What comes to your mind anytime you come across the saying ‘‘don’t judge a book by its cover?’’ Beyond the literal meaning it depicts, it’s deep and applies to everything we do and engage in, even in terms of the food we eat and the ingredients we use in preparing them. I have pondered several times why some things that are useful to humans would cause a kind of displeasure or discomfort.
Okay, let me put it simply. Take Onions, for instance, it has so many health benefits, yet it provokes tears from one’s eyes when peeled. What of lime? It has a sour taste but very medicinal. There is no way you will taste lime and not notice some changes in your body system before it performs its functions.
Let’s not even mention locust bean. Did I hear you say Ah? I know right. Many people can’t stand the smell of locust bean, but they enjoy Ofada stew, efo riro, ewedu and all the likes. The truth is, even though the smell of locust bean is one you wish you can do away with, you could tell the difference when used in foods because the taste and smell of a stew or soup made with locust bean adds a unique flavour to make food delicious. This besides the functions it performs in the body system.
The same way different people call locust beans different names, is the same way it appeals to people differently. Some love it and can bear to withstand the unpleasant smell, others detest it with passion and can’t stand the sight of it in their food. While for some, they don’t mind eating it but they can’t stand when they see it in their food.
This very much reminds me of my Dad. He rejects food if he spots locust bean inside. But if he doesn’t, he will finish the food enthusiastically and lavish praise on the cook afterwards. Moreover, some people don’t mind the presence of locust bean in their food as long as it tastes nice, they are good to go.
Here’s what interests me about locust bean.
Even though its smell is unpleasant, it is nutritional and very beneficial to the body. You might be wondering what possible benefit a smelly ingredient can give to the body.
Well, you may have heard that eating locust bean is good for the eyes. Put simply, locust bean is a crop as well as a vegetable that contains a high amount of Vitamin A and yeast, which according to nutrition experts, helps to produce optic cells that makes the eyes healthy.
However, the benefits of locust bean are more than just eye improvement, it also aids digestion. I bet some of you do not even know that you can substitute locust bean for Maggi in stews. Well, now you know.
My dear locust bean has soluble fibre in the galactomannan family which has been shown to be beneficial in weight loss. In addition, it improves cholesterol level and you don’t want to consume it when you don’t feel hungry because it is a natural appetite stimulant. It is also known as a very good immune booster, by building your immune defence to fight infections and diseases.
On a daily basis, we get exposed to harmful free radicals that are discharged into the environment. When they accumulate in the body, they can cause many chronic diseases. And medical professionals have advised that once or several times a month, we detoxify our body system.
Aside from other means of doing this, locust bean can help in this regard as it is a good antioxidant and detoxifier. It aids in getting rid of free radicals in the body system. This is because the fruit has a remarkable amount of polyphenols that accounts greatly for its anti-oxidising properties.
The anti-oxidising properties of the fruit extracts of locust beans are very similar to that of ascorbic acid – a natural organic compound with antioxidant properties.
So, if you fall into the category of those who detest locust bean because of its smell, you’re missing out on quite a lot. My piece of advice to you is if you haven’t been eating enough of it, better start doing so. It is nature’s gift which should be cherished delightfully.
See you some other time!