Bambara Groundnut is scientifically known as Vigna Subterranea, shares pea family (Fabaceae), which is also named as bean family, legume or pulse family.
This type of food crop, also known as Bambara nuts is mostly cultivated in West Africa.
In Nigeria, its seeds are highly nutritious and can be considered as complete food as it used in the production of various food delicacies and beverages.
Okpa is the native name given to Bambara groundnut or Bambara beans pudding in Igbo language, Epa-roro (in Yoruba) or kwaruru / Gurjiya (in Hausa).
Remarkably, Bambara nut is also a staple food in other African countries. In Zimbabwe, for instance, it is called Nyimo beans; Zambians call it Ntoyo Cibemba while the South Africans refer to it as Izindlubu.
Bambara groundnuts are highly utilized. The nuts can be roasted or processed into flour for making Bambara milk or juice.
Bambara groundnut flour is used in cooking particularly in the making of Okpa which can be eaten along with Pap (Akamu or ogi), soaked garri flakes, drinks, etc.
Okpa is a very common widely enjoyed delicacy across Nigeria.
The Bambara groundnut is eaten for the reason that it gives strength and tastes great but it comes with other great health benefits which make it a must-have for everybody.
Nutritional Value of Bambara Groundnut
100 grams Bambara groundnuts can provide around 395 calories from which about 260 calories from carbohydrates, 54 calories from fat and 80 calories from protein content.
Bambara nuts nutrients comprise of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber content, vitamins, minerals such as manganese, magnesium, zinc, selenium, calcium, potassium, fluoride, phosphorus, sodium, iron, copper, etc.
Also, just like milk, Bambara nuts too are regarded as complete food.
Health benefits of Bambara Groundnut include;
It helps in the prevention of malnutrition and other health problems such as kwashiorkor, rickets, etc., because it has essential nutrients.
- Offers Protection against Anaemia
Bambara groundnut contains iron and other essential nutrients which boost the body’s blood level and aids in reducing the effects of various health conditions such as anemia.
- Prevents Bone Diseases
The minerals such as calcium contained in Bambara nuts protect the body from osteoporosis, arthritis, and other related bone diseases.
- Promotes Healthy Body Regulation/bowel movement, also helps with Irritable bowel syndrome & Diarrhea.
- It is also recommended in the treatment of irregular menstrual cycle, dysmenorrhea, and polymenorrhea.
Other benefits include:
- Supplies the Body with Energy
- Contains amino acid tryptophan which helps with insomnia
- Low bone mineral density
Bambara groundnuts are possibly safe when taken in food amounts.
Since there is no defined therapeutic dosage for them, therefore, you should use it as a healthy food instead of as medicine.