An African proverb states that “The kola nut stays longer in the mouths of those who value it”. In Nigeria, kola nut is an essential cultural symbol, it is usually served to guests at parties. Most ceremonies are usually opened with the serving of kola nuts, at times it could be represented symbolically with money.
Kola nut comes from the evergreen kola tree, which is mainly found in the rain forests of Africa. Inside the tree’s star-shaped fruits are white shells, which contain the seeds or kola nuts. It has a bitter taste that becomes sweeter with prolonged chewing.
Beside kola nut being used in ceremonies, it has been used as a flavorant. It has many amazing health benefits when taken in the right quantity.
1. It helps to increase energy levels:
kola nut is known as a natural stimulant. It naturally stimulates the central nervous system, which may increase alertness and boost energy levels. kola nut is also used as an additive in energy drinks and performance enhancers.
2. It boost body metabolism:
Kola nut contains caffeine which can help the body metabolism a boost. It is beneficial to people who have slow metabolic rate. It can increase maximum metabolic rate in the body up to 118%.
Conditions that usually affect a person’s metabolism include low testosterone, Graves’ disease, and Cushing syndrome.
3. It helps to improve digestion:
Kola nut powder and extract may help digestion. This is because they can promote the production of gastric acid, which increases digestive enzyme effectiveness in the stomach. It can be used for gastrointestinal issues and constipation.
4. It helps to relieve migraine:
The high content of caffeine and theobromine in the kola nut helps to speed up the heart rate thereby increasing circulation. Also, kola nut can be helpful for relieving migraine headaches; this is because migraines often affect the blood vessels in the head and caffeine has been used for headache pain. The theobromine and caffeine contained in the kola nut can also help to dilate or widen blood vessels in the brain, which might decrease migraine pain.
5. It has antibacterial benefits:
Research has shown that the use of kola nut extract might stop the growth of harmful bacteria. There are several health conditions that might be improved by consumption of the kola nut.
6. It helps to boost immunity
Kola nuts anti-oxidant property wipes out free-radicals from the body producing an effective immune response against foreign particles. It provides stronger resistance by keeping the body away from harmful toxins. It reduces the body’s tendency to be infected and provides potent immune response it is consumed regularly.
7. It is used for treatment of Respiratory Disorders:
The use of kola nut for the treatment of respiratory disorders is possible because of the high caffeine content of kola nut. Caffeine is a potent bronchodilator and has the capability in opening up constricted bronchial tubes and helps expansion in them. This is essential in curing ailments like asthma and whooping cough.
Kola nut should be consumed with care. The caffeine in kola nut can cause insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach irritation, nausea and vomiting, increased heart rate and respiration, and other side effects.