Locust Bean known as ‘Iru’ is a spice that adds flavor to cooking.
It is also a major ingredient used in preparing Ofada and Ayamase sauce.
Commonly used in Nigeria, it is called Iru by the Yorubas, Ogiri by the Igbos, and Dawadawa by the Hausas.
Iru has many nutritional health benefits which the body needs to stay healthy but not many people are aware of this.
It contains nutrients like protein which builds and repairs tissues in the body and carbohydrates which is a source of energy to a man’s body.
It also helps to fuel the brain, kidney, heart muscles, and central nervous system.
Here are some of its health benefits.
1. It boosts the immune system
Iru has a sour taste and that is a sign that it contains vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
The vitamin C content in iru is quite high and this makes it a good source of this vital vitamin which helps in immune-boosting.
Furthermore, it helps the body fight free radicals that could cause illnesses.
2. It promotes good eyesight
Consumption of locust beans helps to give good eyesight to people who have eye problems such as cataracts, minus eyes, myopia, glaucoma, and the rest because it also contains natural nutrients that can maintain eye health.
3. It treats diarrhea
Locust beans can serve as a local medicine for diarrhea, (which is a condition where a person excretes in liquid form repeatedly) because it contains a nutrient called ‘Tannin’ and the substance works for the treatment of diarrhea.
4. It promotes bone health
Hydrocyanic acid (HCN) in iru is another antioxidant that is great for its function of helping your bones stay strong.
As you age, the bones become weaker, requiring an adjustment in diet. Adding iru to your diet will help strengthen your bones.
5. It treats hypertension
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure is when the pressure of blood pumped through the arteries is higher than it should be. The consumption of locust beans can serve as a local medication for patients suffering from this disease.
6. It lowers the risk of cancer
Locust beans contain an antioxidant called Carotenoids. These are beneficial antioxidants that can protect you from certain cancers.
Also, another compound in iru, phytic acid, is also great for its potential of reducing the risk of certain cancers.
7. It helps with weight loss
Like other forms of soluble fibre, Iru has shown potential benefits for enhancing weight loss and controlling blood sugar levels.