Is Okpa a healthy food? Are you a fan of easy-to-pack nutrient-filled Nigerian dishes? While most are often of the opinion that Moi-moi is the only dish that fulfills this criteria, I would like to let you know that it’s not entirely the truth.
Allow me to introduce you to an alternative nutrient filled easy-to-pack dish which is okpa. Popular in the Eastern part of Nigeria, the Okpa dish is a very nutritious Nigerian food.
The main ingredient used in making this dish is the Bambara nuts or Bambara beans. This dish is popularly known by its “Okpa” name in Eastern Nigeria by the igbos.
In the Western parts, it is known as “Epa-roro” by the Yorubas, and in the Northern parts, it is known as “Gurjiya or kwaruru” by the Hausas.
What is Okpa?
Bambara beans pudding popularly as Okpa is a native dish of the igbos. It is found easily in Eastern states mostly in Enugu, and Onitsha as a street food as it can be gotten easily by road travellers passing through these regions or any other Igbo region.
The ingredients used in its preparation are : Bambara beans or Bambara beans flour, seasoning cubes, Crayfish, palm oil, and salt.
The yellow or orange colour of the okpa is from the palm oil added to it. Much like Moi-moi, Okpa is packaged in a variety of ways, some people use banana leaves or heat proof nylons.
Okpa can be eaten as a snack and taken with soft drinks or can be included as part of your breakfast and be paired with pap or custard.
Is Okpa a healthy food?
Okpa is one of Nigeria’s healthiest staple foods containing unprocessed protein, carbohydrates and fat.
One serving of okpa contains about 216 kilocalories in energy value. It also leaves its consumer with a satisfying feeling after consumption.
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Nutrition facts for okpa
In order to establish the nutritional makeup and glycemic index of the regional Bambara nut pudding, a study was conducted in 2019. The study discovered that Okpa was a very high protein food.
It also demonstrated that okpa included important nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, such as lysine, carbohydrates, fat, manganese, tryptophan, phosphorus, potassium and valine; fiber; iron; magnesium; calcium; fluoride; zinc; selenium; sodium; copper; and a plethora of other elements. Okpa has a 54 glycemic index, which is excellent for diabetic individuals.
Here’s what you stand to gain from consuming Okpa
1. Aids in preventing malnutrition
It reduces the risks of health issues caused by malnutrition like kwashiorkor, and rickets, which are brought on by inadequate and bad dietingand are triggered by it because of its high amount of all the vital nutrients required in meals.
2. Keeps bone disorders at bay
Calcium, a mineral found in Bambara nuts and pudding (Okpa), helps the body fend against disorders of the bones such osteoporosis and arthritis.
Additionally, it contains lysine, a mineral that aids in the proper absorption of calcium in the body and is typically found in proteins and beans.
Blood level is increased, and anemia is prevented. When the amount of healthy red blood cells in human blood is insufficient, anemia results.
It typically arises from a deficiency of red blood cells or from red blood cells that aren’t functioning properly in the body, which may further lessen the oxygen supply to different bodily organs.
More importantly, Okpa is a fantastic source of iron and other essential nutrients that raise blood levels in the body.
These nutrients will help your body create healthy red blood cells and encourage an appropriate supply of oxygen to every cell in your body.
The Bambara nut pudding popularly known as Okpa is an Igbo favourite snack but then it’s not just consumed by the Easterners as it is fast becoming a national favourite being that it is much like the Moi-moi dish in it’s easy to pack manner.
Okpa is highly nutritional, being a great source of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. A research conducted in 2019 also backs our claims that Okpa is indeed a nutritional meal and it is also great for people with diabetes.
If ever you go on a road trip or pass through the Eastern region by road travel, make sure to try out the okpa.
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