Is Nsala Soup Safe During Pregnancy?


If you have an origin in the Igbo society or have a bearing in the riverine areas and have not tasted this mouthwatering delicacy, then you’re missing!  


Nsala soup, also known as white soup, resonates from the eastern and riverine parts of Nigeria, particularly the Anambra people. It is similar to afia efere, shared among the Efiks. The extra condiments added to afia efere differentiate it from Nsala. It is known as white soup because, unlike every other soup, it does not require palm oil in its preparation.


Traditionally, nsala soup requires the use of catfish. This aids in giving it a distinctive taste. In the absence of catfish, other animal proteins can be procured and used.


The primary thickener used in this type of soup is pounded yam, but in cases of its unavailability, cocoyam or achi can suffice. The substitutes, however, are nothing compared to the consistency the pounded yam gives.


It is served with any swallow, like pounded yam, fufu, eba, amala, and semolina. It can be enjoyed with boiled rice,agidi, boiled yam or pepper soup.


Does nsala soup have any nutritional and health benefits?

The spices and ingredients used in the soup preparation contribute to the many health benefits derived from it. They are rich in antioxidants that keep the body in optimum condition.


Yam is rich in dietary fibre, potassium and, most significantly, carbohydrates. Utazi leaves contain essential amino acids and flavonoids, while catfish have sufficient nutrients like vitamin B12, protein, phosphorus and sodium.


Just one dish of nsala soup contains a variety of nutrients. They include:

  • Nsala soup is rich in many nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, fibre, and selenium, which helps the body fight anxiety, develop the brain cells and equally aids in good vision.
  • It contains vitamin C and bioflavonoids, which helps boost the immune system to combat flu and other health challenges.
  • Ensures adequate blood circulation and reduces the risks of heart-related issues. Capsaicin helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides, which may contribute to heart diseases.
  • Due to its spiciness, nsala soup is ideal for the cold rainy season. It helps clear nasal congestion.
  • It helps make a woman who has just gone through childbearing snap back. The nutritional contents in nsala soup contract the uterus and equally flushes off bad blood.
  • Ideal for breastfeeding mothers. Research conducted in 2020 once showed that utazi leaves, one of the ingredients for nsala soup during lactation, prevent the increase of blood sugar levels in the baby.

Is nsala soup safe for pregnant women?

We are aware of the many cravings that come with pregnancy. Nsala soup is always one of many such cravings.


No scientific or medical report has shown that ofe nsala harms pregnant women and their unborn babies. No study proves it can trigger off miscarriage or congenital disabilities. You have the leisure to enjoy the delicacy without fear of any side effects as it is richly packed with the proper nutrients you and your baby need. 


The ingredients used in the preparation of nsala soup aid digestion and prevents irritation that may occur during your trimester stages.


 If you, however, realise you are reacting a certain way after consumption, it may result from an ingredient your system does not align with. Do well to consult your doctor when this happens.


Ingredients for preparing nsala soup:

  • Raw yam or yam flour
  • Assorted meat or chicken/catfish
  • Stockfish/dry fish
  • Smoked fish
  • Crayfish 
  • Ogiri okpei
  • Uziza leaves(Hot leaves)
  • Ehuru(African nutmeg)
  • Uda pod
  • Uhio
  • Fresh pepper
  • Seasoning cubes
  • Salt


Method of preparation 

Season and prepare your protein, and cook till it is correctly done. Set aside.


Peel and boil yam until soft, then pound to a smooth consistency with the help of a mortar and pestle of a food processor.


Proceed to add the yam paste in bits into your stock and cover to let the soup boil, and the paste dissolves without lumps. Add the ogiri afterwards, and equally let it dissolve.


Add the pepper, seasoning cubes: crayfish, ground ehuru, uda and smoked fish. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.


Finally, add the uziza leaves, and simmer for a while.


Your nsala soup is ready.


Heard of PreggClass? Let's walk you through it. Join over 300,000 Nigerian moms in receiving 24/7 medical check-ins, access to medical practitioners, live classes, practical sessions and much more! Still, having doubts? Let's clear them. Contact us on WhatsApp!