Experts call the cola nut a relative of the cocoa beans, although outwardly these plants are not very similar to each other. Cola nuts are small (literally a few centimeters) seeds found in the fruits of the trees Cola nitida (Cola shiny) and Cola acuminata (Cola pointed), which grow mainly in West Africa.
The cola nut amazed travelers from Europe who traveled across the African continent with its unique properties, the fame of a plant that is able to quickly restore a person’s strength, literally dissolve his fatigue, while suppressing even persistent hunger, spread throughout the world.
Merchants who arrived in Africa on ships, first of all, tried to load a valuable nut into their holds, which had already become a rather expensive food product in the 16th-17th centuries.
We also owe the cola nut to the fact that a carbonated drink known to almost all inhabitants of the Earth – Coca-Cola – has appeared in the world. True, at the time when it was invented by pharmacist John Pemberton, Coca-Cola did not resemble the frothy brown sweet liquid that is now in bottles on supermarket shelves.
Back in 1886, this drink was a mixture for toothache, chronic fatigue and depression, and it was sold out rather slowly, but after the seller accidentally diluted cola nut syrup with sparkling water, the mixture became more popular among the population.
The Legend of the Cola Nut
An ancient African legend says that one day God visited the earth. Returning back to heaven, the creator remembered that he left a partially eaten cola nut below. He came back and saw a man trying to finish this nut. God grabbed the man by the throat and made him spit out a nut. Since then, an Adam’s apple appeared on the man’s neck – evidence of the touch of a divine hand.
Cola (Latin Cola) is an evergreen plant of the Malvaceae family, which includes many species. The most common are Cola acuminata, Cola nitida, Cola vera and Cola Ballayi, which are found in homeopathic medicines.
Tinctures and extracts are made from them, which are used as tonics for overwork and a number of diseases of the central nervous system.
Composition and calorie content of Cola nut
The two main substances that give the nut its unusual properties are caffeine and theobromine. These are natural alkaloids that have a stimulating effect on the human body – they activate the work of the heart, tone up the nervous system, dilate the bronchi and blood vessels. The amount of these substances in 100 g of nuts is impressive – 3.5% caffeine and 2% theobromine. That’s 10 times more than a cup of instant coffee.
The ability of cola fruits to dull hunger is explained by their high nutritional value – 10.6% protein, 6.27% carbohydrates and 2.5% fat per 100 g of product. The calorie content of nuts is 150 kcal, which is approximately equal to 1 banana or boiled chicken leg.
- Proteins, 7.90 g,
- Fat, 0.10 g,
- Carbohydrates, 5.20 g
The benefits of cola nuts
Cola nut is a natural energetic and brain stimulant. It contains large amounts of caffeine and other natural compounds. Eating a nut, you can not only recharge with energy, but also relieve fatigue and suppress hunger. The cola nut is popular in Muslim countries where alcohol is prohibited, and the nut serves as a natural relaxant and stimulant of the nervous system.
In the production of some medicines, nut extract is used. These drugs are prescribed to combat increased fatigue in the elderly (calorizer). Also, cola fruits are added to confectionery, chocolate, baked goods.
On their basis, energy drinks are produced. The use of cola nuts is recommended for people whose life or work is associated with increased physical, mental or nervous stress.
Effects on the body
- Improves mood and acts as a stimulant of the central nervous system and as an antidepressant, excites and energizes, drowsiness, fatigue and melancholy disappear. Invigorates and improves tone.
- Suppresses appetite, dulls the feeling of hunger, promotes the burning of fats and carbohydrates in the body, and therefore it is very successfully used for weight loss and is often included in dietary supplements for weight loss. It is quite possible to do without lunch and dinner. Has a destructive effect on adipose tissue.
- Leads to muscle relaxation and therefore has a calming effect.
- Helps relieve pain in asthma and bronchitis sufferers by increasing mucus production and helping to clear the airways.
- Helps in the treatment of migraine and headache in patients.
- It is used as an aid for digestion, increases the content of gastric acids in the intestines, an aid in dysentery.
- Strengthens the brain, thoughts become clear. It stimulates concentration, the process of memorization improves, thoughts become clear, increases alertness and increases the physical capabilities of the human body, which is very important for people who are engaged in intellectual work, as well as for schoolchildren or students in preparation for exams.
- Explicitly stimulates the mind and can lead to a euphoric state.
- It is an antioxidant and diuretic.
- Promotes the elimination of toxins and poisons from the body after alcohol poisoning, relieves withdrawal symptoms.
- Stimulates sexual desire and enhances potency, as the flavonoids of cola nuts improve microcirculation and blood supply to tissues.
- It has a beneficial effect on the work of muscles and heart, giving them tone.
Harm and contraindications
However, do not think that because cola nuts are a creation of nature, they are completely safe for us. On the contrary, the constant use of this product (or a single intake of it in large quantities) causes insomnia, arrhythmia, overexcitation and plunges a person into a depressive state.
Needless to say, cola nuts should never be taken by pregnant women, children and elderly people with poor health.
Cola nut in cooking
Cola nuts are widely used in the confectionery industry, they take part in many types of baked goods, chocolate, and they are also consumed both fresh and dried.
In the homeland of the product, in West Africa, the seeds of the cola tree are consumed fresh or dried. Having removed the peel, they chew the nucleolus as long as possible, swallowing saliva. The rest of the pulp is spit out.
To an unaccustomed person, the taste of a nut may seem too bitter. In this case, it is better to prepare “cola tea”. Here’s a simple drink recipe:
- Pour 2 cups of water into a saucepan, put on fire and bring to a boil.
- Place 4-5 nuts in a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and filter through a strainer.
- Cool slightly before use. They drink half a glass once a day.
- The bitter taste of the seeds lends a pleasant flavor to complex drinks. In the Caribbean, a cocktail of rum, amaretto, raw egg and candied cola is popular. Bars in Europe serve a non-alcoholic aperitif made from lemon, mango and pear juices, seasoned with turmeric and powdered cola nuts.
Spicy powder is also used as a seasoning for hot dishes. It is mixed with ground chili, smoked paprika and dill seeds. American chefs add this mixture to fried chicken, fish, vegetable stew, and mayonnaise for sandwiches.
As for the legendary drink “Coca-Cola”, now there are no natural nuts in it – they are being replaced with artificial ingredients.
Other applications of Cola nut
Natural polyphenols in the fruit of the Kola nitida tree act as antioxidants – they activate blood circulation, improve the nutrition of skin cells. Therefore, cola nut extract is included in anti-aging face creams, toning lotions and anti-cellulite foods. On the basis of the walnut, they create shampoos against dandruff and hair loss, tonics for sensitive skin and tanning foods.
Athletes use the tonic nut to increase endurance in training and achieve better results. The product is not doping – it is an officially recognized ingredient in sports drinks.
Cola nut is a powerful aphrodisiac. Theobromine, which is part of it, actively dilates blood vessels, causing a rush of blood to the pelvic region. This increases male potency and sexual arousal in women.
How to choose and store correctly
Since cola trees do not grow in temperate latitudes, you can buy a medicinal nut in Russia only in specialized stores. The best product is considered to be grown in the regions of its origin – Nigeria, Cameroon, Benin and Congo. Quality goods are also supplied by plantations in India and Sri Lanka. To be sure of the ecological purity of the walnut, it is worth purchasing it in organic stores.
Store the cola seeds in a cool, dry place. The best way is to wrap it in a black bag and place it in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Residents of the Caribbean and the South of the United States use a different method:
- Lightly dampen a small cotton towel with cold water.
- Wrap the nuts tightly with a towel.
- Place the package in a glass jar with a screw cap.
- Close and place in the kitchen cabinet.
- In this form, nuts can be stored for a long time, even with damaged skin.