Kola nut comes from the evergreen kola tree in the rainforests of Africa. The kola nut is used to flavor sodas and as a supplement to increase energy or to generally improve health.
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Kola nut represents a vital cultural symbol for many ethnic groups in Nigeria. It is given to guests at weddings, naming ceremonies, and funerals. It is also used in medicine.
Health benefits of kola nuts
Several possible benefits of the kola nut and its products include:
- Aid digestion: Kola nut extract may help digestion because they promote the production of gastric acid, which increases the effectiveness of the digestive enzyme in the stomach.
- Boost metabolism: Kola nut products contain caffeine, which may boost a person’s metabolism.
- Increase in circulation: The presence of caffeine and theobromine in kola nut may speed up the heart rate, which in turn increases circulation.
- Antibacterial benefits: One study reported that the use of kola nut extract might stop the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Boost energy levels: The kola nut stimulates the central nervous system which may increase alertness and boost energy levels.
There are several health conditions that might be improved by consumption of the kola nut.
Kola nuts might be beneficial for people with certain breathing problems, like asthma. The caffeine in kola nuts may act as a bronchodilator to open the airways to make breathing easier.
People with a slow metabolism could benefit from using products that contain kola nut. Conditions like Graves’ disease, Cushing syndrome, and low testosterone, may affect a person’s metabolism.
Eases migraine pains
The kola nut may be helpful for people who have migraine headaches. The theobromine and caffeine contained in the kola nut may expand blood vessels in the brain, which might help ease migraine pain.
Early research shows that certain compounds found in the kola nut may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. The research is still being debated, but it is thought that the phytoestrogens in kola nuts may destroy cancer cells and stop tumors from growing.
Kola nuts may not be suitable for everyone. Anyone who is allergic to nuts should equally avoid kola nuts. An allergic reaction to kola nuts may include symptoms such as upset stomach, hives, and breathing problems.
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People with certain medical conditions might also be advised not to use products that contain kola nuts. Kola nuts has a stimulant effect which may not be good for people with high blood pressure or certain cardiac conditions.
Anyone who has difficulty going to sleep should avoid kola nut. This is because the high level of caffeine present in the nut may stimulate the central nervous system and cause sleeping difficult, especially for people who are sensitive to caffeine.
The side effects of consuming kola nuts may vary, depending on how much of the nut is consumed. Possible side effects of the kola nut include:
- Increased blood pressure: The active ingredients in the kola nut are stimulant to the body, the nut can increase blood pressure. People who already have high blood pressure or are taking blood pressure medication should check with their doctor before using any product containing kola nuts.
- Nausea: Excessive consumption of kola nuts may lead to an upset stomach. Some people may also experience stomach pains because of the increased production of stomach acids from kola nuts.
- Difficulty sleeping: Using products containing kola nuts can lead to insomniaor problems falling or staying asleep. Such people should avoid stimulants that contain caffeine, including kola nuts.
- Shakiness: Since kola nuts can affect the central nervous system, causing shakiness, tremors, and anxiousness. People with anxietymay be especially susceptible to shakiness from kola nuts.