Palm wine is known as a natural drink that has found its way to different African cultures and traditions. This lovely drink has a sweet taste when it is freshly tapped from the source and is now widely used in ceremonies, but that’s not all palm wine is about.
Whether you drink your palm wine when freshly tapped or when sour, it is undeniably refreshing and filled with lots of healthy goodness.
However, most people never get to hear about all the rich nutrients contained in palm wine, and these nutrients provide the human body with so many benefits that’ll leave you looking good and feeling good. Let’s discuss them below :
1. Improves Eye Vision
Amongst the many benefits of drinking palm wine, this one is the most popular benefits that people are aware of, but these people probably do not know what nutrients in palm wine are responsible for this function.
Palmwine contains lots of amazing vitamins such as vitamin B and C, and these two pay some roles in the improvement of vision.
While vitamin C assists in the building of connective tissues in the human body and also the blood vessels present in the eyes (thus preventing eye-related problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts), what Vitamin B1 and B12 does is to help in fixing vascular-related issues that has to do with the retina which could lead to chronic inflammation and more.
Generally, vitamins aid the maintenance of good eye health and reduction of the chances of dealing with eye challenges as much as possible.
Potassium is also an excellent addition that helps in keeping our eye most and healthy as its deficiency can lead to eye twitches even eye muscle spams due to eye dryness that is caused by the lack of or not enough potassium.
These fantastic benefits can’t be derived from any other natural or artificial alcoholic beverage, not even the brands that promise it does, and this just might be the only reason individuals who live in the rural areas, especially the aged ones who do not have access to excellent eye care services, tend to have a better eyesight than most of us who visit eye clinics due to their intake of palm wine.
2. Great for bodybuilding
Protein is an essential nutrient that no person can avoid. While most of us just take in protein because it’s a part of our diet, others consume proteins to build muscles and even stay fit and healthy.
Palm wine contains so much amino acids that have their primary function as a building block of the macro-nutrient.
Thus, proteins help in the building and the improvement of body cells and also helps the body to store nutrients which is essential for the proper functioning of our organs. Other vital roles that are played by proteins include reparation of bodily tissues, as well as the structures of muscles and bones.
3. Improves Hair and Skin
Palm wine is also a fantastic beauty product, depending on how you choose to look at it. Palm wine contains lots of nutrients which can work well in the nourishment of the hair, skin, and even the nails ( both fingers and toes), such as zinc, vitamins, magnesium and many others which plays a vital role in the improvement of these body parts.
Palm wine also helps in the growth of new body cells by getting rid of the dead body cells and replacing them with fresh ones, thereby giving your skin a soft, smooth, and younger appearance.
4. Used to Treat Skin Rashes
Many people use prickly heat powder to treat rashes, and some over the counter ointment for other skin conditions, but palm wine is wonderful at treating a wide range of skin infections.
When next you drink palm wine, keep some aside for the treatment of skin conditions like rashes, eczema, or even ringworm.
Un-adultered palm wine contains anti-inflammatory properties that soothe skin conditions and eventually relieve such skin problems.
5. Increases Breast Milk
Lactation should happen naturally when a woman has a baby. Though there is no scientific evidence to prove that consuming palm wine can aid lactation or increase the production of milk by the mammary glands, people in Nigerian rural area have sworn by it.
Local midwives prescribe this drink for nursing mothers who have low prolactin. However, the absence of a scientific backing doesn’t dismiss the possibility of this assumption being correct.
Most diseases have natural cures in herbs and other natural remedies, so there is a chance that in the nearest future, palm wine may be confirmed treatment for low prolactin.
Palm wine has been used for a long time as the main drink for most lactating mothers some west African African countries like Nigeria, Cameroon, and Ghana. These are the countries where palm trees are mostly cultivated, and palm wine can be easily gotten.
Some people believe that pregnant women use palm wine, not necessarily it actually works for breast milk production, but because it looks like breast milk when it’s still fresh.
But since it has been claimed to help mothers produce more breast milk to feed their babies, what else can we say?
6. Improves Heart Health
The potassium content of palm wine makes it an excellent natural remedy for a wide range of cardiovascular diseases.
While Potassium is not one of the essential minerals people often talk about, it is excellent for the human body and helps it to function a lot better.
Potassium helps the muscles and nerves to function correctly, and it also dramatically helps to normalize the rate of your heartbeat and also helps with lowering or reducing your blood pressure.
For cardiovascular health, make sure to take palm wine in moderation as there can be severe consequences for too much (hyperkalemia) or too low (hypokalemia) levels of potassium in the body.
When there is too much or too little potassium in the body, it leads to irregular heartbeats which is a severe health condition.
7. Fights Cancer
Foods that are rich in antioxidants are famous for their abilities to reduce cancer cells or even reduce the possibility of their development.
The reason why such foods work in this manner is that they prevent oxidation processes in the body which may lead to specific chemical reactions that may cause the damage of vital organs, inflammation, and even ulcer.
As earlier mentioned, Palm wine contains antioxidants, and these antioxidants help with the prevention of free radicals from causing damage to the cells in the body and also to fight cancer. An example of such antioxidant in palm wine is vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin.
Nutritional Values of Palm Wine
It may not be a shocker to point out that palm wine contains bacteria, sugars, and yeast (which is why it is used as a riding agent, and also causes fermentation), but it is a surprise that such a natural drink contains nutrients like protein, vitamin C, carbohydrates, Amino acids, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin Bs.
But the good part is that there are no allergic reactions linked to drinking palm wine.
Where can Palm Wine be found!
Palm wine is a very famous traditional alcoholic drink in the western part of Africa due to the favorable climate that encourages the extensive cultivation of palm trees.
In West and Central African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, the Caribbeans, and Asia, and in some areas of South America, this drink is much appreciated.
In Nigeria, fresh palm wine can mainly be found in tropical regions like the Southeast, South-west, and South-south. This is also primarily because of their favorable climate and weather condition that encourages the growth of palm trees in such areas.
Kinds of Palm Wine
Most individuals may not be aware that palm wine comes in a range of tastes and flavors, especially due to difference in geographical areas which can be linked to different factors like soil type, climate condition, and tree.
Primarily, the Nigerian palm wine is derived from the Raffia palm and oil palm tree by people called palm wine tappers, but there may be other palm sources in various Africa countries and other places where this amazing drink is found.
Types of palm wine and their local names
1. Palm wine from the oil palm tree
this variation of palm wine is called “nkwu enu” in eastern Nigeria by the Igbos, and by the Yorubas “ in Western Nigeria, it, is called “emu.”
2. Palm wine from the tree stem
another kind of palm wine called “iti” by the people of Anambra state in Nigeria is a very tasty but rare variant of this local drink.
The making of this one involves the tapping of the palm wine from the stem of oil palm trees. This process is also known as Stem tapping.
3. Raffia palm wine
The raffia palm wine is obviously tapped from the raffia palm tree and is called “Ngwo” by the Igbos, “Ukot” by the Efik people and “Ogoro” by the Yorubas.
4. Palm wine from fallen trees
Another type of palm wine is tapped from cut down palm trees and this type is known as “down-wine.” is a very common variant in places like Ghana and in some parts of Cross River state such as the Boki LGA.
However, this wine has been abolished by the government as it is not eco-friendly and discourages forestation.
In different countries of the world, this tasty natural drink is known by different names such as “Ukwu or Ngwo” in Igbo (Nigeria),” “Mbu” in Cameroon, “Doka” in Ghana, “Panam culloo” in China, “Lambanog” in the Philippines, “Emu” in Yoruba (Nigeria) and lots more.
Although Palm wine comes with numerous health benefits, and we have lots of reasons to indulge in a seemingly harmless glass of this drink every day, some cautious steps should be taken if you don’t want to experience side effects.
Palmwine is either taken fresh or fermented, and the fermented version is more intoxicating than the fresh one.
Thus, excess consumption of the fermented type of this wine can result in hypertension, neurological problems and can also cause the failure of some vital organs in the body such as the kidneys and liver.
The alcohol content in a single glass of fermented palm wine is around 2 to 3 times more than you can find in any other alcoholic drink. This high volume gives the liver so much workload while it tries to detoxify the system.
Many local gins (popularly known as ogogoro) can be made from palm wine too. However, it depends on the duration of the palm wine fermentation process.
But even these local gins have some adverse reactions to the body when they are taken in excess.
The bottom line
Palm wine is more than a popularly lived drink in west African countries and cultures.
This refreshing drink is rich in essential minerals and vitamins that aid to provide the human body with the needed nutrients that prevent a wide range of deficiencies and also improves the growth of hair, skin repair, improve vision, fights cancer, and promotes heart health.
Have you ever drank palm wine, let us know how you love yours in the comment section below. For me, there’s no better way to enjoy a hot summer afternoon than with a plate of Bushmeat and fresh palm wine.