Bitter kola, scientifically known as Garcinia kola is a very small and green tropical fruit. It is a popular ingredient in traditional African, Caribbean, and Pacific Islander cuisine. Bitter kola has been used for its medicinal properties for many centuries and continues to be used today.
The benefits of bitter kola are numerous, which makes it such an important part of so many people’s diets. Some of the local names associated with this fruit are, orogbo in Yoruba, aki-inu in Ukwani, ugolu in Igbo and mijin-goro in Hausa.
If you aren’t aware of what bitter kola is or you want to know more about this wonderful fruit before adding it to your diet, then you are in the right place. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about bitter kola and its incredible benefits!
What is Bitter Kola?
Garcinia kola is a tropical tree native to West Africa and South America, and is also cultivated in the Caribbean and some Pacific Islands. It has a light green outer skin surrounding a dark brown inner seed.
The darker colour of the seed comes from the tannin inside, which is used to make a drink called kola.
Bitter Kola is very high in caffeine, but it is not the same as drinking coffee. Not only does it contain less caffeine than coffee, but it also contains a very different chemical inside known as cholinesterase.
This chemical helps to break down the caffeine in your body, so you don’t get the jittery feeling that coffee gives many people. However, you still get the mental boost that is associated with caffeine consumption.
5 Incredible Benefits of Bitter Kola
According to a research study conducted by the National Library of Medicine, the benefits derived from consuming bitter kola were rated high for curing cough, bacterial or viral infection and anticancer. The study also found that Garcinia kola acts as anti-bacteria, anti-virus and provides protection against cancer.
- Bitter kola helps you lose weight
Bitter kola is known for being a natural hunger suppressant and a great thirst stimulant, and as such helps to reduce weight loss, as a reduced intake of food and a large intake of water is needed by the body to get rid of excess fat and stay healthy.
2. Bitter kola improves digestion
Bitter kola has been shown to have a positive effect on the digestive system of many people. This effect is likely due to the high fibre content of this fruit. Bitter kola has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with a wide range of digestive issues.
3. Reduces inflammation
Bitter kola is thought to reduce inflammation in the body by increasing levels of antioxidants. It also appears to inhibit the production of inflammatory proteins. This could be helpful for people with conditions like arthritis or chronic pain, as well as those who want to maintain a healthy weight overall.
4. Lowers blood sugar levels
Bitter kola has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels in people who take it regularly. This is because the herb contains compounds that can increase insulin sensitivity and reduce glucose production from the liver. It’s possible that bitter kola could be used as a natural way to treat type II diabetes.
5. Reduces anxiety and depression symptoms
Bitter kola has been shown to be beneficial for reducing anxiety and depression symptoms in people who suffer from those conditions. It can help increase feelings of focus and concentration, as well as energy levels. Additionally, it appears to have a positive effect on mood stability over time.
Ways to eat bitter kola
There are many ways to eat bitter kola. It can be eaten raw, dried, roasted, steeped as tea, or ground into a powder. You can also eat bitter kola in a few different dishes, including sweets. Bitter kola is often used to spice up otherwise bland and flavourless dishes.
- Bitter kola as a snack
Bitter kola is great as a snack that can help you lose weight. You can simply peel the outer skin off of a fresh bitter kola nut and eat it as is.
- Bitter kola as a dried fruit
- To eat bitter kola as a dried fruit, you can soak it in warm water for a few hours. Once it is soft enough, you can remove the skin and eat the inside as is. Fruit
- Bitter kola as a tea
Bitter kola can also be used to make tea. You can either use the dried or fresh fruit to make tea. If you use the dried fruit, you should let it sit in hot water for around 20 minutes before drinking.
Four warning signs about bitter kola
- Bitter kola may cause digestive issues in some people
Bitter kola has been shown to have a positive effect on the digestive system of many people. But, it’s important to note that it may cause digestive issues in some people, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Bitter kola may cause nausea
Bitter kola has also been shown to increase saliva production. This can lead to an increase in saliva in your stomach and can cause nausea in some people. Bitter kola is a healthy food that can be enjoyed by almost anyone. That being said, there are a few cases in which it is not recommended. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may want to avoid eating bitter kola.
- Problems sleeping
Using products containing bitter nut can lead to insomnia or problems falling or staying asleep. Those with sleep disorders may be advised to avoid stimulants that contain caffeine, including kola nuts.
Since kola nuts can affect the central nervous system, they can lead to shakiness, tremors, and anxiousness. People with anxiety may be especially prone to shakiness from kola nuts.
Now that you know what bitter kola is and what it can do for your health, it’s time to add this fruit to your diet!