Nsala Soup is a traditional Nigerian soup that originates from the Igbo ethnic group. It is also known as white Soup. It is a flavorful and aromatic soup mostly prepared for special events, celebrations, and gatherings. Nsala Soup is commonly made with fresh catfish or other types of fish, yam, crayfish, pepper, utazi leaves (which is the main ingredient), and some other seasonings, which must include Ogiri or Iru.
Palm oil and yam powder may also be used to make the soup thicker. Nsala Soup is commonly known as OFE NSALA in the Igbo tribe. In this article, we discuss the nutritional value and health benefits of Nsala Soup.
Nutritional content of Nsala Soup
Let’s discuss the components that make this dish not only delicious but also packed with important nutrients:
- Utazi Leaves: Utazi leaves are a vital component of Nsala Soup. These leaves are not only known for their unique, slightly bitter taste but also for their nutritional value. They are rich in essential amino acids and contain beneficial flavonoids such as saponins and tannins.
- Yam: Yam serves as a substantial carbohydrate source in Nsala Soup. It provides dietary fiber and potassium, contributing to a balanced and wholesome meal.
- Catfish: The star protein source in Nsala Soup is catfish. This fish variety not only adds a delicious smoky flavor to the soup but also offers essential nutrients like vitamin B12, protein, selenium, phosphorus, and sodium.
- Pepper: Nsala Soup carries a spicy kick thanks to the inclusion of pepper. This spice introduces Vitamin C and Capsaicin into the mix, enhancing the flavor and adding a nutritional dimension to the indigenous dish.
Health Benefits Of Nsala Soup You Must Know
Nsala Soup, also known as Ofe Nsala, is more than just a flavorful Nigerian delicacy; it’s a treasure trove of nutritional goodness. Let’s explore the remarkable health benefits that make this soup a wholesome addition to your diet:
Good Source of Important Nutrients
Nsala soup is a nutrient-rich marvel, brimming with essential elements. It boasts a generous supply of vital nutrients, including vitamin C, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, phosphorus, carbohydrates, fiber, potassium, vitamin B12, and essential amino acids.
May Help Fight Cold
When those pesky cold symptoms strike, a warm bowl of chicken Nsala soup can come to the rescue. Its spicy warmth helps clear nasal congestion, while the vitamin E, C, and bioflavonoids strengthen your immune system, aiding your battle against the common cold.
Aiding in Childbirth
While claims about Nsala soup’s ability to induce uterine contractions post-childbirth are yet to be medically proven, some studies suggest that certain medicinal plants in Nigeria may assist in this aspect. Additionally, the soup aids in the removal of stagnant blood from the wombs of new mothers.
Very Good for Breastfeeding Moms
Nsala soup shines as a nutritional ally for breastfeeding mothers. Research from 2020 indicates that consuming Gongronema latifolium aqueous leaf extract (scientifically known as utazi leaves) during lactation can enhance metabolic homeostasis in babies. This implies that enjoying Nsala soup with utazi while breastfeeding may shield your child from future blood glucose elevation and dyslipidemia.
May Support Heart Health
Nsala soup contributes to improved blood circulation and fortifies the heart against potential diseases. Capsaicin, a component of the soup, aids in safer heart protection by lowering triglyceride, cholesterol, and platelet aggregation levels. Excessive levels of these elements can trigger heart diseases, blood vessel issues, and strokes.
May Work As an immunity booster
Strengthening the body’s immune capabilities, Nsala soup is packed with antioxidants that fortify your defense against illnesses.
Supports Blood Sugar Regulation
Nsala soup is a wise choice for individuals seeking to manage their blood sugar levels, including those with diabetes. Several studies have highlighted the antidiabetic properties of utazi leaves, a key ingredient in the soup.
May Support Weight Management
If you’re on a Nigerian weight loss journey, Nsala soup can be your ally. It’s generally low in calories, making it a suitable addition to your diet plan. Plus, its rich fiber content can help keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Can a pregnant woman eat Nsala soup?
Pregnant women often have concerns about consuming Ofe Nsala due to the presence of ingredients like uziza and utazi. However, it is important to note that there is no need to worry. According to many sources, Ofe Nsala soup is considered safe during pregnancy. There is no scientific research that indicates any harm to pregnant women or their unborn babies from consuming this delicacy. So, Ofe Nsala soup is not associated with miscarriage or negative effects on pregnancy. Pregnant women can savor the flavors of this white soup without fear of side effects.
Nsala soup, also known as white soup, is a flavorful and nutritious delicacy that offers various health benefits. This traditional Nigerian soup is rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, making it a valuable addition to a balanced diet. Some of the key benefits of Nsala soup include its nutritional richness, potential immune-boosting properties, support for breastfeeding mothers, and its role in heart health. Additionally, it may aid in regulating blood sugar levels and can be a part of a weight management diet.