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Kola Nut Meaning
Most people are familiar with the word “COLA” as their favorite carbonated drink flavor. But, do you know the name has a reason behind it? The source of the name COLA is the flavoring agent Kola nut that comes from the Kola tree. Kola nut is a fruit of the Kola tree, a native of West Africa, which is widely used in many cultural practices like community meetings, traditional hospitality, and social ceremonies. It is basically used as a cultural symbol in West African Countries.
Kola fruit is a star-shaped fruit, about the size of a chestnut, and each fruit contains two to five kola nuts. Kola nut is famous and widely consumed for its high caffeine content. When chewed fresh, kola nuts taste bitter but become sweeter as you chew or when dried. While Fresh kola nuts are widely available for sale on almost every corner of roads throughout West Africa, In the west, it is the Kola nut extract and the Kola nut powder that are more popular.
Rich in caffeine, theobromine, antioxidants, Kola nuts are believed to carry many health benefits and are used in dietary supplements, weight-loss drugs, and performance enhancers. These are also used as a flavoring agent in coca-cola, Pepsi-cola, and many popular energy drinks. Let’s here explore the health benefits, uses, and a few other interesting facts related to them.
Kola Nut Benefits
1. Boost Energy Levels
As already mentioned above, kola nuts are jam-packed with caffeine. It contains about 1.5% – 2% caffeine and also kolanin and theobromine, all of which work as central nervous system stimulants. Caffeine is believed to alter certain neurotransmitters’ activity in the brain, resulting in increased energy levels, concentration, and alertness. Combining theobromine and caffeine can enhance endurance, a mild sense of euphoria, and improved mental energy.
2. Facilitate Weight Loss
Kola nuts help facilitate weight loss in two ways. Studies suggest that kola nuts could help fasten the weight loss process, and the credit goes to its caffeine content. This is because caffeine is said to increase the metabolic rate and help burn off calories more quickly. However, there is another way too in which you can use kola nut for weight loss. Caffeine has also been known to reduce appetite. Since caffeine is abundantly present in kola nuts, consuming a handful of kola nuts makes you feel full for a longer period. These are the reasons that kola nuts are used in many weight loss supplements.
Also See: Chia Seeds for Weight Loss
3. May Help Treat Migraines
Caffeine has been used as a natural remedy to relieve migraines and headaches for a long time. It works by narrowing the brain’s blood vessels that decrease blood flow relieving the pain. This is the reason that caffeine-rich kola nuts have been used to deal with migraines and headaches. However, more scientific evaluation is still needed to prove the effects of kola nuts on treating headaches and migraines.
4. Helps Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Many studies have been done to establish the relationship between kola nuts and blood sugar levels. According to one such research, kola nut extract was found to have anti-diabetic properties and, when tested on rats,it was observed that Kola nuts decreased blood sugar levels. It even was able to boost the functions of beta cells that are responsible for insulin production. Moreover, rich caffeine content may also help in managing blood sugar levels.
5. Prevents Bacterial Growth
Some research has shown that kola nuts can help prevent and fight certain infections as they possess some antibacterial properties. This could stop the growth of harmful disease-causing bacteria or pathogens. Hence, kola nuts can be called natural infection fighters.
6. Natural Remedy For Chest Colds
Kola nut is one of the oldest natural remedies for chest cold and congestion; this fact has been validated by modern research. Kola nuts help by enlarging the alveolar sacs and ducts that help relieve the chest cold. It also helps improve the fibers’ strength in the lung tissue and cleans the excess mucus in your throat.
Kola Nut Uses
Kola nut is famous for its effects as a central nervous system stimulant and is a cultural staple in many African countries. Following are some of the kola nut uses:
- In few parts of West Africa, kola nut is chewed during various ceremonies and cultural rituals.
- One of the major uses of kola nut is as flavoring agents in many western countries.
- Since kola nut helps boost energy levels, it is used as an additive in energy drinks and supplements. Kola nut extract or kola nut powder can be used for this purpose.
- Another essential kola nut powder or kola nut extract benefit is that it is also used as a medicine in some parts of the world.
Kola Nut Side-Effects
Kola nuts are generally considered safe for human consumption, but its few side effects must be contemplated before consuming them. As already mentioned, Kola nuts have high caffeine content; so, consuming them in moderate quantities becomes very important. High consumption of caffeine can lead to hyperactivity, nervousness, and sleep problems. Some other side-effects of kola nut include:
- Shaky hands
- Upset stomach
- Increased blood pressure
It is always advised to consult a doctor before incorporating kola nut as a dietary supplement in your daily routine to avoid any side-effects.