Soko is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Some of the reported health benefits of soko include its ability to alleviate the symptoms of diarrhoea, piles and diabetes.
The botanical name for Soko (Lagos Spinach, Cock’s comb) is Celosia argentea. It is native to tropical countries including Nigeria, Benin, Sri Lanka, India and South America. The soko plant grows up to two feet in height, and exists in a range of colours such as, pink, orange, violet and green.
Extracts of soko seeds show aphrodisiac, anticancer, and antibacterial properties. They are also useful in treating jaundice, inflammation, gonorrhoea, wounds and other injuries.
Soko is a good source of calcium, iron and zinc. Per 100g of dry leaves, it provides 35g of carbohydrate, 11.7g fibre, 9.4g protein and 0.21g of fat.
Possible Health Benefits of Soko
Bone health: Since soko contains a lot of calcium, it plays a key role in maintaining healthy bones. Eating soko regularly reduce the rate of bone loss, and reduces the risk of all types of fracture. It also protects you against osteoporosis.
Blood pressure: Those who do not eat enough calcium have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and stroke. This is because calcium plays a role in removing excess sodium from the blood and maintaining the health of the blood vessels. By eating soko regularly, you can increase the amount of calcium in your diet and reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
Digestion: Soko is high in fibre and water, both of which hep to prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive tract.
Anaemia: Soko is a source of iron, which is important for the transportation of oxygen around the body. Low levels of iron can result in anaemia, chronic fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath and even angina if anaemia is severe. It can also result in hair loss. Eating soko regularly can improve your iron levels and prevent conditions associated with iron deficiency.
Sperm health: Low intakes of dietary zinc can result in low testosterone levels and it can also delay the onset of puberty in males. Lack of zinc can also increase the risk of prostate gland inflammation. By eating soko regularly, you can naturally increase your zinc levels.
Diabetes: Soko contains compounds that help to reduce blood sugar levels. In fact, soko leaves are commonly used in India to treat diabetes.
Anti-cancer: Soko contains phenolic compounds like Luteolin 7-0 glycoside that fight cancer.
Colds: Soko is rich in Zinc, an essential mineral known to protect against viral infections, especially those that cause common colds.
How to get the best out of soko
Try not to cook soko and other vegetables for longer than is absolutely necessary to keep most of the nutrients intact. If you overcook it, you run the risk of destroying most of the heat sensitive nutrients.