Palm wine is a very popular local drink in Nigeria and most parts of Africa. The palm sap ranges from sweet to sour and comes with many health benefits.
In considering the benefits of drinking palm wine, we must also be cautious about the adverse effects that excess intake bring.
1. Palm-wine could give rise to neurological symptoms like affecting body rigidity and muscle contraction.
2. The high ethanol content in palm-wine can affect liver function and lipid metabolism causiing liver damage.
3. Palm-wine decreases blood clotting factor, leading to uncontrolled bleeding.
4. It can also weaken the heart muscle and ability to pump blood.
5. It causes fat to accumulate in the liver.
6. Fermented palm-wine contains a high percentage of alcohol, which is probably higher than what is found in some of the alcoholic beverages we drink. Since the lifespan of palm-wine is only 12 hours, that means what we mostly have is fermented palm-wine which destroys the kidney, liver and other systems in the body. This can also cause hypertension.
7. Pregnant women should not drink fermented palm wine at all. It can cause miscarriages, still births and some abnormalities in babies because of its high alcoholic content. Alcohol is capable of crossing the placenta into the fetus causing fetal alcohol syndrome. This can lead to mental retardation and make a child to have a low intelligence quotient (IQ) and hence will be dull in school or any other activity that requires some level of IQ.
When buying Palm Wine
You should be careful with your source for palm wine. In villages and places with abundance of palm trees, it is very easy to get fresh palm wine. However, when sources are scarce, palm wine sellers are known to dilute fresh palm wine with water and add artificial sweeteners like saccharine to make it sweet. The resulting wine is lighter than the normal palm wine and can be spotted easily, but some vendors also add cassava starch to the palm wine to conceal their debauchery and make it whiter.
Drinking adulterated palm wine can cause:
Diarrhea, stomach upset and other water borne diseases if unclean water was used to dilute the palm wine.
The artificial sweetener and sugars used can increase the risk of having type 2 diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.