The Kola nut is large, about the size of a chestnut. It has a bitter taste to start, but it gets sweeter as you chew. Kola nut offers a lot of health benefits, similar to coffee, but taking it as a supplement can have some side effects because it acts as a stimulant. Keep reading this article to learn more, and to see if it’s right for you.
What is Kola Nut?
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Kola nut is the star-shaped fruit of the kola tree, native to the rainforests of Africa. In Nigeria, the kola nut is a cultural symbol of ethnic groups, often given at weddings or funerals where it is broken as a sign of welcome.
Uses of Kola Nut
In African countries, kola nut is usually chewed during rituals or ceremonies or to sweeten the breath, but in other countries it is used to flavour sodas. It can also be used as a performance enhancer and it often found in extract or powder form.
To obtain the extract, the nut is either boiled or ground to a powder.
Health Benefits of Kola Nut
Here are some of the most staggering health benefits of kola nut:
- It boosts the metabolism. Kola nut contains caffeine, which can boost the metabolism.
- It helps the digestive system. The extract and powder of kola nut can help with digestion and promote the production of gastric acid in the body. Gastric acid increases the effectiveness of the digestive enzymes in the stomach.
- It maintains blood circulation. The theobromine and caffeine content of the kola nut can increase blood circulation. Because of this, it also promotes a healthy heart.
- It boosts energy levels. Kola nut stimulates the central nervous system of the body, and it can increase alertness by boosting energy levels.
- It is antibacterial. According to studies, the extract of kola nut can stop the growth of harmful bacteria.
Kola Nut’s Effect on Health Conditions
According to studies, kola nut contains compounds that can decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer. For example, its phytoestrogen content can kill cancer cells, and it has the ability to stop the growth of tumors. People with a slow metabolism will find a lot of perks to consuming kola nut, and those who get migraines can benefit from its pain relief properties.
Although we can’t recommend kola nut for treating respiratory conditions, it can help with asthma. Its caffeine content acts as a bronchodilator, opening up airway to make breathing easier.
Risks of Kola Nut
Kola nut, or products which contain it, may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those who are allergic to nuts. It can give them hives, upset their stomach or make breathing difficult. Additionally, patients with medical conditions such as heart disease or high blood pressure should stay away from the nut, because it can stimulate their condition. Finally, people who have trouble sleeping shouldn’t eat it, because its caffeine content will keep you awake.
Side Effects of Kola Nut
The side effects of kola nut may vary from person to person, but they can include:
Increased blood pressure. The active ingredients of the kola nut are stimulating and can raise our blood pressure. Patients with high blood pressure should ask their doctor before they eat kola nuts or products that contain them.
Insomnia. Consume kola nut can trouble our sleep. Patients with sleep disorders are advised to avoid the nut.
Additionally, kola nut can affect the central nervous system and make us shake. It can also lead to tremors or anxiousness. Patients with anxiety are particularly prone to this. Kola nut can also cause nausea and upset stomach. If we eat too much, it can increase the production of stomach acids and cause a stomachache.