Nutritional And Health Benefits Of Ogbono Soup That You Didn’t Know

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The health benefits of ogbono includes raising the levels of high-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol, promoting weight loss and reducing inflammation. Ogbono seeds are also nutritious because they are rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. They are also good sources of antioxidants, including polyphenols, carotenoids and flavonols.

READ ALSO: 10 Health Benefits Of Okro Soup That You Never Knew

What is ogbono?

Ogbono, botanically known as Irvingia gabonensis, and African mango, bush mango, or dika nut in English, is a multipurpose fruit native to West and Central Africa. 

Ogbono fruits are available from May to September, with peak harvesting in June and July. The fruit is oval-shaped and broad, with a thin skin, fleshy pulp when ripe and a hard, stony nut encasing a soft, oil-rich kernel wrapped inside a brown seed coat. 

The kernel, commonly referred to as a seed, is widely eaten and is what we call ogbono or dika nut. These kernels are an essential part of West and Central African diets, providing carbohydrates, fat and protein. They can be eaten raw, roasted, or ground and cooked with meat, vegetables, and spices. 

Nutritional Value of Ogbono Seeds

On average, 100g of ogbono contains 704kcal, 7.9g protein, 66.9g fat, 16.4g carbohydrate, 2.2g fibre.

Ogbono is an energy-dense seed, providing 595–729 kcal per 100g portion. It primarily comprises fat (71%), with moderate amounts of protein (~22%) and minimal carbohydrates (~3%).

The fats in ogbono are primarily saturated fatty acids (~97%), and the remainder is a combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.  

Ogbono seeds are sources of many essential minerals, including calcium (164mg per 100g), phosphorus (202mg per 100g), iron (3.4mg per 100g), copper, and zinc. They are also sources of antioxidants, including flavonoids, carotenoids, and polyphenols. 

Health Benefits of Ogbono Seeds

Scientific evidence for the health benefits of ogbono seeds is limited. However, studies in mice show that ogbono may raise the levels of high-density lipoprotein ‘good’ cholesterol. It may also promote weight loss in overweight and obese adults and reduce inflammation.

A 2005 randomised controlled study in Cameroon investigated the effects of ogbono seeds in 40 adults with obesity (Ngondi et al., 2005). A total of 28 received 1.05g of ogbono seeds three times daily for one month while 12 received a placebo. All participants ate enough calories to maintain their weight.

However, after 30 days, people taking ogbono seeds significantly reduced their weight by 5.26% while those taking the placebo reduced their weight by 1.32%. Notably, the individuals in the ogbono group also significantly reduced total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Participants in the placebo group did not experience any of these changes.

Is Ogbono Good for Diabetes?

Ogbono lowers blood glucose levels in rats with diabetes. And although it increases insulin sensitivity, lowers blood glucose, waist circumference and triglycerides in patients with metabolic syndrome, there is currently insufficient evidence for its benefits in humans with diabetes.

Is Ogbono Soup useful for Fattening?

Ogbono is not fattening even though it contains a lot of saturated fat. Fat gain occurs from eating more calories than you burn and not from eating a particular food. Ogbono can be part of a healthy diet if you cook it with small or moderate amounts of palm oil, lean meats or fish, and plenty of green leafy vegetables and eat a moderate portion.

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Emilio Lejit

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