Nutrition / Diet

What Are The Health Benefits and Effects of Palm Wine?

Palm wine is a native alcoholic beverage that is consumed all throughout Africa on a regular basis. Although most individuals drink alcohol for the intoxicating impact it provides, this beverage also has a number of health benefits.

Palm wine is another popular alcoholic beverage that is consumed regularly in Nigeria. In Nigeria, palm wine is also known as Nkwu Ocha, emu, nkwu, Palmy, Ukt nsu, Mmin efik, or ogogoro.  There are several distinct flavors of palm wine that are popular among consumers. It can be sweet, sour, fermented, or vinegary, depending on whether or not it has been fermented.

Palm wine has a wide variety of important minerals, including ascorbic acid, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and all of the B vitamins (B1, B2, and B3). The numerous nutritious components that palm wine possesses are the source of its beneficial effects on one’s health. Additionally, palm has a 4% alcohol content, in addition to yeasts and lactic acid bacteria.

What Are The Health Benefits and Effects of Palm Wine

How to make palm wine

Palm wine is made from palm tree sap through natural yeast fermentation.

Several members of the Palmae family, including the oil palm, raffia palm, date palm, iron palm, and coconut palm, are used in the production of this wine.

There are two methods for extracting the wine from the palm tree. The first method involves removing the wine from the inflorescence of the palm tree. To accomplish this, one must first climb up the tree, then make an incision in the tree, and last connect a clay pot or plastic container to the cut so that the wine can drain out.

The second technique requires that the tree be uprooted before an incision is made on the trunk of the tree. After that, a tube is connected and affixed to the clay pot or gourd that was previously used. The sap slowly seeps out of the tree.

Because the tappers remove enormous amounts of vegetation in the course of using this second method, it is frequently referred to as a “destructive” method.

It is interesting to note that the fresh sap is high in sucrose, has a sweet taste, and contains a lower percentage of alcohol. However, within twenty-four hours, the amount of sucrose in the sap drops by roughly half due to the action of microorganisms that ferment the sap into wine.

The duration of the fermentation process typically ranges from  48 hours to 72 hours.

Nutritional contents of palm wine

palm wine
palm wine

The nutritional profile of palm wine varies widely from place to place and from palm tree species to palm tree species.

Despite this, research has shown that wine is an excellent source of antioxidants, water, protein, lipids, carbs (sugars), vitamins, minerals, alcohol, and microbes.

According to the findings of one study, 100 grams of wine made from oil palms has the following nutrients: (Elaeis guineensis).

  • Protein (amino acids): 59 mg
  • Fats: 62 mg
  • Ethanol: 3 mg
  • Sugars
    • Maltose: 0.1 milligram (mg)
    • Sucrose: 8 mg

In addition, the existence of vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc were confirmed also.

Finally, palm wine contains a plethora of helpful microorganisms, such as yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and probiotic bacteria (Lactobacillus), which contribute to the fermentation process at various stages.

The health benefits of pam wine

1. Promotes and preserves the health of the skin, hair, and nails

Palm wine is a wonderful source of nutrients such as iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B complex, all of which are highly important for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. These qualities not only speed up the process of wound healing in humans by ensuring appropriate growth and function of key skin-related cells in the body, but they also reduce the risk of infection. In addition, the components that come with palm wine aid to stimulate new body cells and replace dead ones, resulting in skin that is softer, smoother, and more radiant. This is because palm wine helps to replace dead cells.

2. Eye vision

Palm wine is an excellent source of vitamins C and B, both of which are extremely beneficial to the health of the eye. While vitamin C helps in building the connective tissues of the body and the blood vessels of the eye, preventing related eye problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration, etc., vitamins B1 and B12 help in solving vascular related issues that concern the retina, which could result in chronic inflammation and more. Vitamin C helps prevent related eye problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration, etc. Vitamins, in general, contribute to the maintenance of healthy eyes and lessen the likelihood of developing eye issues to the greatest extent feasible.

3. Possible aid against cancer

In general, foods that contain a substantial level of riboflavin (also known as vitamin B2) have been demonstrated via a number of different scientific studies to be quite helpful in lowering the chance of developing cancer by a significant amount. On the bright side, palm wine may be beneficial in the fight against cancer due to the high concentration of powerful antioxidants that it contains. These antioxidants inhibit the oxidation processes that could damage vital organs and cells, as well as cause ulcers, inflammation, and a great deal more.

4. Boosts the production of breast milk

Palm wine has been traditionally used as the primary beverage for nursing women in several African countries, such as Nigeria and Cameroon, amongst others, due to the fact that it is widely farmed and can be obtained with relative ease. It has been shown to aid moms whose breast milk supply is inadequate by boosting the flow of breast milk for sufficient nursing. This was proved at a local level.

5. Helpful in lowering anxiety

Palm wine that has been fermented may have trace amounts of alcohol as well as probiotics, both of which may help reduce anxiety attacks.

Recent research has found that probiotics may help lower anxiety by regulating sequences in the gut-brain axis. [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [5] Although palm wine has been hypothesized to have carminative properties, there is a lack of sufficient scientific research to determine the optimal ratio of alcohol to probiotics that would produce these results.

6. Aids in the Treatment of Malaria

That appears to be impossible, doesn’t it? But the reality is exactly how we state it! There are several places, particularly in Africa, that employ palm wine to treat bouts of malaria. All that is required is to combine the alcoholic beverage with a few other native herbs, and the results are truly remarkable. Despite the absence of any scientific proof to support this assertion, a significant number of people have stated that it is accurate. However, it is highly recommended that you get in touch with your physician right away.

Possible side effects of palm wine

Consumption of palm wine is associated with the following health risks:

1. Contamination caused by insects

After the palm wine has been harvested, it is possible to see dead flies or bees floating on the surface. Because of this, there are now fears that dead insects may be contaminated with pathogens.

During the process of tapping, it is possible for other animals, such as bats, birds, or squirrels, to try to contaminate the fresh sap by drinking it and then defecating in it.

Placement of a mesh or net that is large enough to prevent insects and animals from reaching the wine is one method that can be used to help prevent this problem.

2. It might cause diabetes

It is possible that diabetics should not consume palm wine on a daily basis because of the amount of sugar and alcohol it contains.

When it is first produced, the beverage has a high sugar content but a low alcohol level, due to the fact that the alcohol has not yet been fermented. However, the opposite occurs as soon as the fermentation process continues.

It would be good if commercial companies indicated the proportion of sugar and alcohol that was contained in each batch of products so that consumers could make informed selections using this information.

3. Alcohol parcentage

Consumption of significant quantities of ethanol can be detrimental to the liver and lead to male infertility issues.

The amount of ethanol that is included in the wine might vary. Once fermentation begins, the fresh sap contains less than 1% alcohol, but this number can rise to as high as 5%.

Studies have shown that drinking palm wine can have a negative effect on a man’s testicles by lowering testosterone levels, sperm motility, and sperm viability. This can lead to a reduction in testicular function.

Therefore, it is essential for males and moms who are breastfeeding to be aware of the precise amount of alcohol contained in each batch.

4. Adulteration

The most significant risk to one’s health associated with the intake of palm wine is that the wine may have been purposefully or unintentionally tainted with foreign substances.

According to the findings of one investigation, one batch of palm wine included significant quantities of two potentially harmful chemicals: benzene and styrene.

During the process of tapping palm trees, there is a chance that the palm wine will contain stems, leaves, and even bark.

Other techniques of adulteration include adding artificial sweeteners and diluting the product with significant quantities of water that has not been treated.

Therefore, those responsible for public health must regulate the preservation techniques, storage containers, and hygiene practices that are involved in the creation of the product.

Conclusion

It is true that palm wine is incredibly healthy for the body, and there are many ways in which it improves human health. However, it is very important to be aware that consuming fermented palm wine in large quantities can have a significant negative impact on one’s health.

The reason for this is that during the fermentation process, a significant amount of alcohol is added to palm wine. This amount of alcohol is frequently three times higher than the amount contained in a number of other alcoholic drinks, which makes it more difficult for the liver to detoxify the body.

Because of this, consuming an excessive amount of this beverage might result in major health complications, such as liver damage or failure, high blood pressure, neurological problems, and other similar conditions. Moderation is the key to staying healthy when drinking palm wine.

About the author

Chukwuebuka Martins

Chukwuebuka Martins is a writer, researcher, and health enthusiast who specializes in human physiology. He takes great pleasure in penning informative articles on many aspects of physical wellness, which he then thoroughly enjoys sharing to the general public.

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