Does Efo Riro Offer Any Health Benefits? A Careful Look


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Efo riro, a pride of native Yorubas and the delight of several Nigerians. Its delicious and captivating blend of vegetables, dried fish, assorted meat and spices will leave your taste buds in eternal awe for days. Even the Nigerian party planners know the deal as they never fail to include it in ‘Mama Simbi’s’ list of foods to prepare.

This delicacy can be taken alongside other dishes like pounded yam, amala, wheat, boiled/fried plantain, etc. or even eaten alone (this shows you how incredible it tastes). A generation of similar recipes has been passed down from our great elders unto us, coming together to form unadulterated pleasantness of the amazing Efo riro.

But still, the question arises to the mind, “putting aside pleasure and stomach satiety, are we gaining any health benefits from indulging in this meal?”. A lot of us are very conscious of our health and what we take in and as a result, we go hard to ensure that ourselves and our families/ friends bask in optimal health – with an emphasis on getting the full package of nutrients that comes from our daily meals.

Well, are there truly any health benefits of eating efo riro?

The ingredients used in the preparation of efo riro all have individual nutritional value and health benefits attached to them and so, yes indeed, we get a variety of nutrients and health benefits from eating efo riro. For a clearer understanding, let us take a quick look at all the ingredients.

  • Vegetables (Ugwu, Soko or Spinach)


Certainly, we’re all aware that vegetables carry an incredible nutritional profile. They contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber needed for the proper functioning of various systems and organs and improving overall health.

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The powerful antioxidants help to fight and destroy free moving radicals in the body while fiber assits in digestive functions. The presence of fiber could also be beneficial to those who want to lose weight as it (fiber) induces feelings of fullness after consumption and cuts excessive calorie intake.

  • Scotch bonnet (Ata rodo)

Scotch bonnet (ata rodo)

Responsible for the spicy taste of efo riro, ata rodo boasts impressive nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, C and K1, potassium, copper, capsiacin and several other bioactive componds – this makes it possible for them to fight against toxins and harmful bacteria. They also contain small amounts of carbohydrates and fiber.

  • Bell peppers (Tatashe)

Bell peppers (tatashe)

Bell peppers contain vitamins, minerals, folate and healthy antioxidants like quercetin that can significantly boost eye health and reduce your risk of having anemia.

  • Onion

Onions contain sufficient amounts of water, carbohydrates, vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, potassium and fiber. Their main fiber content, fructans, feed friendly bacteria in the gut and provide a number of other health benefits.

  • Stock fish

Stock fish

An excellent addition to most meals, stock fish sure knows how to spice things up. They are good sources of vitamin D, high-quality protein, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients improve brain health, boost physical development and reduce the risk of having stroke and other heart diseases.

  • Dried cat fish

Smoked catfish

Catfish are rich in vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein, all of which are known to improve mental health and cognitive function as well as reduce the risk of certain heart diseases.

  • Cow Meat / Turkey / Chicken

Cow meat and fleshy chunks of chicken or turkey are very good sources of high quality protein and several bioactive compounds. These nutrients help to prevent anemia, boost energy levels, maintain muscle mass and improve exercise performance. They also contain various vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, iron, niacin, and vitamin B6.

  • Locust beans

Locust beans

Locust beans contains good amounts of fiber and other nutrients that may significantly lower blood sugar and fat content in the blood. Locust beans is also said to be beneficial for eye health.

  • Palm oil

Commonly used for cooking in Nigeria, palm oil has been associated with several health benefits, including boosting brain function, reducing the risk of heart disease and improving vitamin A status.

Bottom line

Efo riro contains ingredients with amazing nutritional profile and so, wthen indulging in your next plate of efo riro, bear in mind that your nutritional health is covered.

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