Side effects and health benefits of drinking pap (akamu)

Pap is a common Nigerian meal, a cereal pudding-like form that is made from maize, sorghum or millet. Preparation involves fermentation for days (2-3 max), before it is wet milled and sieved. After sieving, it is left to sediment and the pap water filtered. Thereafter, it is ready for consumption. Sweeteners such as sugar, honey, milk, soyabeans are used to enrich taste.

Pap is known as Akamu in Igbo language, Ogi in Yoruba language and Kira Masara in Hausa language. Akamu can be enjoyed by all- infants, toddlers, adolescents, adults, elderly and even the convalescents. It goes well with foods such as Akara (bean cake), Moi-moi (bean pudding), beans porridge, and is mostly served for breakfast and dinner.

Pap (Akamu) is loaded with so many nutrients, and provides enormous health benefits. See them below.

Health Benefits of Drinking Pap (Akamu)

Akamu is a good source of many macro and micronutrients which include magnesium, phosphorus, dietary fiber, potassium, zinc, folic acid, carbohydrates, protein, calcium, tryptophan amongst others.

1. Boosts Energy:

Cereals like corn pap contains a high content of carbohydrates. Intake of carbohydrate rich food gives sufficient amount of energy. Consumption of pap as such helps boost your energy, and if taken for breakfast keeps you energized throughout the day.

2. Reduced Risk of Obesity:

Pap is rich in fiber. High fiber foods reduces your risk of developing obesity, as well as associated conditions like heart diseases and stroke.

Side effects and health benefits of drinking pap (akamu)
The health benefits of drinking pap (akamu) are numerous

3. Promotes Weight Loss:

High fiber foods gives you a feeling of satiety for a longer time. There by, preventing over eating. It’s an ideal meal for pregnant women, as it helps maintain their weight gain at that period.

4. Promotes Weight Gain:

You may wonder how can a meal promote both weight loss and weight gain at the same time. Akamu can effectively handle the both. Although, the calorie content of Akamu isnt too much, it gets increased when you add sugar and milk. Also, excessive consumption of pap can lead to weight gain.

5. Maintains Good Digestive System Health:

Akamu is made from Corn which is a rich source of fiber. High fiber foods helps keep your digestive system healthy. It improves digestive health, prevent digestive issues like constipation and bloating.

5. Lowers your Cholesterol levels:

Akamu is made from corn which contains fiber and magnesium that helps with reducing the level of cholesterol in the blood. High cholesterol levels can trigger diseases that affect your cardiovascular system. Ogi baba is a good meal for people with high cholesterol levels. Pap also reduces your risk of having cardiovascular (heart) diseases.

6. Reduces High Blood Pressure Levels:

Too much salt concentration (sodium + water) in the body is one factor that contributes to an increased blood pressure. Akamu is low in sodium and high in potassium. Potassium helps maintain and reduce high blood pressure level, regulate fluid balance; thus, it helps prevent diseases such as stroke, kidney stones, osteoporosis and oedema. It is a good probiotic for high blood pressure and hypertensive patients.

7. Prevents Cancer:

Akamu contains antioxidants that help fight off free radicals capable of causing cancer. It slows cell damage.

8. Aids Digestion:

Pap or Akamu is usually recommended for children and convalescents. Pap made from corn or millet gives off a smooth texture when made, this makes digestion easy.

9. Increases Breast Milk Flow in Lactating Mothers:

Akamu contains nutrients, including high water content sufficient to provide daily requirements for a mother who just delivered. It is used by breast feeding mothers to ease the flow of breast milk.

10. Good for Ulcer Patients:

Ulcers are open sores which can be painful when you consume spicy or fried foods. Akamu or pap is low in acidity, fat and spiciness; thus, mild on the stomach. It’s a good meal for ulcer patients.

11. Promotes Better Sleep Quality:

Without a doubt, good sleep is important to attain optimal health. Millet or Corn pap contains tryptophan that increases the level of serotonin in the body. Serotonin helps with stress management. Consumption of pap before going to bed at night has shown to produce better sleep.

12. Boost fertility in males and females

Drinking pap and milk is believed by the locals to boist sperm count and makes a man last longer in bed. Akamu regulates flow and boost ovulation in women.

Side Effects of Drinking Pap (Akamu)

Made from corn, sorghum or millet, pap is loaded with lots of nutrients that gives health benefits. However, in as much as it gives health benefits, it can cause side effects, especially when consumed in excessive amounts.

When consumed in excessive amounts, substances such as glyphosate and aresenic can impair the functioning of the thyroid gland. Furthermore, pap or akamu made from millet can take a while to digest due to the presence of fiber in high amounts. It is advisable that those who are intolerant to cereals should stay away from consuming pap or akamu.
It is also important to note that adding too much sugar in your pap can be detrimental to your health, particularly to those with diabetes. To those without diabetes, it can increase your risk of having diabetes.

To ulcer patients, taking pap with fried or spicy foods can cause pain, as they can worsen the ulcer by irritating the open sores, and triggering stomach acid.

Stella-maris Achumba

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