I had rather take unsweetened food to a bitter one. Most people, unlike me have a sweet tooth. But it all boils down to the fact that you cannot enjoy bitter foods unless you acquire the taste. The bitter kola is bitter while the kola nut, when chewed are somewhat bitter, but leave a pleasant sweet aftertaste. And they both have lots of benefits!
The kola nut comes from the kola tree, an evergreen that thrives in tropical Africa. Kola nuts are small, round or oval-shaped and comes in a wide range of colours- from brownish-white and light green to pink and dark purple. They look like large chestnuts and smell a bit like nutmeg.
Bitter kola or Garcinia kola is a tropical flowering plant found in western and central Africa and it produces brown, nut-like seeds. It contains dimeric flavonoid, which is believed to have many healing benefits and has been used for medicinal purposes in the African culture for centuries.
Health Benefits of kola nut
African kola nuts are believed to contain more caffeine than coffee though studies have shown that kola nuts contain approximately 2 percent caffeine. Other constituents of kola nuts include glucose, starch, betaine and protein.
An appropriate dose for energy is between 1 to 2 tsp. of the powdered kola nut mixed with a liquid either water or milk.
Kola nut contains the stimulants caffeine, theobromine and theophylline. Theophylline relaxes smooth muscle and dilates bronchioles in the lungs to benefit sufferers of asthma and bronchitis. Theobromine makes the heart beat faster, dilates blood vessels, and reduces blood pressure, as well as dilating bronchioles in the lungs. In addition to opening the blood vessels and lungs, the caffeine and other stimulants in kola nuts provide energy to those suffering from chronic fatigue and tiredness.
The kola nut is a central nervous system stimulant that suppresses appetite and aids in weight loss. It decreases metabolism and provides an extra boost of energy that can help with aerobic exercises as part of a general weight-loss regimen.
Garcinia Kola also suppresses appetite. It works by boosting serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter or natural drug that the brain uses to regulate moods. When you eat large amounts of carbohydrates, the amino acids used to break down sugar are pulled out of your blood and concentrated in your muscles. This makes more room in your brain for the chemicals used to build neurotransmitters like serotonin. This is why depression often leads to carbohydrate binging. Your brain knows that eating carbohydrates will give it more of the serotonin it needs. Bitter kola prevents carbohydrate-binging, allowing you to enjoy a normal, healthy appetite for fresh, nutritious foods by improving your serotonin levels. Due to this fact, it is particularly effective when used in combination with a low-carbohydrate diet. [pull_quote_right]In effect, dieters can snack on kola nut or bitter kola![/pull_quote_right]
Studies have also shown that bitter kola interferes with your body’s ability to produce and store new fat, causing more of your own stored fat to be burned off for energy. It can also decrease the levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the body.
Garcinia Kola prevents the carbohydrates you eat from being converted into new fat by inhibiting the actions of a specific enzyme in your liver called ATP Cytrate Lyase. This enzyme is specifically responsible for the conversion of carbohydrates to fat and is also related to the production of cholesterol.
Kola nut is said to increase the production of gastric acid in the body, which is known to promote healthy digestion. It may be used as a remedy for diarrhea. Some tribes in West Africa chew kola nut before every meal to aid in digestion.
Bitter kola is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it useful for preventing infections and viruses, especially of the immune system. It is often used to treat the symptoms of colds. It is suggested, in particular, for coughs and sneezing.
Kola nuts were used primarily to make cola beverages. However, most mainstream colas have replaced the original kola nut extract with a synthetic replica. They are also used in the production of laxatives and heart stimulants.
On the other hand bitter kola is used as a substitute for hops in brewing lager beer as it is especially useful in preventing beer spoilage.
In a study published in 2003, researchers found that ingesting high amounts (35mg per day) of kola nut resulted in malaria-like symptoms. High intake of foods containing caffeine can have some negative side effects such as disrupting your sleep patterns and also increasing the heart rate, which can pose problems for anyone with a heart condition.
So would you rather take bitter kola or kola nut? I subscribe to both!