Corn pap, often regarded as akamu, ogi, koko or eko, is a Nigerian fermented cereal pudding made from maize. This superlight food has been around for decades now, and it is eaten by many people in Nigeria.
Traditionally processed ogi, akamu or pap has a sour taste and would make a perfect combo with fried plantain, pancakes, Akara, fried yam, bread, puff puff and beans. Any of these, when combined with Akamu, makes a great breakfast meal. This article discusses the nutritional content of akamu and the health benefits of akamu or pap.
Nutritional Content/ Value of Pap
It has been found that pap is rich in essential properties, including carbohydrate, Vitamins [A, B5, B3, B1, riboflavin, C), folic acid, potassium, chromium, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium. It also contained high contents of amino acids such as tryptophan, phenylalanine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine and valine. The calories in one serving of pap is 152.
Nutritional Benefits of Pap
That being said, here are the health benefits of pap
Regulates Blood Pressure
Pap is an excellent source of potassium and contains zero amount of sodium, making it a perfect food for people with high blood pressure and those who want to maintain healthy blood pressure or avoid developing hypertension. Another advantage of taking potassium-rich foods like pap is that it helps in lessening the effects of sodium in the body while also easing tension in your blood vessel walls, and thus shielding you against myriads of health conditions that could’ve to sprout forth.
Lowers LDL Cholesterol
There are two major cholesterol types in the body, namely Low-Density Lipoprotein [LDL] and High-Density Lipoprotein [HDL]. The former, LDL, is often regarded as ‘bad’ cholesterol due to the fact that having an excess of it in your body might cause plaque to form in your artery walls, and thus making blood circulation a problematic thing. This might further result in undue strain on the heart and might even lead to high blood pressure, stroke, or heart attack.
On the plus side, pap contains a good amount of chromium, zinc, magnesium, and some other potent properties that help in reducing the levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the body.
The chromium in pap is found to be effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels as well as inhibiting the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the body. This same mineral is also linked with improved blood sugar levels, reduced risk of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, lowered depression, elevated energy levels, increased regenerative abilities, to mention but a few.
Again, the zinc and magnesium content of pap are also considered to be great for lowering LDL cholesterols in the body as they contain potent properties useful for this purpose.
That being said, some of the best ways to further increase your ‘good’ HDL cholesterols and lower your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterols include – moderate caloric intake, regular physical activity [exercise], cutting back on smoking, reducing the intake of sugar and trans fats, to mention but a few.
Highly beneficial for nursing mothers
Ever wondered why pap is one of the most recommended foods for nursing mothers?
Pap contains a high amount of water and some other components that promote easy, an adequate flow of breast milk for lactating mothers. It also helps in regaining strength after suffering from one illness or the other, not forgetting that it is again an easy-to-digest food – a friend to the digestive system.
Good source of energy
Pap is an excellent source of carbohydrate, one of the nutrients your body relies heavily on for adequate energy.
Carbohydrate-rich foods like pap do not only help your body with energy but also promotes mental sharpness and accelerate the metabolism of fat for energy.
Easy to digest
Pap is one of the easily digestible foods we have around us. It allows your body to easily get rid of unwanted elements and substances simply by increasing the rate at which you urinate. Another benefit of consuming easily digestible foods is that they place less stress on the digestive system and are ideal for convalescence individuals who are recovering from illness.
In addition to the above, people with digestive conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), irritable bowel disease (IBD), or sensitive stomach will find joy in consuming easily digestible foods like pap since they work very gently on the digestive system and rarely cause issues.
That’s probably why Akamu is an ideal healthy Nigerian breakfast meal.
Boosts the kidney’s health
The kidneys are among the most vital organs of the body, such that any damage around this region can trigger adverse effects in the human system. Uric acid, urea, toxins, waste, and other harmful substances are some of the things that can damage this crucial organ.
However, the great news is that drinking pap is capable of getting rid of these substances as it helps in eliminating unwanted elements in the body through urine. You tend to urinate more when you drink pap.
Promotes healthy pregnancy and lowers the risk of neural tube defects
Folic acid is one of the essential properties pregnant women need for a healthy pregnancy. The deficiency of this acid could result in the birth of underweight infants or might even trigger neural tube defects in newly born babies. On the plus side, pap is rich in folic acid, making it an ideal and beneficial food for expectant mothers. That aside, it will interest you to know that this same pap also promotes breast milk production after childbirth – what a nutritious food!
Akamu is good for babies and toddlers
Pap is one of the healthy Nigerian foods for toddlers. It is a popular weaning meal introduced to babies in Nigeria. Apart from the fact that it is highly economical, easy to prepare and easy to digest, it also very nutritional to the growing child.
Brown pap is the best form of pap for babies. Brown pap is made up of carbohydrate, millet and guinea corn which provides some proteins, vitamins and minerals that are very critical for baby’s growth and overall development.
Akamu and Ulcer
On this blog, we always try to answer questions Nigerians are searching online regarding their health. Many Nigerians are wondering if raw akamu can cure ulcer. The answer there is no scientific evidence to back this up. Consult your doctor if you have an ulcer.