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Acha (fonio) is an exotic millet. It has two species- white (Digitaria exilis) and black (Digitaria iburua), mostly grown across the dry savannas, particularly on the upland plateau of central Nigeria with the black species restricted to the Jos-Bauchi Plateau of Nigeria.

It has amazing flavour, taste, nutritional and health benefits. The grains are used in making porridge, bread, beer, desserts and pasta. It can also be eaten as a cereal, as stir fry or salads.

Nutritional Benefits

Acha grain has excellent nutritional properties vital to human health. It is a gluten-free diet and a rich source of minerals, vitamins, protein, fibre, sulfur, carbohydrate, iron, and amino acids containing methionine and cysteine.

Health Benefits

Acha is an excellent meal for weight loss and diabetes. It is rich in energy and aids digestion because it contains a large quantity of fibre which can reduce bloating, stomach problems, and bowel inconsistencies.

The food is easy to digest hence very good for children and elderly people. It stimulates appetite and secretion of digestive juices, helps in bowel movements and prevents constipation.

Consuming acha aids cardiovascular function and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disorders including heart disease and stroke.

It has insulin-secreting properties and aids in controlling blood sugar levels in the body.

It has essential amino acids, folic acid and iron recommended for pregnant and lactating women and good in preventing anaemia.

Skin and Hair Benefits

Methionine in acha is important for the formation of cartilage. It strengthens the nails and hair, and aids in preventing hair loss.

It also has an anti-aging effect on the skin and helps in detoxification it, thus keeps the skin healthy.

Cystine in acha helps in healing wounds or burns.

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This article was first published on 13th September 2018


An Environment Resource Management graduate of Abia State University with her Masters in-view, Chinwe is also a Columnist, an OAP, a sought-after motivational speaker and writer with special interest in food and the balance of diet.

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