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Nigerian foods are diverse and exciting. They are often unrefined natural foods, rich in dietary fibers, low GI carbohydrates and a wide range of highly nutritious and vitamin rich combination.

When people talk about foods eaten in Africa in general, and Nigeria in particular, they tend to forget that items highly sought after in Western countries like cassava, yams, plantain, palm oil, coconut and coconut oils, Nigerian brown beans, and rice do not grow in the West.

Most of these items come in from Africa, Asia and South America, yet they make up the bulk of Nigerian and African foods. What about those tropical fruits like oranges, tangerines, mangoes, pawpaw, African bread fruit, banana, African bush mango, carrots, to name but a few, these are everyday food items that make up the Nigerian food dish

  • Nigerian Stew
  • Afang Soup
  • Banga Soup or Palm Fruit Soup
  • Bitter Leaf Soup
  • Egusi Soup also called Melon Soup
  • Edikang Ikong Soup
  • Okro Soup
  • Ogbono Soup
  • Gbegiri Soup
  • Melon Peppersoup
  • Atama Soup
  • Groundnut soup
  • Ofe Nsala
  • Ofe Onubu (Bitter leaf soup)
  • Ofe Oha
  • Ewedu soup
  • vegetable sauce
  • Owo soup
  • Gbagbaofofo
  • Epuroo
  • Green leaf Sauce
  • Miyan kuka
  • Miyan kabewa
  • Miya yakwa
  • Miya taushe
  • Yam porridge
  • Plantain Porridge
  • Potato porridge
  • Beans porridge
  • Asa Iwa
  • Ekpang Nkokwo
  • Pepper Soups � fish, goat meat, chicken
  • Nkobi
  • Isi ewu
  • Akara
  • Moi Moi
  • Jellof rice
  • White Rice
  • Fried Rice
  • vegetable rice
  • Eba
  • Pounded Yam
  • Amala
  • Tuowo Masara
  • Egun Obobo
  • Fried Plantain or Dodo
  • Lafun or Cassava fufu
  • Cassava Fufu
  • Asa Ibibot (Corn kernel Porridge)
  • Akara Mboro (Banana balls)
  • Akara Cake (bean fritters)
  • Akamu, Ogi or Pap
  • Abacha Ugba (African Salad)
  • Why Nigerian Foods

    For Nigerians in Nigeria, it is obvious that they will continue to enjoy the delicacies of their inheritance, with it’s attendant health benefits. They need to be confident that well prepared African food, be it Nigerian or Ghanaian, or Zimbabwean, is rich in nutrients and constitutes a very balanced source of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, minerals, and essential vitamins.For the Nigerian in diaspora, and even more so for their offspring born abroad and living in the West, it is important that they do not relegate their Nigerian food dishes to the background, in favour of Western diets. This is strictly for health and nutritional reasons. Medical evidence abounds that the unrefined African food is superior in helping to maintain good health.

    Below are evidence based scientific reasons why you should regularly include Nigerian food items in your menu if you can. We shall discuss a few of the African food items that make up a typical Nigerian food dish.

      1. Plantain
        Plantain is a component of many Nigerian food recipe, like plantain porridge, dodo and rice, plantain fufu, epuoruo, boiled plantain and pepper soup serving, and more. This is eaten regularly across Southern, Eastern and Western Nigeria.It has been shown to be rich in low GI carbohydrate (good for weight loss diet, and for diabetic patients) that helps in ensuring a slow release of energy over extended period of time. More recently, it has been demonstrated in many studies to be rich in soluble plant fibres that helps protects the gut against many infections, and even against Crohn’s disease (Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology Journal, 2010 – nature.com).If you suffer with Crohns disease, try plantain in your diet for six months and see how it will help.
      1. Cassava
        Cassava is almost “ominipresent” in Africa and certainly in Nigeria. From it comes a vast range of Nigerian food recipes like gari, eba, lafun, tapioca, cassava dough, cassava fufu, boiled cassava meal, starch served with banga soup, cassava chips, cassava based bread, …Cassava is world acclaimed to be gluten free. It is a good substitution for bread, and wheat products, in the diet of those who suffer with coeliac disease, and other related gluten “enteropathies”.It is also very rich in dietary fibre, and it is again a low GI carbohydrate. It is superior to potatoes, wheat, and rice in this regard.
    1. Bitter leaf
      Bitter leaf is simply the leaf of the plant called Vernonia amygdaline. It is proven to be very rich in phytochemicals that protects the body against various cancers and help in the treatment of liver cancer in particular. A few years ago, a UK journal carried the following heading, “A diet Rich In Phytochemicals Offers Best Anticancer Effects”, showing that this often ignored Nigerian vegetable has yet untapped potentials (Journal – Oncology Times: 25 September 2005 – Volume 27 – Issue 18 – p 36-37).

    Time and space will fail us if we were to list other components of Nigerian food items like Ogbono that is shown to be very good weight loss agent, as well as a good aphrodisiac (sexual enhancing agent). Palm oil, that is now recognized to offer protect from heart attacks, Nigerian honey beans, yam, cocoyam that are now finding place in many western diets.

    Nigerian honey beans for example is a uniquely sweet beans, that if you taste it once, you will never touch baked beans again or any type of beans.


23 Responses to WHY NIGERIAN FOOD

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  3. Oh, how I miss the Fufu and Dodo of my youth. I lived in Ile Ife as a child and that taste has never been far from my palate. Unfortunately, it has been difficult to replicate in the U.S. because the plantains are tasteless and the government has decreed that Palm Oil is bad for you.

    I was much healthier when I ate food cooked in Palm Oil than any of the other oils that stock the shelves here in the States. Okay, okay, won’t totally slam, but the American diet is rife with unhealthy choices, but at least we have the option of “Whole Paycheck,” oh, I meant “Whole Foods,” where one can buy organic, virgin Coconut Oil another staple of my Tanzania spent youth.

    Appreciate the recipes and the links. Be well. ~ Ayanna Nahmias


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    A wealth of information and good for maintaining our health. I’m intersted in knowing where can Ogbono be purchased–international supermarkets maybe?

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