Can You Eat Donkwa During Pregnancy?


The origin of Donkwa has a contradiction. While the Hausas, a tribe in the Northern part of Nigeria, claims to be the mainspring, other West African countries like Togo, Ghana and the Benin Republic share the same sentiments.


 The Eastern part of Ghana (The Ewe tribe) believes that Donkwa has existed as a traditional diet from the time being. However, the name Donkwa or Dodonkwa has a Hausa bearing. It is referred to as Zowey or Dzowey by the Ghanaians. 


This article focuses on the types of Donkwa, their nutritional value, and health benefits regarding pregnancy and possible side effects.


What is donkwa?

Donkwa, also known as tanfiri by the Yorubas, is a savoury, delicious street snack made from cornmeal, peanuts, and other optional spices. It is primarily found in Northern Nigeria but has spread to several other states.  It is a street snack because it is commonly hawked or sold in nylon bags or papers from food carts. This traditional snack can be eaten as a starter or appetizer and taken as a snack alongside yogurts, smoothies or fruit drinks.



The sweetest thing about donkwa is its method of preparation. It is one of the snacks that do not require cooking. Donkwa is prepared simply by blending an already roasted cornmeal, groundnut, sugar and chilly pepper (optional) into a fine powder. Pour into a bowl, add little drops of groundnut oil and water, and then mold it into small balls.



Types of donkwa

If you are tired of the regular donkwa with cornmeal as its chief ingredient and just plain sugar, rest assured that there are other variants to replace the sugar content. Here are other variant you can try:


  • Tiger nut donkwa
  • Dates donkwa
  • Honey donkwa



Nutritional content of donkwa

The healthy, delicious snacks contain the following nutrients:

  • Protein (26.28%)
  • Fiber (1.06g%)
  • Fats (9.87%)
  • Folate



Health benefits of donkwa in pregnancy

The consumption of donkwa during pregnancy has many health benefits due to its nutritional composition. They include:


  •  Donkwa contains dietary fiber, which helps digestion and makes it easier to pass stool during pregnancy.

  • The protein content in groundnut, either in its raw state or roasted, prevents excessive weight gain.

  • Donkwa also contains folates, which are required for the proper development of your baby during pregnancy.
  • It contains good cholesterol, given the fatty acid content is monounsaturated, which gives it the ability to aid the heart and brain function.
  • The antioxidants in donkwa or tanfiri balls can help boost mental health. 
  • Cornmeal also helps lower cholesterol levels, thereby improving cardiovascular health.


Side effects of donkwa in pregnancy

One of the problems associated with donkwa is inadequate hygiene during and after production, added to the poor preservation techniques. The storage method, especially those purchased from street vendors, is unknown and may pose a risk to you and your baby’s health.



 Properly observing the ones stored on the shelf may reveal yeasts and molds, and these contaminants give rise to food-borne diseases. The nut class, such as maize and peanuts, are susceptible to Aflatoxins, a fungal toxin that commonly contaminates crops during production, harvest and storage.


Another adverse effect can be derived from allergic reactions. Your immune system may react unpleasantly to any ingredients used in donkwa preparation.




 Donkwa is a potent source of protein, aside from helping your baby grow normally. It also aids the growth and repair of new and damaged tissues and establishes antibodies for your immune system.


No life-threatening risk is associated with consuming donkwa during pregnancy. However, ensure the delicious traditional snack does not replace a main dish. Apply moderation for each intake. Do not hesitate to contact your medical practitioner for any allergic reaction.


Frequently asked questions 

Can I eat donkwa during pregnancy?

You can eat donkwa during pregnancy. 


Is donkwa healthy for a pregnant woman?

The nutritional contents of donkwa make it a healthy choice for a pregnant woman.


Where can I buy donkwa?

It is primarily seen in the Northern areas or online vendors.


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