Whether taken in the evening after work or during events such as traditional weddings, whether taken in a wooden cup alone in the comfort of your home or when relaxing with friends under a village hut or even in a five star hotel well bottled up; the refreshingly sweet or sour taste of palm wine is an experience of pure bliss that has no clear cut description. Palm wine is a local drink tapped from some species of palm tree and can be fresh or fermented. It is sometimes adulterated with sweetners but the natural or fresh palm wine is highly nutritious and laden with health benefits. Fresh palm wine is the type that has been harvested within a time frame of 24 hours and thereafter it begins to ferment leading to gradual increase in the alcohol content. Fermented alcohol is a rich source of ethyl alcohol. Once it ferments, it becomes sour and described as alcoholic beverage.
The nutrients function in various organs of the body to bring about good health. It contains vitamins. An example of such is vitamin C which helps in building connective tissues in the body. This has a huge role to play in certain parts of the eyes, such as the blood vessels of the lens and thus delaying eye conditions like cataracts. It also prevents macular degeneration. In the skin, vitamin C promotes removal of dead cells and enhances replacement with new cells. These functions improves eye vision and makes the skin appear smooth, healthy and glowing. Other vitamins includes vitamin B. Vitamin B functions in the retina of the eye. It also nourishes the skin, nails and hair. The rich source of vitamins also helps fight cancers. Other micronutrients in palm wine that can nourish the eyes and skin includes potassium, zinc, iron and magnesium. Potassium helps keep the eyes moist and promote a healthy heart function. It is also required for the normal functioning of the nerves and muscles. Palm wine is a rich source of yeast.
More importantly but widely unknown is that palm wine is a rich source of amino acids required by the body. The human body is made up of proteins which is built from amino acids. Protein plays an important role in the repair of the human tissues.
Unresearched beliefs state that consumption of freshly tapped palm wine improves lactation in nursing mothers. It is widely used locally to treat skin rashes as it has a soothing effect and reliefs skin itching.
Do you know that this same palm can be harmful? The many side effects of palm wine are widely known. Fermented palm wine has high quantity of alcohol which is harmful to the body when consumed in excess. These include, hypertension, heart failure, kidney failure and liver failure. Excessive consumption can cause liver damage from accumulation of lipids especially in pregnant women.
Other side effects are dementia and a myriad of neurological problems that may manifest as rigidity or tremors. It can also lead to social and interpersonal problems, financial problems in the family, mental and psychological problems.
In conclusion, consumption of fresh palm wine is highly nutritious and beneficial to health but once it ferments, it becomes like any other alcoholic beverage that can cause damage to the body. There is no hard way to tell the freshness of palmwine other than simply drinking it. Fresh palm wine tastes sweet but if fermented it taste sour and acidic. Like everything that is preached daily, moderation in consumption of palm wine is key.