Health benefits and Side Effects of stock fish (Okporoko)

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Health Benefits and Side Effects of Stock fish

Stock fish, locally known as “Okporoko” and internationally as “Cod fish” is a type of dried fish used in the preparation of Nigerian meals, soups and stews. Side dishes such as ukazi, ugba, nkwobi and ngwongwo are usually prepared along with okporoko. However, this is typical among the Igbo tribe. Asides the aroma it gives off in food, there are a lot of health benefits that can be derived from it.

This, I will be discussing in this article.

But before I proceed any further, firstly, let’s get to know the nutritional value of stock fish. Stock fish contains nutrients such as:

👉Protein: Stock fish is low in calories and fat but very rich in protein. Protein helps in the structure and proper functioning of cells, tissues and organs in the body.
Vitamins: Stock fish contains vitamins such as Vitamin E, A, B6, B12 and Niacin. These nutrients help improve the digestive system by keeping the gut healthy and preventing digestive issues like constipation. More so, vitamins in stock fish helps prevent colon cancer.

Health benefits and Side Effects of stock fish (Okporoko)
Okporoko stock fish

👉Phosphorus: This helps in bone development, kidney and heart functioning.

👉Omega 3 fatty acids: Stock fish is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids that helps improve the brain functioning; thereby boosting memory and concentration. Omega 3 fatty acids also helps in the proper functioning of other systems like endocrine and cardiovascular systems.

👉Other nutrients in Stock fish include Iron, Calcium, Potassium and Selenium.

Now, to the health benefits and nutritional value of stock fish, Stock fish helps:

1. Prevent Growth of Cancer: As stated above, Vitamins in stock fish helps in preventing cancers like breast and colon cancer.

2. Improve Brain Functioning: Stock fish contains anti-inflammatory properties that help improve the functioning of the brain, memory and concentration.

3. Reduces Weight: To those seeking to lose weight, rather than trying other desperate means that yields no result. Stock fish can help serve as an option for weight management as it is low in calories and helps in weight maintenance. Eating stock fish in meals makes you easily filled and satisfied, and helps contain your intake of calories.

Note: Do not fry or smoke your stock fish as doing so could increase your chances of having stomach cancer. Stock fish is better eaten cooked.

4. Regulates Cholesterol Levels: Cholesterol (LDL Cholesterol) is known for increasing the risk of heart diseases. However, nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids and protein in stock fish helps regulate the level of cholesterol in the body; thereby, maintaining HDL Cholesterol and lowering the risk of heart diseases such as stroke and heart attacks.

5. Boost the immune system: With nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 in stock fish, consumption of this fish would help in not only boosting your immune system, but also help in metabolism.

6. Develop the muscles and nervous system: Consumption of stock fish in meals will help develop the muscular and nervous system. This is due to availability of potassium in stock fish.

Presence of Selenium helps in thyroid functioning and DNA production: It also helps improve the reproductive and immune system.

Side Effects of stock fish / Okporoko/Cod fish

As we know, everything that has advantages, do have disadvantages, and stock fish isn’t left out of this. In as much as stock fish is highly nutritional and healthy, it should be consumed moderately. Okporoko, as it is commonly called in markets contains mercury, all fish do and though in low amounts compared to other fish, could be toxic and cause side effects if consumed in high amounts. Side effects such as behavioural and neurological disorders can be associated with excessive consumption of mercury, and could cause a lot of problems in children.

Health benefits and Side Effects of stock fish (Okporoko)
Okporoko pictures

More so, excessive consumption of stock fish is unsafe for pregnant women, as it could affect the developing foetus in the womb. It has been recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that pregnant women could consume at least 8-12 ounces of fish low in mercury. Stock fish contains low amounts of mercury, and thus termed safe for consumption by pregnant women.


The construction of this article has enlightened me on the importance of stock fish. Never knew it was this beneficial. Now, I see why a relative of mine is so fond of eating stock fish in meals. I hope you got enlightened too.

Lets hear from you in the comment section.


Stella-maris Achumba is an aspiring Public Health Practitioner. Amongst her God given talents, she is great at writing and storytelling. She has the book “Journey to Self” to her credit. She is as well competent in Copywriting, Digital marketing and Graphics design.

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