Ever Heard of Amala?
Àmàlà is an indigenous Nigerian food made from either yam, unripe plantain, or cassava flour. The yams are peeled, diced, cleaned, dried, and then blended into a smooth flour, also known as clubs. Of course, yams are white, but they turn brown when dried; this gives the brown color of the food. Àmàlà is originated from Western Africa and consumed voraciously by the Yoruba citizens of Nigeria. Amala is mainly eating by indigenous people of the Southwestern region of Nigeria. It could be enjoyed with a variety of soups (ọbẹ), such as ẹfọ, ilá (okra), ewédú (jute), ogbono, or gbegiri (black-eyed beans soup).
Amala made from yam (amala isu)is the most common type of àmàlà. The actual yam specie best for making àmàlà is Dioscorea Cayenensis due to its high starch content. Yam, the general name for species in the genus Dioscorea, thrives well in Asia, Africa, Oceania, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Still, about 95% of it is produced and harvested in West Africa. Yam can be roasted, barbecued, fried, grilled, smoked, boiled, and grated. Àmàlà isu is made of dried yam, and this gives its black/brownish color when poured in boiling water. Amala is high in carbohydrates and is packed with a lot of calories.
The high carbohydrate content is what Amala isu is mainly known for, but it contains some other essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals, viz; phosphorus, manganese, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B-complex, vitamin A, copper, calcium, iron, etc. and also contains dietary protein, fiber, and fats. The yam from which Amala isu is prepared has a high carbohydrate percentage, which makes it a very good source of energy. The presence of high dietary fiber in yam also aids in digestion and prevents all forms of intestinal obstruction as well as reducing the side effect of obesity and diabetes. The presence of vitamins in amala isu gives it a wide edge over many other foods; though few of the vitamins are in minute quantity, they are still beneficial to our health when prepared well. It is also known to contain the highest amount of potassium and folate when compared to other foods. This nutrient helps to lower hypertension and strengthens the blood vessel for proper circulation.
Amala isu is very good for pregnant mothers as it contains many beneficial nutritional elements that are excellent for both the baby and the mother. The folate it contains is vital for the brain and the entire central nervous system. Also, Amala isu contains beautiful minerals such as iron that help relieve pregnant moms from early morning discomforts such as vomiting and nausea, and keeping the bones very strong, which is extremely vital for fetus development.
Yam flour is well-preferred in many areas when compared with some other alternatives. Medical experts often recommend it as a substitute due to healthcare dishes due to its rich health benefits.
Now let us go through the amazing health benefits of this amazing Yoruba delicacy so you could find more reasons to include it in your diet calendar.
Excellent Health Benefits of Amala
Good for Weight Loss
Yam Flour is an active weight loss aid. It has a very high fiber content that helps in flushing out waste deposits from the body.
And even the hot pepper, which is used to prepare a variety of the local soups for this dish, contains an active chemical compound called capsaicin to inhibit immature fat cells from growing and aid weight loss.
Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases
The presence of high dietary fiber in amala helps to reduce LDP (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterols, which are carriers of bad cholesterol. Thereby reducing the risk of coming down with any heart-related complications due to the high good cholesterol, it provides the body with.
Helps to Manage Diabetes
Amala is a good deli for diabetic patients due to its relatively low glycemic index; this means it won’t cause an abrupt rise in glucose levels of the blood in diabetes patients.
Yam flour used to make amala is also known to be high in dietary fiber, which aids in the reduction of the chances of colon cancer development by preventing harmful compounds in the bowel from affecting the colon lining. It is extremely high in antioxidants that aid in fighting harmful free radicals in our bodies. It reduces the risk of inflammation and cancer and prevents all cell damages.
Boosts Your Natural Immunity
Yam flour has so many vitamins and antioxidants that lower the rate of oxidative stress in the body and ensures that the immune system is better and stronger.
It improves your immunity and fights against infections easily.
Improves Eye Health
Daily consumption of amala improves eyesight and aids in curing watery, itchy, and sore eyes.
The flour obtained from yam is very wholesome because it contains fewer calories and, of course, more protein per 100 grams.
Support the Digestive System
Yam flour has high water content and high fiber and possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which help in digestion, thus preventing constipation.
Some studies proved that fiber is very crucial for healthy bowel motility and secretion of digestive and gastric juices. However, Amala is highly required for a normal digestive process.
Good Source of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a brilliant source of nutrients that help our body reduce gastric risks of coming down with heart diseases and helps our body metabolize homocysteine, which contributes a lot to blood and arterial clots in the blood vessel.
Prevents Aging factors
Yam flour contains beautiful antioxidant properties that are very powerful in reducing cell damage.
Amala does help fight against harmful free radicals, which cause DNA, protein, and cell membrane damage thus retards the aging process.
Foods rich in this antioxidant are ranked the first and foremost type of foods for anti-aging as it also helps slow down the aging process and, in turn, promotes glowing skin.
Fight against Heart Disease
Amala helps to combat heart disease by limiting the build-up of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDP) in the body. It boosts the “good cholesterol” levels or HDL and prevents further thickening of vessel walls, which is often the first sign of heart disease.
Promotes Balance in the body
Stress can weaken our immune system, thereby lowering brain function, causing several body imbalances. Yam flour enhances balance in our body by relieving the body system from accumulated stress.
For Menopausal Women
The lack of vitamin B6 and several hormonal imbalances after the menopause period could lead to depression. Amala contains some enzymes that modify and balance hormones that no longer in use in the body system of menopausal women.
Prevents Gallbladder Stones
Regular consumption of deli amala dishes reduces your chances of having gallstones and the build-up of bad cholesterol. Studies show too much cholesterol is the root cause of gallbladder stones.
The presence of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in yam flour easily converts cholesterol into bile in your liver and keeps your gallbladder functioning properly and in the best health condition.
Source of Carbohydrate
Yam is high in carbohydrates, which provides your body with the required energy and helps in blood glucose regulation.
These carbohydrates help to break fatty acids and further prevent ketosis.
Beautiful Source of Beneficial Vitamins
Yam flour contains wonderful vitamins that have a lot of advantages to human health.
The presence of vitamin A (retinol) makes it a very powerful antioxidant to aid eye-brain function, vision improvement and also reduces inflammation.
Vitamin B-complex provides our body with essential nutrients our bodies require for bodybuilding and enriches the body into a healthy state.
The content of ascorbic acids provides our bodies with the essential components required to combat some common diseases. It also nourishes our skin and enhances hair texture due to its high collagen content.
Provides Our Body with Essential Minerals
Consumption of amala provides our bodies with vital minerals such as iron, which is important to blood regulation and formation and prevents unnecessary blood clotting.
Potassium helps us maintain normal blood pressure (BP) and other essential minerals.
Nutritional Values of Yam Flour
The most important mineral content and nutrients of amala are calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, carbohydrate, vitamin A, magnesium, and dietary fiber.
Total Fat 2g
Potassium 816 mg
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Total Carbohydrate 28 g