Nutritional Value, Health Benefits and Side Effects of Okpa (Bambara beans)

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This article will talk about what okpa is made of, okpa calories, Is okpa good for diabetics, what okpa is called in English, Is okpa good for weight gain or weight loss, Okpa beans in pregnancy, Is okpa protein or carbohydrates, okpa calories.

Okpa, as it is popularly called by the Igbos, is a popular delicacy for the Easterners in Nigeria. It is a local name that means ‘Bambara beans’, or ‘Bambara beans or nut pudding’ in English. The western tribe of Nigeria refers to Okpa as ‘Epa Roro’, while the Northerners refer to it as ‘Kwaruru or Gurjiya’. Okpa is made from Bambara beans flour, which is obtained from grounding Bambara beans/nut.

Nutritional Value, Health Benefits and Side Effects of Okpa (Bambara beans
Okpa usually looks like moi moi but they are different

Preparation of Okpa isn’t quite tasking as its ingredients are easily affordable and requires simple method of preparation. Bambara beans flour, palm oil, seasoning cubes, salt, maggi, onions, ground crayfish, and warm water are all that is needed to make this food.

Okpa can be served with pap, tea (hibiscus or green), and yoghurt. In some cases, people eat okpa with coca-cola or beverages.

Nutritional Value of Okpa

It will interest you to know that Okpa contains the following nutrients:

👉Calcium: Calcium in Okpa helps build and maintain strong bones, and muscles in the body.

👉Fiber: Okpa is a very good source of fiber, and thus consumption of okpa improves digestive health, reduces the risk of stroke, diabetes, and improve skin tone. Also, it helps with weight loss and prevention of colon cancer.

👉Iron: Okpa is a very good source of Iron and helps with red blood cells (RBC) formation. This red blood cells help with the supply of oxygen in the body; and therefore, keeps you away from being tired and out of breath.

👉Potassium: Potassium in Okpa prevents deficiencies, signs and symptoms such as weakness and fatigue, mood changes, muscle cramps and aches, breathing problems, and digestive issues.

👉Methionine: Majority of health benefits of Okpa comes from this nutrient, as it helps with molecules production (such as Glutathione) and protein buildup in the body.

👉Zinc: This nutrient is a co-factor for over 300 enzymes in the body. These enzymes help with processes like metabolism, nerve function, digestion, and more. Zinc in okpa helps with the functioning of immune cells as well as its development.

Other nutrients found in Okpa includes: Phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, selenium, vitamin C, copper, fatty acids, ascorbic acid, niacin, palmitoleic acid, riboflavin, vitamin A, and thiamine.

Health Benefits of Okpa

👉Okpa helps prevent malnutrition: Okpa contains a lot of nutrients that can help prevent malnutrition and other related problems. Deficiencies such as kwashiorkor, anaemia can be prevented when okpa is included in your dietary intake.
👉Okpa helps prevent Cancer: Okpa contains antioxidants that helps reduce the risk of having cancer. It also protects the body from harmful food chemicals.
👉Improves Bone Health: Calcium mineral in Okpa helps build and maintain the bones; thereby, preventing you from bone diseases such as Arthritis, and Osteoporosis.
👉Gives strength to carry on with daily activities: Just a wrap of Okpa can do the trick. You get to ease off exhaustion, fatigue and tiredness when you consume okpa.
👉Boosts immune system: One of the amino acids that can be found in Okpa is valine. Valine helps regulate the immune system, as well as the body’s nitrogen content. Also, it helps manage stress, and repairs muscle tissues.

Other Health Benefits of Okpa include:

Okpa helps to:

👉Cure stomach Ulcers
👉Aid Digestion
👉Regulate menstrual flow (heavy flow and delayed cycles inclusive).
👉Suppress hunger sensation
👉Treat malignancies and inflammatory disorders
👉Delay rise in blood sugar
👉Reduce the prevalence of obesity and diabetes mellitus due to reduced eating

Side Effects of Okpa

👉Constipation: This is the commonest side effects reported after eating Okpa. Constipation could lead to discomfort and inconvenience in individuals. For some, they could develop like anal tears.

👉Allergy: Food allergy can be referred to as an adverse reaction caused by consuming a certain food. If you’re one who is allergic to Bambara beans, it is advisable you do not eat okpa; as symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, tongue swelling may occur minutes after exposure to the food. However, symptoms differ in individuals; it could be mild in some and severe in others.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Okpa

How Many Calories are there in Okpa?

The preparation method used in making okpa usually determines the amount of calories in it. The use of excess oil when making okpa could count the weight loss benefits that comes with it insignificant. To maintain weight, the quantity of oil used in preparation should be minimized. However, 100 grams of Bambara groundnuts is equivalent to 395 calories; its content includes 60 calories from carbohydrates, 80 calories from protein and 54 calories from fat.

Is Eating Okpa Beans During Pregnancy Safe?

It is safe to consume Okpa during pregnancy. Okpa contains a lot of nutrients that could affect both the mother and foetus positively. Protein in Okpa helps pregnant women in cells and tissues development like the breast and breast milk formation.

What is the Effect of Okpa on Diabetes?

It is important you know that diabetes can’t be cured, however, it can be managed. Adjusting dietary lifestyle is one of the ways to manage diabetes. Okpa has a low glycemic index which helps reduce blood glucose levels. So, okpa is good for diabetics

Is okpa Good for Weight Loss?

Yes, Okpa helps with losing weight. Once you eat okpa and drink lots of water, you get satisfied and filled. This makes you eat less and causes weight loss.

Can Okpa Cause Weight Gain?

You also should know that consuming okpa prepared by people who add junk materials like corn flour, coloring etc to okpa increases only the calories in the body, and not the nutritional value. Consuming such prepared okpa leads to more weight gain. Though healthy, regular consumption of okpa can lead to accumulation of more calories. Therefore, it is advisable you eat okpa by balancing it with another diet or reduce consumption by spacing out your intake.

Is Okpa Protein or Carbohydrates?

As discussed above, Okpa is a rich source of both carbohydrate and protein. However, the calories content of okpa is more in carbohydrate than in protein. This however, doesn’t mean it is only an energy giving food. It is proteinous in nature as well.


Okpa is a rich source of protein and carbohydrates, and other nutrients in significant amounts. Moderate consumptions and balancing it with other diets makes it very nutritious and healthy.

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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