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Nigeria’s Healthiest Meals: The Mouthwatering Edikang Ikong! – Benefits + More!

Nigeria’s Healthiest Meals: The Mouthwatering Edikang Ikong! – Benefits + More!

Edikang Ikong is a very popular vegetable soup in Nigeria originating from the southern part of the country, particularly the Akwa Ibom/Cross River region.

The main vegetable “ikong” is a leaf from the pumpkin plant. The name edikang ikong originates from the Ibibios. The Igbos call it Ugwu, while the Yorubas call it Ewe Aworoko. It is considered one of the most consumed meals in Nigeria. Tales of this meal has travelled far and wide. Visitors and tourists who visit the southern part of Nigeria never leave without having a taste of the delectable soup.


It is usually made with lots of tantalizing condiments including fish, meat, vegetables, periwinkle, kpomo and shaki, etc! The taste, the feel in your mouth and the anxiety that hits you as you rush at each ball of eba loaded with ikong and its accomplices…..adds to the utterly irresistible power of edikang ikong! But let’s take a deeper look at the health benefits of this rich vegetable.

Researchers in recent times have found that many of the meals we consume add to or incite the many health issues we develop. Studies show that excessive carbs or cholesterol can affect the heart or the normal functioning of our systems in the long run. It is imperative to identify the meals that will keep you healthy in addition to exercising.  To this end, we have outlined key health benefits of the delicious edikang ikong as written by Naira Health.

It is a rich source of dietary fibre.
Pumpkin is rich in fibre. It contains Vitamin A and C as well as minerals such as Calcium and Iron. Vitamin A is effective in clearing visions and protects and keeps the skin fresh. Vitamin C helps to heal scars and wounds, while Calcium and Iron strengthen teeth and bones and muscles.

It increases blood volume and boosts the immune system.
Pumpkin is effective in boosting the human immune system and increases blood volume. It is often prescribed by doctors for patients who are prone to lose blood with the intent to raise the blood levels.

It is used as a health treatment for some ailments.
When prepared as herbs, pumpkin is used to treat such ailments as a sudden attack of convulsion, malaria and anaemia. It also plays a vital role in protecting against cardiovascular diseases.

How to Eat Edikang Ikong Healthily
Although edikang ikong has been confirmed as a healthy meal, the condiments we use in cooking or what we eat it with may trigger health issues that could have been prevented. Hence when preparing or eating edikang ikong;

  • Avoid cooking with too much palm oil. Stick to a small portion of oil, probably one cooking spoon full. This is to decrease the build-up of cholesterol (of which palm oil is very rich in) in your system.
  • Eat it with healthier alternatives. Avoid eating it with meals rich in carbs; garri, rice etc. Rather settle for healthy alternatives such as plantain flour, oat meal flour, etc.
  • Cook it with healthy vegetables. Edikang ikong is cooked along-side other vegetables. Different tribes have varying means they use to cook this meal and what vegetable most suit their needs. However it is advisable to use waterleaf which has been proven to be effective in enhancing cognitive ability, delays the onset of heart diseases and stroke and contains anti-inflammatory, fungal and bacterial properties.

Article by Sema Bassie

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