Palm Wine Has Health Benefits But Should Pregnant Women Drink?

Palm_Wine_Health_Benefits_PregnancyHave you ever heard that palm wine has certain health benefits?


Well, neither had I.

Many sources online suggest that there are health benefits of drinking palm wine such as here and here.

We won’t go into the details here but sources suggest that palm wine offers some of the following nutritional qualities:

  • Pottasium which is key for bone health and reducing blood pressure
  • Iron which is important for maintaining healthy hair, skin and nails
  • Vitamin B1 which helps with vision as well as the brain function

I could go on and on but I won’t. The list of palm wine’s supposed health benefits is endless.

If you love palm wine, that’s good news. But keep in mind that these sources often fail to offer evidence for the supposed health benefits of palm wine.

Is Palm Wine Safe for Pregnant Women?

The question over palm wine’s health benefits is vital for pregnant women. Ladies in pregnancy need to take care of their health and wellbeing more than most.

Perhaps then it’s no surprise then that women in Nigeria and all over the world are asking: can palm wine be good for pregnancy? does palm wine affect pregnancy?

These are great questions because the advice on palm wine during pregnancy is confusing.

On the one hand, women in Nigeria are often told that it is ok, even encouraged, to drink palm wine during pregnancy.

One Nigerian woman at the Baby Centre forum said as follows:

“my sibs and I were born in West Africa and my mom was told to drink palm wine…every day from the 2nd trimester to have energy”.

Now, it may be the case that palm wine provides energy and numerous other health benefits. But there’s a problem…

The A-Word

The problem is that palm wine is alcoholic.

According to the US Surgeon General, women who are pregnant (or considering pregnancy) should not drink alcoholic beverages.

Some pregnant women choose not to take this advice and are happy to drink alcohol in moderation.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is a highly personal decision.

The problem with palm wine though is that women can never make an informed decision. The reason for this is that it’s very difficult to know how much alcohol is in palm wine.

How Alcoholic is Palm Wine?

Most palm wine is mostly sold informally or brewed at home. Therefore there’s no indication of the alcohol content on the palm wine via a manufacturer’s label.

The picture is complicated by the vast variety of different palm wine varieties in each region of Nigeria – Emu, Oguro, Tombo Liquor, Nkwu Enu, Nkwu Ocha and Mmin Efik being popular varieties and names.

The alcohol content of palm wine varies depends on the origin of the sap as well as the stage of fermentation and distillation.

Before palm wine has fermented, it will be non-alcoholic but over the course of fermentation, the alcohol levels will grow up to 4%. Once distilled, the palm wine will have an ever greater alcohol content.

Of course, for Nigerians based in the UK or US, it may be possible to buy palm wine online. The main brand of manufactured palm wine is Kirel and the alcohol content is clearly indicated on the bottle. Our UK and US readers who are pregnant will be able to consider the alcohol content and make their own minds up.

Pregnant Women Best Stay Clear

However, let’s be clear – The safest option for pregnant women is to stay clear of palm wine during their pregnancy. This is particularly so if the palm wine is sold informally or made at home.

By the way, if you’re interested in Nigerian drinks, check out our other pieces on Nigeria’s favourite drinks such as Chapman, Zobo and Orijin.

1 Comment

  1. Anthonia

    March 30, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Are you discussing biterkola or kola nut because they are two different things need a clarification please

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