Palm wine is a popular alcoholic beverage gotten from the sap of various palm trees. It is widely consumed in many parts of Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and South America.
In Nigeria, Palm wine is also a common alcoholic drink. The local names for palm wine in Nigeria are, Nkwu Ocha, emu, nkwu, Palmy, Ukọt nsuñ, Mmin efik, or ogogoro. Palm wine is consumed in a variety of different flavours. It can be sweet, unfermented, sour, fermented, or vinegary.
Palm wine has many essential nutrients like ascorbic acid, magnesium potassium, zinc, vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6. Palm wine’s health benefits are based on its numerous nutritional contents. Palm also contains 4% alcohol, yeasts and lactic acid bacteria.
Do you know that this alcoholic beverage can be used in treating malaria and improving your eyesight?
Well, in this article, you will discover the significant health benefits of palm wine as well as the potent properties that make it a very powerful beverage.
8 Health Benefits and Effects of Palm Wine
1. Might help fight cancer
Basically, foods with a significant amount of riboflavin [vitamin B2] have been scientifically-proven several times to be very effective in reducing the risk of cancer by a significant margin. On the plus side, palm wine can help combat cancer as it is rich in great antioxidants which inhibit oxidation processes which could cause damages to vital organs and cells, ulcer, inflammation, and lots more.
2. Maintains Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails
Palm wine is an excellent source of Iron, vitamin B complex, zinc, and magnesium, all of which are very essential for healthy skin hair and nail. These properties ensure adequate growth and functioning of vital skin-related cells in the body, and they also boost wound healing process in human. Additionally, the components that come with palm wine helps in stimulating new body cells and replacing the dead ones to make the skin softer, smoother, and more radiant.
3. Improves Eyesight
Palm wine contains a significant amount of antioxidant Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Vitamin B1 (thiamine) and B12, all of which are essential for excellent eyesight and they also shield the eye from contracting certain eye problems. The Vitamin C in particular aids in building the connective tissues of the body as well as the blood vessels of the eye which prevents certain eye-related conditions, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and the likes. On the other hand, the Vitamin B1 and B12 help in combating vascular related issues, which could cause chronic inflammation around the retina.
Furthermore, some studies argue that regular, moderate intake of palm wine over other alcoholic beverages is one of the basic reasons that accounted for the better eyesight commonly found in people who live in the villages and remote areas.
4. Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
In a bid to explore some of the benefits of palm wine, several research bodies conducted tons of studies, including that of Lingberg and Ezra  and part of their findings is that this alcoholic beverage is capable of reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure. The reason is that palm wine contains a significant amount of potassium, which plays an important role in boosting heart health and lowering hypertension in mammals. However, multiple studies also reveal that excess intake of palm wine can result in serious health conditions, including damaged liver and irregular heartbeats, therefore make sure you take it in moderation!
5. Palm wine and Breastmilk
Many nursing mothers believe that palm wine can help increase breast milk!
Although there is no known scientific study that backs this claim, but palm wine is widely used in certain parts of the world, especially in countries like Nigeria and Cameroon for lactating mothers with low breast milk. This beverage contains certain potent properties which help in boosting the production of breast milk to ensure adequate breastfeeding.
Many healthcare professionals caution nursing mothers against taking palm wine because it can sedate the infant, causing them to sleep more. It can also affect the taste of the breastmilk. Several medical studies show that alcoholic beverages like palm wine decreases milk production and milk letdown.
6. Helps in Building the Body Structure
Protein is one of the crucial nutrients that the body needs to function optimally, and palm wine has a very high content of amino acids, which acts as the building block of the macro-nutrient – Protein. Therefore, taking a moderate amount of palm wine can help build and improve your body cells while storing nutrients that are essential for optimal functioning of different organs of the body. Additionally, this beverage helps in repairing numerous tissues, and it also improves the bone and muscles structure.
7. Helps in Treating Malaria
That seems unbelievable, right? But that’s simply the truth! There are certain countries, especially in Africa that uses palm wine to treat malaria attacks simply by combining the beverage with some other local herbs, and the effect is super amazing. Although no scientific evidence has proved this claim, many people have reported this to be true. However, it is strongly advised that you contact your doctor first.
8. Palm wine and Measles
Measles is a common respiratory disease that is also communicable. It is an airborne disease that is transmitted by the mucus or saliva an infected person or when an affected persons sneeze or coughs out with covering his mouth.
Measles affects both children and adults but is a vaccine-preventable disease. That means that there is a safe and effective vaccine available for preventing measles. However, measles is still a leading cause of child mortality. One common traditional method of treating measles in Nigeria is the use of palm wine. They drink and sometimes pour a little in their bucket of water when having their bath. One study cited that 77.5% of home caregivers used palm wine to prevent and treat measles. However, there is no medical evidence that suggests that palm wine can prevent or treat measles.
Is palm wine good for diabetics?
Palm wine has a low Glycemic Index (GI) of 22±13, so it is good for diabetics. One study on the local Nigerian drinks found out that palm wine is good for people with diabetes. However, it should not taken all the time, and diabetics must not depend on it for nourishment.
Yes, palm wine is very good for the body, and it benefits human health in numerous ways. However, it is quite important to know that excess intake of fermented palm wine is very detrimental to our health.
The reason is that significant amount of alcohol is added to palm wine during the fermentation process, and this is often 3x of the one contained in several other alcoholic drinks – which makes it harder for the liver to detoxify the system.
Therefore, when you drink this beverage excessively, it could lead to serious health problems, including damaged liver, liver failure, hypertension, neurological issues, etc.
Take palm wine moderately and stay safe!