Wine is drunk everywhere in the world but, there are some exceptional wines that are native to a group of people, and Palm Wine is one of such unique “wines”.
Although Palm wine is not only indigenous to West and Central Africa (parts of Asia, South America, Caribbean also drink palm wine), the cultures, traditions and even names differ from place to place. Nigeria is no exception to this.
The Southern parts of Nigeria have the soil types and climatic conditions that support the growth of various palm trees that produce this drink.
Igbo people call it ‘mmanya ocha’ which means white drink, ‘ngwo’, or ‘nkwu’ and Yorubas call it ‘Emu’.
The alcoholic beverage is sapped from a number of palm tree species such as palmyra, oil palms, raffia palms, date palms and coconut palms.
It usually has a sweet taste when it has been freshly tapped and in a matter of hours, turns into alcohol (4%) and when it has stayed for a couple of days, it becomes vinegar.
Palm wine is regarded one of the oldest drinks known to mankind as it has been said to be in existence since 16,000 BC. That is a really, really long time but we are still enjoying the sweetness of this ancient sup!
Nowadays, palm wine is utilized for different cultural activities. For example, depending on which part of Igbo land one comes from, part of the traditional rites especially during marriage introductions and weddings, is the provision of gallons of palm wine.
This practice cuts across a number of Nigerian and African cultures.
Today, we have not only come to enjoy its sweet and sour taste but to also know about its health benefits. The drink contains nutrients such as carbohydrates, vitamin C and B, amino acids, zinc, iron, potassium, and magnesium.
WOW! This is amazing right? Well, with ongoing research you can only imagine what more will be discovered about the beverage. Of course, knowing the nutritional contents is not enough. What more can we know about palm wine. Let me share some of what I have come to discover about the drink and maybe you can let me know more when you find out!
Health Benefits of Palm WineCombats Cancer
Antioxidants prevent free radicals from damaging body cells thus, fighting cancer. Palm wine contains vitamin B2 (riboflavin), an important antioxidant.
Prevents Heart Diseases
Potassium is good for the proper functioning of nerves and muscles by regulating blood pressure. As such, cardiovascular diseases are prevented. However, palm wine should not be taken in excess as high or low levels of potassium in the body can alter normal heart beat rates.
Hair Growth and Skin Care
Rashes and eczema are commonly observed in children and palm wine contains vitamins that tackle such skin irritations. The unadulterated palm wine is applied to the affected areas like an ointment.
The content of vitamin B complex, iron, zinc and magnesium of palm wine is also very good for good skin glow, nails and hair growth.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and their need cannot be overemphasized. In palm wine, there are lots of amino acids needed for the growth, development and functioning of body tissues, muscles and bones.
Vitamins C and B are important for the performance of the eye. Vitamin B1 and B2 tackle problems related to retina and chronic eye inflammation. Vitamin C on the other hand, promotes connective tissue development in the eyes, thus preventing cataracts, etc.
Overall, drinking palm wine should be in moderation to prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, organ failure and hypertension.
The alcoholic content of fermented palm wine is over two times that of the average alcoholic drink. Besides, as we all know, too much of everything is bad right?
Hence, if you must indulge in sure pleasure, then ensure it is for the right reasons; nutritional content and of course, health benefits.