Nigeria is home to many traditional delicacies that are tasty and easy to make. Some of these soups have even crossed the Nigerian borders and found their way into international stores.
Ogbono soup, Okra soup, Nkwobi, Ewedu soup, Efo Riro, and Banga Soup are some of the popular Nigerian soups with remarkable health benefits.
Are you new to any of these Nigerian soups or just looking to learn about their health benefits? You’re sure on the right page as this post contains vital information for you.
So for your needs, here are six traditional Nigerian soups and their health benefits.
1. Ogbono Soup
This is a popular Igbo soup prepared from Ogbono seeds, also known as Irvingia gabonensis or African mango. The delicacy is known for its thick and slippery nature.
For Ogbono soup preparation, the seed is ground and then cooked together with assorted meats, stockfish, crayfish, palm oil, and other traditional spices.
Health Benefits of Ogbono Soup
The Ogbono seed alone contains 8.65% protein, making it an excellent source of plant-based protein. Other ingredients in delicacy such as meat, fish, and stockfish are also good sources of animal-based protein.
Proteins are essential nutrients needed for building up cells and muscle. It also helps in replacing existing cells and tissues.
Other ingredients in Ogbono soup also contain nutrients such as fiber, carbohydrates, and fats.
Fiber, for example, helps keep the digestive system healthy while carbs supply the energy required by the body. Besides, the body needs fat to make important hormones and make use of other essential nutrients.
Incorporating Ogbono soup into your diet is a great way to enjoy all the above benefits.
2. Okra Soup
Okra (or Okro) soup is another well-known soup served in Nigerian homes. The soup is popular among the Yoruba speaking communities in the country (though many other tribes consume enough of it).
The Okra vegetable is cooked in a delicious mixture of palm oil, meat, fish, seasoning cube, Cameroon pepper, and salt to taste.
Just like Ogbono, the soup has a thick and slippery nature.
Okra soup pairs well with different swallows such as Eba, Iyan (pounded yam), and Amala (yam flour).
Health Impacts of Okra Soup
Okra contains a ton of nutrients such as Vitamin C that supports the immune system and Vitamin K1, which help with blood clotting.
The vegetable alone features beneficial antioxidants such as polyphenols that prevent the adverse effect of harmful molecules called free radicals.
Meat, stockfish, crayfish found in the soup are also an excellent source of macronutrients, protein, fats, and carbohydrates, which are all essential for healthy living.
Note that some individuals on diabetes medications might have to watch their Okra intake.
However, those without okra allergies can enjoy the health and nutritional benefits of the vegetable, meat, fish, and other ingredients of the soup.
Nkwobi is a famous Nigerian soup, and particularly an Igbo delicacy served in exclusive restaurants, bars, and food joints. The core ingredient, cow foot, is fused in other ingredients such as palm oil, and pepper. When served, the dish is garnished with onion and Utazi leaves.
The delicacy pairs well with Nigerian palm wine. Nkwobi can also be eaten alongside your favorite chilled beverages.
Nutritional Value of Nkwobi
The cow foot, which is the major ingredient, is an excellent source of animal-based protein.
Compared to their plant-based counterpart, animal proteins are found by studies to contain essential amino acids that are lacking in plant-based protein. This makes animal proteins to be desirable for muscle building and other body functions.
Plant-based proteins are also needed by humans. The Utazi leaves used as toppings on the delicacy is an excellent source of plant-based protein.
Therefore, incorporating Nkwobi into your diet allows you to enjoy all the health benefits the delicacy offers.
4. Ewedu Soup
Ewedu (or jute leaves) is a green leafy vegetable. This soup is often combined with pepper stew (not pepper soup) or egusi soup to serve swallow food. The swallow could be Iyan (pounded yam), Fufu, Amala (yam flour), Semo, or Eba.
Although served in different parts of Nigeria, this stew is popular among the Yoruba ethnic group.
Health Benefits of Ewedu Soup
Due to its low-calorie content, Ewedu is desirable for those looking to burn fat. It is also rich in essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants that are all vital to healthy living.
For example, the antioxidants found in the Ewedu vegetables help ease the impact of harmful sun rays.
Also, when Ewedu leaves are squeezed with the stem, the folic acid content can help with blood shortages experienced by pregnant women. Besides, though not medically backed, some people hold the view that the leaves help with labor–enhances easy delivery.
The comfort that the soup adds to the eating of ‘swallow food’ is also a plus. The slimy nature of Ewedu makes the vegetable soup to effortlessly slide down together with any swallow it pairs with.
With its nutritious value, Ewedu sauce can be served with morning, afternoon, or evening dishes. The health benefits value also makes it one stew to add to your diet.
5. Efo Riro
The ingredients that make up Efo riro are but not limited to vegetables, palm oil, pepper, fish, onions, and locust beans. These, however, are the commonly used ingredients.
Besides, defrosted frozen spinach is often added, but some might prefer to use scent leave (Efinrin) or waterleaf (Gure) instead.
This delicacy goes well with many foods, including rice, beans, and any swallow of your choice.
Nutritious Benefits of Efo Riro
The various nutritional ingredients such as pepper, dried or smoked fish, and assorted meats used make the delicious vegetable soup a healthy delicacy.
If you use spinach leaves, for example, the Vitamin-K nutrient in the leaves helps with blood clotting, bone metabolism, and calcium level in the body.
Also, the vegetable has low calorie and fat content, which makes it an invaluable soup for individuals who want to burn fat. The fiber content also helps keep the digestive system healthy.
Ingredients of Efo riro can be found easily. Therefore, the vegetable soup can be quickly prepared and served.
For these health and nutritional benefits, you might want to try out Ewedu soup.
6. Banga Soup
Banga soup ends our list of traditional Nigerian soups. The stew is indigenous to the Delta/Urhobo, though other tribes in the country have their own versions.
The stew is prepared from extracts of palm (Banga) seeds cooked with fresh catfish, assorted meats, and traditional spices.
The core ingredients are usually the same, while the choice of spice might vary from region to region.
Healthy Benefits of Banga Soup
The positive health impacts of Banga soup are limited but can be enhanced with the addition of meat and traditional flavors.
The palm kernel juice used in preparing the soup is very rich in Vitamin K and magnesium.
Vitamin K, earlier mentioned, helps with bone growth and resorption, otherwise known as bone metabolism. As for magnesium, it can help lower blood pressure, fight against type 2 diabetes, and reduce insulin resistance.
Note: Keep in mind that this list does not discredit other Nigerian soups that are famous and packed with vital nutrients—such as Oha soup, Afang soup, etc. However, based on our selection parameters, we have only decided to go with the above listed. This article is, however, subject to continuous update, and we do include other soups as we research further.
So, whether you are in Nigeria or abroad, the above soups are worth trying out. Not only does each of the above Nigerian soups offer tons of health benefits, but the delicacies also make an appetizing meal.
Is any of these soups your favorite? We do love to know your thoughts.