is commonly eaten in Nigeria as a side dish or in stews and soups.
Agidi or Eko is a popular Nigerian food made with cornflour. Agidi or Eko is called cornmeal or corn starch in English. It is quite tangy and can be eaten with almost every soup, from Pepper Soup, Efo Riro, to Egusi, to Okro. It can also be eaten with moin moin.
It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, riboflavin, thiamine, and pantothenic acid. Agidi is a rich source of folic acid, which is important for pregnant women as it ensures the efficient use of protein and prevents the risks of birth defects.
8. Ewedu Soup
Ewedu soup is a traditional Nigerian soup made from jute leaves (ewedu leaves). It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as iron, calcium, and potassium. Ewedu soup is believed to help lower blood pressure and improve digestion.
Plantains are a staple food in Nigeria and are high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. They are also a good source of complex carbohydrates, which provide sustained energy. Plantains can be boiled, fried (dodo), or baked and are commonly eaten as a side dish or snack.
Another very popular local food in Nigeria is garri. Garri is a product obtained from processed cassava. It is used to make eba, a staple in most parts of Nigeria, as well as other dishes. Garri can also be eaten alone after being soaked in cold water.
It is a rich source of carbohydrates, and it is very satisfying.
Akamu, also known as pap or ogi, is a fermented cereal pudding that is popular in Nigeria and other West African countries. It is typically made from maize, sorghum, or millet, and is known for its slightly sour taste.
This healthy Nigerian breakfast food is an excellent source of carbohydrates, which provide energy to the body. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium, which are essential for maintaining good health.
There are a lot of highly nutritious local drinks in Nigeria. Zobo drink is one of them. It is a popular beverage in Nigeria made from the hibiscus plant.
Zobo drink is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system and fight off infections. It also contains minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are essential for healthy bones and muscles.
Amala is a Nigerian food made from yam flour or plantain flour. It is high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and essential nutrients such as vitamin C and potassium. Amala is a popular food in Nigeria and is commonly eaten with soups and stews.
Acha, also known as “hungry rice” or simply “fonio,” is a nutritious grain that has been grown in West Africa for over 5,000 years. It is cultivated in mostly Northern Nigeria and is considered an underutilized crop.
It is a small, gluten-free grain that is rich in dietary fiber, B-vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. Acha is also rich in dietary fiber, which helps to promote healthy digestion and reduce the risk of constipation.
Kilishi is a type of beef jerky that is popular in Northern Nigeria. It is made by marinating thin strips of beef in a blend of spices and then drying them in the sun or oven until they are crispy. Kilishi is a healthy local food in Nigeria due to its high protein content and low-fat content.
Fufu, also known as Akpu, is one of the most popular Nigerian foods. It is made from cassava tubers or sometimes from plantain flour (plantain fufu).
This thick and starchy food is traditionally served with a variety of soups, including bitterleaf, groundnut, egusi, ora, and vegetable soup.
Fufu is a great source of energy, fiber, and potassium. It is also low in cholesterol.
17. Bitter Leaf Soup
Bitter leaf soup is a traditional Nigerian soup made from bitter-leaf vegetables also called onugbu. It is high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as iron, calcium, and potassium. Bitter leaf soup is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help lower blood sugar levels.
Abacha is a food made using shredded cassava. Although originating from the Eastern part of the country, today, it is enjoyed everywhere. Also called African Salad, Abacha has a very nice colorful presentation combining different vegetables and spices, and even protein options.
19. Fura da nono
Fura da nono is a traditional dairy product originating from Northern Nigeria. Its name means “millet and milk,” which are the two primary ingredients.
The millet, also known as fura, is sold in ball form, while the nono is made from fermented milk, giving it a thick consistency. To prepare fura da nono, the millet is mashed into the milk, mixed thoroughly, and consumed like a cereal.
This nutritious food is believed to aid digestion and promote weight loss.
20. Efo riro
This is a type of vegetable soup that is widely consumed among the Yoruba people of western Nigeria. The vegetables most commonly used to prepare the soup are Celosia argentea, also known as soko yòkòtò (Yoruba) or farar áláyyafó (Hausa), and Amaranthus hybridus, also known as ẹ̀fọ́ tẹ̀tẹ̀ (Yoruba).
What makes Efo riro one of the healthy local foods in Nigeria is its rich presence of vitamins and minerals, as well as its ability to boost the immune system.
Nigeria is home to a wide variety of healthy and nutritious local foods. Incorporating these foods into your diet can provide numerous health benefits, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improved digestion, and weight loss. So why not try some of these delicious Nigerian foods today?