What is Kpomo?
Cow skin, popularly known as Kpomo, Ponmo or Kanda, is a favorite of many Nigerians. A regular sight at parties, it has become a preferred alternative for some. In fact, no “assorted” is complete without Kpomo. It is wrong to say kpomo has no nutritional value because there are several health benefits of eating kpomo which are derived from its nutritional profile.
However, Compared to regular meats, it has low protein and skin-collagen. A 100g of boiled, thick kpomo contains about 224.65kcal of energy, 6.80g of carbohydrate, about 43.9g of water, 46.9g of protein, 1.09g of fat, and 0.02g of fibre. For micronutrients, it contains small amounts of calcium (61mg), iron (4.3mg), magnesium (12mg), phosphorus (36mg) and Zinc (6.79mg).
Health Benefits of Kpomo
Kpomo and Weight Loss
Kpomo is a low calorie food, one cooked forty gram serving of Pomo has only 37 calories. Cutting calories, no matter where they are coming from (fat or carbs), reduces your overall energy intake and will help you lose weight. Scientists have been studying low-calorie diets since as far back as the 1980s, investigating claims that they may slow the aging process. For weight loss, the science is simple: Take in fewer calories than you burn (via daily living and deliberate exercise), and you will lose weight. Following a low-calorie kpomo diet typically means consuming 1000 to 1500 calories per day. This creates a calorie deficit that can lead to weight loss. It can be effective, but it requires a lot of discipline in order for it to work and be safe. Ideally, you should seek help from a nutritionist or doctor so that you don’t restrict your calories too much or miss out on essential nutrients.
Although the protein quality of kpomo is low, a 100g of boiled, thick kpomo contains just 46.9g of protein, which significantly increases if the kpomo has meat attachments. Let us look at the quality of what it contributes. Cow skin, Ponmo, contains a lot of collagen. When rating protein, the amino acid (building blocks of protein) profile is often looked at. When comparing Ponmo to lean beef, beef takes the prize in quality of protein.
Collagen when cooked forms gelatin. Gelatin is also called hydrolyzed collagen and it contains at least eight essential amino acids along with other non-essential amino acids. However, it does not contain all essential amino acids. It is therefore regarded as having lower biological value. For muscle meat, it contains all essential amino acids. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. Because our bodies produce collagen, it is not essential that we must eat collagen for growth. However, as we grow older, our ability to produce collagen reduces leading us to have wrinkles. Eating too much sugar or refined carbohydrates (white flour, white rice), smoking and ultraviolet rays from the sun also reduces our ability to produce collagen.
Kponmo and Fat
Kponmo or Ponmo is a low fat food, a 100g of boiled, thick kpomo contains 1.09g of fat. Eating a diet high in fat can increase the risk of developing cancer, particularly cancers of the colon and breast. Studies of cancer rates and eating habits among the different people of the world show a consistent relationship between high-fat diets and high overall cancer rates. On the other, hand low fat food like Kpomo with very low fat content lowers such risk.
Kponmo and Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber refers to nutrients in the diet that are not digested by gastrointestinal enzymes but still fulfill an important role. Kpomo is a very good source of dietary fiber, which are important for our digestive health and regular bowel movements. Fiber also helps you feel fuller for longer, can improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels and can assist in preventing some diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer.
A 100g of kpomo contains small amounts of calcium about (61mg), Calcium is a mineral found in many foods. The body needs calcium to maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions. Almost all calcium is stored in bones and teeth, where it supports their structure and hardness.
Kpomo also contains small amounts of iron. Iron is a mineral that our bodies need for many functions. For example, iron is part of hemoglobin, a protein which carries oxygen from our lungs throughout our bodies. It helps our muscles store and use oxygen. Iron is also part of many other proteins and enzymes. Your body needs the right amount of iron.
Another very important micronutrient found in this meat source is magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that is important for normal bone structure in the body. People get magnesium from their diet, but sometimes magnesium supplements are needed if magnesium levels are too low. Dietary intake of magnesium may be low, particularly among women. One of magnesium’s most important jobs is to regulate muscle function throughout the body and that includes the heart muscle. In the body, magnesium helps the heart maintain a healthy rhythm. It also helps regulate blood pressure and the production of cholesterol.
Phosphorus is a mineral that makes up 1% of a person’s total body weight. It is the second most abundant mineral in the body. It is present in every cell of the body. Most of the phosphorus in the body is found in the bones and teeth. A 100g of boiled, thick kpomo contains 36mg of Phosphorus, which works with calcium to help build bones. Phosphorus also plays an important structural role in nucleic acids and cell membranes. And it’s involved in the body’s energy production.
Zinc is a vital mineral that your body uses in countless ways. In fact, zinc is the second-most-abundant trace mineral in your body after iron and is present in every cell. Zinc is necessary for the activity of over 300 enzymes that aid in metabolism, digestion, nerve function and many other processes. Zinc is also vital to the development and function of the male sex organs. Males with zinc deficiency have been shown to have less developed testes and reduced sperm count. Zinc may be used as a potential treatment for ED. Zinc helps produce key sex hormones, such as testosterone and prolactin. A 100g kponmo provides 6.79mg of Zinc.
Health Concerns About Kpomo Consumption
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control warns the general public to be careful of the consumption of ponmo! According to a study conducted by Akwetey W. Y., Eremong D. C. and Donkoh and published in the Journal of Animal Science Advances, the quantities of nutrients in pomo is directly dependent on the method of production. The study also reported that contaminants are most likely introduced into kpomo based on the methods of production. For instance, the pomo made through roasting in flames made with tyre and petrochemicals, is more likely to carry residual elements which would be unsuitable for consumption and may have dangerous effects on the body.
Nevertheless, there are concerns that some chemical substances given to cattle (for veterinary reasons) prior to slaughter, may remain in the the skin and subsequently passed on to humans who eat the skin. This in addition to fears that the skin harbors parasites, lesions or diseases which could be transferred into the food chain. Furthermore, there are concerns that unscrupulous pomo processors/producers inject chemical agents into pomo to plump it up and make it more appealing for buyers.