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Thursday 22 October 2015

Melon Seed (Egusi)Health benefits


Egusi as it is popularly called in Nigeria, is a common seed used mostly in preparing soups.  It is common in occasions to see melon seed soup being served with pounded yam or fufu, the local and common name for solids prepared from Tapioca or Cassava flour.  It is enjoyed as a soup for all occasions mostly supported with bitter leaf as an added vegetable or pumpkin  leave (Ugu) leaves.

The nutritional benefits of Egusi are numerous and according to Ojieh, G et al (2007) are as follows:

– The crude protein composition of Egusi stands at 23.4% making it comparable to other plant proteins food sources such as soybean, cowpeas and pumpkin seeds.

Fat (Oil)
– The fat content is 45.7% which makes it comparable to pumpkin seeds in terms of its oil content. Now, before you decide to stop eating Egusi because of its fat content, it might interest you to know that the fats in Egusi comprise mainly of mono-unsaturated omega 9 fatty acids (15.9%) and polyunsaturated omega 6 fatty acids (62.8%).

Omega 6 fatty acids are known as ‘essential fatty acids’ because the human body needs them for healthy functioning but cannot make them by combining other food components; it therefore needs to be obtained from food and/or through supplements. The body needs this kind of fat.
Fibre – The fibre content from the research stood at 12% which is high compared to other legumes.

– The carbohydrate content is quite low at 10.6% compared to other legumes which tend to have anywhere between 20-60% carbohydrate content; but this isn’t really a problem as Egusi soup is traditionally eaten with a carbohydrate rich food.
Essential Amino acids – Egusi is rich in Arginine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Threonine, Phenylalaline, Valine, Histidine and Methionine.
Other Amino acids – Cystine, Tyrosine, Proline, Glutamic acid, Aspartic acid, Serine, Glycine and Alanine.

– Egusi is richest in the mineral Phosphorous, followed by Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium and Sodium. Other minerals include Iron, zinc, manganese and copper.

Though egusi is delicious, however, if you are avoiding oils and fats, it would be necessary to limit your consumption of egusi soup.  

Source: Nutrition and Welness with Funmi Badejo blog


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