Uniqueness of Ugba [African oil bean seed]

Ugba is a South Eastern word that is very common in Nigeria

It is known as African oil bean seed.

This South-Eastern Nigerian seed cannot be said to be complete without undergoing extensive fermentation before it is considered edible.

A  study published not too long in Pakistan Journal of Nutrition revealed the following:

It is therefore pertinent to note that Ugba has both preventive and curative ability,

  • Especially in Nigeria, the seeds are usually shredded and they must ferment to an extent before they can be used as edible delicacies
  • The fermented ugba deteriorates rapidly and can spoil within two weeks of production. The potassium content is said to be the most abundant mineral  embedded in the food.
  • The high calcium (Ca/P) ratio indicates that ugba is a good food source.
  • African oil bean seed is rich in protein and this could be used as alternative source of protein in any diet.
  • It can also be used as protein supplement especially in any developing country. Nigeria is a good example.
  • The mineral content of ugba shows it is  rich in iron and this valued at 140.97 mg/100 g. Infact, reports say its richness in iron has a higher inhibition than what is reported for palm kernel oil.
  • This study also revealed that ugba has a high available energy.
  • This seed equally has a high fat content.
  • These oils can serve as alternative sources of ointment for maintenance of the skin and management of wounds in addition to the usual palm kernel oil.

Nutritional value and health benefits of Ugba

  • African oil bean seeds contain up to 44 percent protein, with all twenty essential amino acids.
  • The seeds also contain essential fatty acids within the seed oil.
  • They are full of much minerals, particularly magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, phosphorus and calcium, and trace amounts of vitamins.
  • In the midst of the fermentation, the process usually decreases the bean’s levels of vitamin and minerals to the point where no phosphorus is found in them.
  • African oil bean seed contains saponins, or phytochemicals. These are found in most vegetables, beans and herbs, and they have been linked to lower cholesterol levels, although the fermentation process may reduce these levels.

Well, this postulation is according to John Ifeanyi Chidozie, MDcv, MFR, who works with the University of Nigeria.

He reportedly presented a paper at the UICC World Cancer Congress in 2006 and asserted that patients who regularly consumed fermented oil bean seeds had a reduced risk of cancer and tobacco-related diseases.

In a similar vein, a research by P.A. Akah and colleagues in Nigeria, published in June 1999 in Phytotherapy Research, discovered that oil bean seed extracts were effective as antimicrobials and antispasmodics, as well as useful for treating diarrhea.

African researchers have equally observed that the fermented seed known as Ugba in Eastern part of Nigeria could be used to prevent and cure heart failure.

The list is endless – they all include the following heart diseases or cardiopathy and all variety of diseases affecting the heart such as Coronary heart disease, cardiomyopathy, cardiovascular disease, Ischemic heart disease, Heart failure, Hypertensive heart disease, Inflammatory heart disease,Valvular heart disease  – 

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