The kola nut is a seed from a tree of the Sterculiaceae family, with the most prominent species being Cola Vera, Cola acuminata and Cola nitida. This tree is believed to be the first tree on Earth by certain Nigerian tribes. If you feel as though you’ve never heard of this valuable seed, you may be more familiar with its existence than you realise. Interestingly, the kola nut prominently made its way into the forefront of Western society in the 19th Century when a pharmacist named John Pemberton mixed extracts of the kola nut and coca leaves with sugar and additional ingredients in carbonated water to create the first cola beverage. This led to the birth of the world’s most well-known soft drink “Coca-Cola”, although the kola nut is no longer found in “Coke”. Thankfully however, there are much healthier ways for you to make use of its potency, read on for our Top 5 Health Benefits of Kola Nuts!
1. Boosts energy
Kola nuts increase physical performance and concentration by improving cerebral circulation and oxygen levels in the blood. The kola nut contains 1.5-2% caffeine alongside kolanin and theobromine, the latter being a compound also found in chocolate. Not only do these compounds increase energy levels but also have mood enhancing properties, promoting a sense of euphoria and well-being whilst calming the mind and easing anxiety.
2. Improves respiratory function
Acting as a bronchodilator, making your breathing easier, kola nuts enlarge your alveolar ducts and sacs and strengthens lung tissue fibres, rendering them an effective remedy for chest colds. They are also used to treat migraine headaches. The duo of theobromine and caffeine function as cerebral vasodilators, improving circulation in the brain, helping to reduce pain and inflammation.
3. Weight loss
Kola nuts are also known to act as an appetite suppressant, therefore making them beneficial for natural weight loss. Alkaloids such as caffeine and theobromine both work to boost energy, suppress appetite and boost mood, a perfect combination for countering the effects of hunger pangs and over-eating. Studies have also shown that kola nuts are capable of significantly increasing your metabolic rate, burning more unwanted excess fat.
4. Valuable for reproductive health
Non-steroidal compounds in the form of phytoandrogens and phytoestrogens contained within the kola nut have been shown to be effective for inducing prostate and breast cancer cell death, as well as the regulation of healthy prostate growth and function.
5. Fights infection
Kola nuts are packed with numerous powerful compounds such as betaine, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, tannins, phenolics and phlobaphenes and are known for their valuable antiviral and antibacterial properties, thus an ally to fighting infections. Studies have shown that they are capable of ameliorating illnesses such as meningitis and tuberculosis. They have also been used to treat scabies, ringworm, fever, dysentery, malaria and gonorrhea. Applied topically as a poultice, they can also be used for healing cuts and wounds.
If you’re looking for increased energy, mental clarity, an uplifted mood or a change from the usual cup of coffee without the crash, then definitely consider trying kola nuts. They can be chewed on freely or ground and powdered and added to smoothies, tea, coffee, cereal, oatmeal or baked into various desserts and chocolate. They can be bought whole, powdered or in the form of creative food and drink items from health food stores or available from outlets such as Ebay or Amazon. What experiences have you had with kola nuts? Let us know below or @ Keep FitKingdom !