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Ogbono Nutritional Value and Health Benefits

Somi Igbene PhD ANutrSeptember 27, 2021

Always wondered what the nutrition and health benefits of Ogbono are? 

In a nutshell, ogbono seeds, also known as dika nut or African mango, are mainly made up of saturated fat with small amounts of carbohydrates and protein. They are rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. They are also good sources of antioxidants, including polyphenols, carotenoids and flavonols. 

Keep reading to learn more about ogbono.

What is ogbono?

Ogbono, botanically known as Irvingia gabonensis, and African mango, bush mango, or dika nut in English, is a multipurpose fruit native to West and Central Africa. 

Ogbono fruits are available from May to September, with peak harvesting in June and July. The fruit is oval-shaped and broad, with a thin skin, fleshy pulp when ripe and a hard, stony nut encasing a soft, oil-rich kernel wrapped inside a brown seed coat. 

The kernel, commonly referred to as a seed, is widely eaten and is what we call ogbono or dika nut. These kernels are an essential part of West and Central African diets, providing carbohydrates, fat and protein. They can be eaten raw, roasted, or ground and cooked with meat, vegetables, and spices. 

Nutritional Value of Ogbono Seeds

Ogbono is an energy-dense seed, providing 595–729 kcal per 100g portion. It primarily comprises fat (71%), with moderate amounts of protein (~22%) and minimal carbohydrates (~3%). The fats in ogbono are primarily saturated fatty acids (~97%), and the remainder is a combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.  

Per 100g on average, ogbono seeds contain:

Energy: 704kcal

Protein: 7.9g

Fat: 66.9g

Carbohydrates: 16.4g

Fibre: 2.2g

Ogbono seeds are sources of many essential minerals, including calcium (164mg per 100g), phosphorus (202mg per 100g), iron (3.4mg per 100g), copper, and zinc. They are also sources of antioxidants, including flavonoids, carotenoids, and polyphenols. 

Health Benefits of Ogbono Seeds

Scientific evidence for the health benefits of ogbono seeds is limited. However, studies in mice show that ogbono may raise the levels of high-density lipoprotein ‘good’ cholesterol. It may also promote weight loss in overweight and obese adults and reduce inflammation. There is currently no evidence to support ogbono’s benefit in promoting fertility.

Where to buy Ogbono

In West Africa, ogbono is available in any local market. In England, ogbono is available from most local ethnic stores. You can also order it online on Amazon

How to Cook Ogbono soup

Ogbono is extremely viscous/mucilaginous (slimy) when cooked. Its viscosity is from its high-fat content. 

To cook ogbono soup, put beef into a pot, season with vegetable stock cubes, chopped onions and chilli powder. Allow beef to cook until almost tender, then stir in ground ogbono seeds and a splash of water to loosen the soup. Add leafy greens, ground crayfish and palm oil. Allow to cook on a simmer for around five minutes or until the greens are tender. Take the pot off the heat and enjoy with any cereal dough. 

Most ogbono recipes are incredibly high in saturated fat and sodium. You can get a more detailed and healthier recipe for ogbono in my new cookbook: Cook It – The Whole Way

REFERENCES

  1. Mateus-Reguengo, L., Barbosa-Pereira, L., Rembangouet, W., Bertolino, M., Giordano, M., Rojo-Poveda, O. Zeppa, G. (2020) Food application of Irvingia gabonensis (Abury-Lecomte ex. O’Rorke) Bail., the ‘bush mango’: A review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 60(14): 2446–2459.
  2. Onimawo, I.A., Oteno, F., Orokpo, G., and Akubor, P.I. (2003) Physiochemical and nutrient evaluation of African bush mango (Irvingia gabonensis) seeds and pulp. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 58: 1–6. 
  3. Stadlmayr, B., Charrondiere, U.R., Eisenwagen, S., Jamnadass, Kehlenbeck, K. (2013) Nutrient composition of selected indigenious fruits from sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 93(11): 2627–36. 
  4. Onakpoya, I., Davies, L., Posadzki, P., Ernst, E. (2013) The efficacy of Irvingia gabonensis supplementation in the management of overweight and obesity: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 1: 29–38.
  5. Ngondi, J.L., Etoundi, B.C., Nyangono, C.B., Mbofung, C.M., Oben, J.E. (2009) IGOB131, a novel seed extract of the West African plant Irvingia gabonensis, significantly reduces body weight and improves metabolic parameters in overweight humans in a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled investigation. Lipids in Health and Disease, 8:7

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