Coula edulis is commercially known as Gabon nuts, African walnuts, congowood and tiger wood. Though it is not related to walnuts, it is named as African walnut because it resembles walnut in physical appearance. Gabon nut belongs to the family of Olacaceae. The flavor of the nut is said to be between chestnut and hazelnut.
How it is grown
The Gabon nut is an ellipsoidal drupe with a single kernel surrounded by flesh. It measures 3-4 cm in length and 5-6 mm of thickness. The nut is smooth textured and red or green in color. The shell of the kernel is very hard and that makes it difficult to germinate. The nuts are found under the mother trees. They are available during the period of August to January.
Where it is grown
Gabon tree is basically native to West Africa and its distribution range is from Sierra Leone to Angola. It is found growing plenty in Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. The Gabon tree grows in tropical regions and it can bear light shades. It does not require special soil for growth.
Gabon nut is a rich source of all the nutrients required for optimal health. It contains good amount of minerals, protein, vitamins, healthy fats, anti oxidants and fiber. It contains vitamins such as vitamin E, B6, B7, thiamin and folates. The nut is rich in fat, out of which 87% is oleic acid which is considered as one of the healthy fatty acids. It is capable of reducing the cholesterol level. It also contains essential anti oxidants like juglone, flavonol morin and tannin that are not found in our regular foods.
Coula edulis, the Gabon nut is considered as the king of nuts as it has numerous health benefits. Regular intake of Gabon nuts in regular diet contributes much in maintaining the body health. Some of the health benefits of Gabon nuts are listed below.
- The presence of omega3 and 6 fatty acids, it prevents immune infections, promotes cell growth, memory power and cognitive skills. Also the protein and fiber in Gabon nut makes it to maintain ideal weight.
- As they contain vitamins such as vitamin E, B6, B7 they help to reduce hair fall, strengthen the hair, and promotes healthy hair growth.
- The Gabon nut helps prevent cancer risk as they contain phytosterols, omega 3 fatty acid, anti oxidant.
- African walnuts reduce the risk of getting affected by type2 diabetes.
- Recent research on Gabon nut has revealed that it improves fertility in men.
- It contains amino acid 1-arginine that helps to prevent cardio related problems.
Facts and other uses
Every part of the Gabon tree is used as either raw or processed. The bark of the tree is used as enemas for loin pains and kidney disorders. The Gabon wood is bronze yellow in color with irregular stripes and hence they are called tiger wood. It is used in furniture and cabinet construction for its hard and close- grained texture. The nuts are also processed to yield oil that has high medicinal values.