Nigeria is located in the tropical zone and hence a lot of amazing fruits grow there. Today it’ll fun to find out the Top Nigerian local fruits and their health benefits.
I will be giving a brief description of each fruit, highlighting their nutritional value and some of their health benefits. This list is in no particular order. Stay tuned.
1. African pear
Ube or Atili is commonly known as African Pear. It is scientifically known as botanically known as Dascroides Edulis. African pear is a very delicious fruit and it can be eaten raw or roasted with salt.
The Health Benefits of African pear are based on its nutritional value. It contains 48 percent oil, vitamin D, ascorbic acid, calcium, folic acid and magnesium.
Health benefits are :
• It contains a lot of antioxidants due the presence of rich vitamin C content.
• African pear has a lot of calcium, which means that it taking it often can notably reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
• It presence of folic acid makes it great for pregnant women. Because it helps them avoid infant deformity such as spina bifida.
• The fleshy back of the fruits can be used to treat skin disease like body rash.
2. Black velvet tamarind
Black velvet tamarind is locally known as, ‘Icheku’ in Nigeria. The fruits are very small, about a centimetre in diameter, The fruits have a black velvet shell. It is normally eaten by cracking the shell to reveal an orange pulp, that is sucked or chewed. They can be taken as snacks or soaked in water to produce a kind of drink
The nutritional contents of black velvet tamarind are beta-carotene (Vitamin A), tartaric acid, sodium, potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamin C.
The health benefits of black velvet tamarind are:
• Generally, it is a healthy fruit, due to its numerous nutritional content it has manifold functions in the body like regulating cell function or red blood cell production.
• It equally has antioxidant properties ( tartaric acid) that prevent free radicals from harming our body.
• They also have a lot of dietary fiber that reduce the LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body.
• It is also used medicinally as a laxative.
Also known as graviola, Soursop is a fruit with green, spiny skin. It has a whitish inside which is eaten. It is extremely delicious and has a considerable amount of sourness. This fruit is packed with coolness and is wonderfully refreshing when taken in dry season.
The Health Benefits of sour sop are:
• It is used herbally to reduce, stomach pain and cramps.
• It can also be used to treat respiratory system problems like cough.
• It contains many phytochemicals that slow down the growth of cancer cells.
4. Garden egg
Garden eggs locally known as Anara to the Igbos and Igba to the Yorubas. This fruit has a spongy, seedy flesh that is crunchy and slightly bitter. It is eaten with a peanut paste (Ose Orji), then it gets very delicious. Garden egg is scientifically called Solanum Melongena,
The nutritional contents of garden eggs are, dietary fiber, manganese, potassium and magnesium. It is also very rich in vitamin B.
The health benefits of garden eggs are:
• It is excellent for people that want to lose weight, because of it’s poor calorie count.
• It is very good during hot weather, it can hydrate you immeasurably.
• Garden eggs are so good for the nervous system and heart.
• They help in lowering blood sugar level.
5. Pepper fruit
Pepperfruit, is locally known as Mmimi and Ata Igberi Igbos and Yorubas respectively. It is spicy fruit. The fruits are small in size. When unripe versions they are green in color, but when ripe, they are red with sweet soft, juicy flesh. It can be eaten as a snack or even used as a condiment.
The Health benefits of pepper fruits are :
• Because of its spicy pungent aroma, it is used to treat nasal congestion and cold.
• It is used to prevent glaucoma, because it reduces intra ocular pressure.
• It is given to pregnant women, because it helps in uterine contraction.
6. African star apple
African star apple is known as Agbalumo to the Yorubas and udala to the Igbos, This is a very popular African fruit. It has an orange skin, a deep orange pulp and brown strong seeds. This fruit is delightfully sweet. This fruit is commonly seen around December to March.
The nutritional value of African star apple are : Dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin C and Iron.
The Health Benefits of African Star apple are;
• It is very powerful in the treatment of diarrhea and fever.
• It is also great for weight loss because it just contains 65 calories and is poor in fat content.
7. Almond fruit
To almost evvery Nigerian, this fruit is simply known as fruit. It is a very common fruit that grows many times a year. It is green when unripe and yellow when ripe.
The nutritional value of the almond fruit are: protein, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
The health benefits of almond fruits are:
• They reduce heart attack risk notably.
• They help alkalize the body because of high amount of calcium and potassium.
• They provide healthy fats and aid weight loss.
By Collins Nwokolo