Health benefits of Kola nut: treat migraines, prostate cancer and more

Ever heard about Kola nut? Let us enlighten you with this tropical fruit indigenous to West Africa. Kola nut is the fruit of the kola (cola) tree which belongs to the cocoa family as well as the mallow family.

These caffeine-containing are native to the tropical rainforests of Africa and are used as flavoring ingredients in beverages applied to various carbonated soft drinks, from which the name cola originates.

The trees of this cola species reach heights of 40 to 60 feet and produce a star-shaped fruit. Each fruit consists of around two to five kola nuts- about the size of a chestnut.

When chewed fresh, Kola nuts have a bitter taste but, after they’re dried the flavour becomes milder and they smell like nutmeg.

Each nut contains more caffeine than two large cups of American coffee. It is a significant cash crop for poor rural farmers in West Africa, and many chew them daily for their daily dose of caffeine.

It is classified as a natural food flavouring. The FDA has also approved kola extract as an inactive ingredient in certain pharmaceuticals. Kola nut extract is also marketed as an herbal supplement.

It is to be noted that Kola nut should not be consumed in any form by pregnant or breastfeeding women or those under the age of 18 because of its caffeine quantity.

Health Benefits of Kola Nuts

  • Boosts metabolism: As this fruit contains caffeine, it may boost a person’s metabolism.
  • Aid Digestion: Kola nuts are believed to promote the production of gastric acid, which increases digestive enzyme effectiveness in the stomach.
  • Increase blood circulation: The caffeine and theobromine in Kola nut can speed up the heart rate, resulting in an increase in blood circulation.
  • Boosts energy level: The kola species naturally stimulates the central nervous system which helps increase alertness and boosts energy level.
  • Antibacterial Properties: According to the studies, kola nut extract can help stop the growth of harmful bacteria in the body.

Apart from that, the consumption of kola nuts can help improve several health conditions.

Prostate Cancer

Although more research is yet to be conducted, earlier studies claimed that certain compounds found in the kola nut may be able to decrease the risk of prostate cancer.

The research is still being debated, but it is believed that the phytoestrogens present in kola nuts may kill cancer cells and stop tumors from growing.


Migraines often affect the blood vessels in the head and the caffeine contained in kola nuts can help with that kind of headache.

The theobromine and caffeine in these tropical nuts may dilute or widen blood vessels in the brain, which can help decrease migraine pain.


Caffeine is said to be helpful for asthma if consumed in lighter consistency. Although kola nuts may not be recommended as a treatment for respiratory conditions, they may be useful for people with certain breathing problems, such as asthma.

Nutrition Value

Kola nut contains two to three percent of caffeine and one to two percent of theobromine, both of which act as stimulants when consumed.

While caffeine is commonly found in coffee and soft cola drinks, theobromine can be looked for in green tea and chocolate.

These seeds also contain micronutrients including potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

Meanwhile, everything has some drawbacks, risks, and side effects- and so do kola nuts. Do not skip the disadvantages while you are content with its advantages.


Although kola nuts are a natural source of nutrients, they may not suit everyone. Especially to those who are allergic to nuts may get affected by kola nuts as well. If so, they could show symptoms such as hives, upset stomach, and breathing difficulties.

People with certain medical conditions should not be advised of kola nuts or products that contain their extracts. For instance, people with high blood sugar or certain cardiac conditions can get highly affected by kola nuts due to their stimulant effect.

Other than that, people who face trouble sleeping or staying asleep may want to avoid these nuts as well. The high level of caffeine in them along with the supplements present, may stimulate the central nervous system and make sleeping difficult.

Side Effects

The side effects of kola nut may vary from person to person, depending on the quantity of consumption. Possible side effects of the kola nut include:

Increase in blood pressure: The nut can easily raise blood pressure due to the active ingredients present in kola nuts which are stimulants to the body. People who already have high blood pressure or are under medication for it should check with their doctor before using any product containing kola nuts.

Difficulty in sleeping: Consuming products containing kola nuts can lead to insomnia or problems falling and staying asleep. Those suffering from sleep disorders are advised to avoid stimulants that contain caffeine, including kola nuts.

Shakiness: Since kola nuts can affect the central nervous system, they can lead to shakiness, tremors, and anxiousness. Therefore, people with anxiety are likely to suffer from shakiness due to kola nuts.

Nausea: Overeating kola nuts can lead to stomach problems. Some people may experience stomach pains because of the increased production of stomach acids with the consumption of kola nuts.

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