It’s always fun to try out new foods and drinks when travelling; Nigerians are known to be heavy drinkers, party-lovers which makes the locally made drinks very much appreciated. A good number of these Nigerian drinks are found to be refreshing as well as nutritious and also whether caused by the method of production or immoderate consumption comes burdened with adverse effects. You have not truly visited Nigeria if you fail to try out these Nigerian drinks!
Served fresh, unfermented, fermented, vinegary, in a glass or calabash most preferably to get that local flair, Palm wine is a cloudy, whitish beverage with a sweet alcoholic taste and one of the most popular Nigerian drink.
Made from the sap of various palms tree species like Palmyra, date palms and coconut palms, Palm wine when tapped fresh and not fermented is considered a fruit juice which makes it highly nutritious and provides lots of health benefits. Within two hours of fermentation, palm wine has up to 4% alcohol content and has the potential to breed up to 12% depending on the duration of exposure.
Crudely intoxicating, sweet, supposedly harmless, Palm wine is a drink of choice for social and traditional gatherings. Songs and poems have been composed to tell the goodness of this drink. In the rural areas, palm wine often accompanies pepper soup, Ugba, Nkwobi and Isiewu (goat head).
On my way back home
I met the palm wine tapper
He gave me some wine to drink
Sozzled and blotto I got home
And then I forget my sorrow
– David Adeyemo –
Referred to generally as palmy, the Igbos call it Nkwu, Emu by the Yorubas, ukot mmong by the Ibibios. Nothing beats the taste of this fresh and unadulterated drink!
Health Benefits of Palm wine
Other than being a refreshing drink, Palm wine is beneficial in a number of ways especially when consumed fresh and unfermented;
- Palm wine helps to improve eyesight due to its high Vitamin C content.
- The presence of Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) an antioxidant which helps fight against cancer-causing agents called free radicals has been found to give palm wine the ability to fight cancer.
- When taken by Lactating Mothers Palm wine increases breast milk production.
- It helps in maintaining healthier skin, hair and nails owing to its Iron and Vitamin B complex content.
- Reduces risk of Cardiovascular diseases.
Side effects of Palm wine
When consumed in excess or during pregnancy, palm wine has adverse effects
- During pregnancy, excess consumption of Palm wine can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and some abnormalities in babies.
- Over-consumption of Palm wine causes problems like erectile dysfunction in men resulting in infertility.
- Weakens the heart muscle affecting the ability to pump blood.
- Decreases blood clotting factor causing excessive bleeding.
- Causes Liver damage.
- Leads to development of neurological symptoms like muscle weakness and poor cognitive abilities.
Zobo also called ‘Nigerian Red wine’ is made from dried red calyces and sepals of Roselle leaves (Hibiscus sabdariffa), Try it cold and flavoured with ginger plus it is affordable, tasty, refreshing and has lots of health benefits. Made entirely from natural ingredients, its health benefits include normalization of blood pressure level. The bright red colour given to the drink by anthocyanins helps regulate blood pressure. Don’t leave without trying these Nigerian drink!
Because the Roselle leaf is naturally sweet no sweetening is used as an additive and it is made up of nutrients such as water soluble antioxidants, high amount of Vitamin C, antibacterial properties, anti-hypertensive properties etc which aids in preventing and curing diseases like constipation, diabetes, infection, fever, cold, menstrual cramps and loss of appetite, Strengthens blood vessels and improves sex drive.
From slowing down the production of Oestrogen in the body preventing pregnancy to hallucinogenic signs and feeling of lightheadedness, Zobo also reduces the blood pressure. consuming Zobo drink during pregnancy increases the possibility of giving birth to babies with Low birth weight also during breastfeeding lactating mothers should avoid Zobo as it decreases maternal food and fluid intake, delays onset of puberty in the female offspring and increases postnatal weight gain.
Ogogoro also was known as Kaikai is a locally brewed Nigerian drink made from distilled fermented Raphia palm tree juice. With the alcohol content ranging from 30 to 60%, though this drink has been banned from some part of the country as being abused and dangerous for health it is well appreciated by most Nigerians especially in the rural area for being an original local brew. It is found to weaken the immune system, thus making the body susceptible to diseases, known to be a depressant it slows down the function of the brain, heavy intake takes a toll on the liver causing liver inflammations, kidney problems and related problems.
Consumed especially in the Northern part of the Country, known especially for its sweet and spicy nutty flavour Kunu is prepared from Rice, Millet or Sorghum. Lowering the risk of diabetes as well as cancer prevention these and much more are the advantages of Kunu. The fattening or weight loss benefit of Kunu drink has been linked to the amount of sugar added during consumption.
The major ingredient in this drink, ‘ginger’ offers a wide range of benefits especially to pregnant and nursing mothers
- Reduces nausea a common pregnancy symptom
- Solve the problem of indigestion experienced by pregnant women
- Highly recommended for nursing mothers as it helps increase the flow of breast milk.
- Kunu drink also contains sweet potato which is filled with high levels of Vitamin C which aids in increasing Sperm count by neutralizing sperm-busting free radicals.
- Soothes cold and coughs
- Prevents inflammatory diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Reduces the risks associated with diabetes.
You won’t miss this in any Nigerian party or restaurant, Chapman has become a household name, a cocktail drink with a nice blend of fruity flavour this reddish drink is almost as popular as coca-cola and it looks really nice flavoured with any fruit of your choice and served chilled. with a combination of Orange juice, blackcurrant, grenadine syrup and a cucumber or any fruit of choice this drink stands as a major cocktail served in Nigeria. It’s significant benefits range from increased blood circulation and acts as a diuretic. No adverse effects have been recorded.
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