Kunu is a traditional drink native to the Northern part of Nigeria. It is made from grains such as millet, maize, rice or sorghum. Depending on the grain used, it is known in Hausa language as “kunun aya” (from tigernuts), “kunun gyada” (from groundnut milk and rice gruel) or kunun zaki (from Millet and potatoes).
How to Prepare/Make Kunu
First make sure that the grain (maize, millet or rice) or tigernut is clean and allowed to germinate after which it is soaked in water for a few days. The soaked grain is then blended with sweet potatoes and ginger into a smooth paste. The paste is then divided into two parts. Boiled water is poured into one part and stirred into a thick mixture while the other part is added gradually to the mixture and stirred continually. The mixture is kept for about a day (24 hours) then filtered to remove larger particles and is ready to be consumed. It is best served chilled.
The Health Benefits of Kunu Drink
Bearing in mind the composition of the drink, it has a combined effect of the individual ingredients and as so has great benefits to human health. Scientific analysis has shown that ginger contains hundreds of compounds which contribute to health and sweet potatoes is an excellent source of vitamin A(retinol) and a good source of vitamin C, Copper, Pantothenic acid and pyridoxine(Vitamin B6). Some of the benefits of drinking kunu includes;
The phenolic compounds in ginger, a major component of kunu are known to help relieve gastrointestinal irritation, stimulate bile and saliva production and suppress gastric contractions as food and fluids move through the gastro intestinal tract. .
The rich fiber component of the grains used in making kunu prevents constipation and promotes bowel emptying. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that high compliance with a high-fiber, low fat diet is associated with reduced risk of colon cancer and colorectal adenoma recurrence.
Protect the Heart
Key ingredients in kunu such as millet contains a poly nutrient known as lignin which has cancer fighting properties and is beneficial to the heart. It also contains a lot of magnesium and potassium and both play important roles in reducing blood pressure.
Kunu is known to act as a muscle relaxant, largely due to the mild fermentation that occurred during the 24 hours maturation period. This effect is very beneficial for working out or long physical exercise
Pregnancy and Breast Milk flow
In Nigeria and many parts of Africa, kunu is recommended for new mothers who are unable to produce milk to stimulate milk production. Although the mechanism by which it achieves this remarkable feat is unknown, the consumption of kunu during this period is accompanied with spontaneous and improved production of breast milk. Nausea a common symptom during the first trimester can be controlled by taking this drink. It also helps to increase blood supply to the growing foetus and helps to reduce problems associated with indigestion.
Apart from the benefit of rehydration, kunu also contains vitamin C (Ascorbic acid), a powerful antioxidant that helps boost immunity, fight cardiovascular diseases, promote healthy skin and prevent cancer.
Having known some of the health benefits of this wonderful drink, replacing your soda and other carbonated drinks with kunu and other health friendly drinks would be a wise idea.