Forget what your nose is telling you. There are many benefits one can get from eating Momoni and Koobi, a fermented fish. It has been confirmed that fermented foods contain these beneficial microflorae named probiotics, literally meaning “for life.” Probiotics are microorganisms proven to exert health-promoting influences in humans and animals. The reason why fermented foods and drinks are beneficial is because of the natural probiotics they contain.
Momoni is popularly used as a condiment for preparing sauces for the consumption of yam, cocoyam, and apetum (boiled unripe plantain). The main benefit of fermented fish is the beneficial bacteria that end up beating out all the nasty bacteria during the fermentation process.
These bacteria restore the proper balance of bacteria in your gut, arguably the most important first step in ensuring optimal digestion, nutrient absorption, and general well-being. Many studies have affirmed the nutritional significance of eating fermented foods such as momoni. Fermented fish such as momoni is a good candidate for a probiotic diet.
Other studies have found that fermented foods could also aid:
- Mental health: Two studies (Wang et al. 2016; Messaoudi et al. 2011) found that
Probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacteriumlongum help to reduce signs of anxiety and depression. Both probiotics are found in fermented foods.
- Weight loss: Two studies (Sanchez et al. 2014; Kadooka et al. 2013) found, links between certain probiotic strains — including Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus gasseri — and weight loss and decreased belly fat.
- Heart health: Four studies (Sonested et al. 2011; Agerholm-Larsen et al. 2000; Khalesi et al. 2014; Dong et al. 2013) found that fermented foods have been linked with a lower risk of heart disease. Probiotics may also decrease blood pressure and help lower total and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
One study by Sheikha et al(2013) found that the primary objectives of curing fish in many African countries are to preserve the fish and develop a desirable flavour. However, processing sometimes tends to affect the nutritional value of food products.
Considering fish as a major source of protein, a general observation indicates that fermentation does not adversely affect the crude protein content of fishery products. The moisture content of fermented fish varies from about 13% in fermented Tilapia to 65% in fermented Cassava Croaker fish (momoni).
The fermented (momoni) has a calorie content of 134. The protein content of fermented fish ranges from about 18% to nearly 72% depending on the water content. This makes the product a good source of animal protein. Thus, if fermented products are consumed on a large scale as food fish in the diet, they make a substantial contribution to the total protein intake. However, where only small quantities are used as a condiment to prepare sauces, their contribution is of minor importance.
Also, a previous study by Sann et al.(2002) found that the chemical constituents of fermented fish condiment were a moisture content of 50%, protein values of 16.8–21.9%, a titratable acidity of 2%, and a pH of above 6.0. The predominant amino acid of themomoni samples was glutamic acid (12.4–14.5%). The high pH and the low level of lactic acid bacteria (103 cfu/g) and the high salt content of momoni (294–310/kg) suggest that the fermentation process of the fish condiment is mediated by the endogenous enzymes of the fish rather than the associated micro-organisms.
Multiple feeding studies in animals support traditional wisdom that fermented foods provide a more bioavailable and digestible form of protein. Bacteria present in fermented foods have been shown in numerous studies to produce vitamins, including several B vitamins and vitamin K2. Which vitamins are produced is to a large extent dependent on the specific cultures that are present in the ferment.
Fermented foods are also filled with beneficial bacteria that work as reinforcement for the good bacteria in the digestive system. Since 70 percent to 80 percent of the immune system lies in the gut, having a proper balance of gut flora is important.
Fermentation also preserves food. During fermentation, organisms produce acetic acid, alcohol, and lactic acid, which are all “bio-preservatives” that retain nutrients and prevent spoilage. Lactic acid acts as a preservative by reducing pH, which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Fermentation also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics.
Finally, in the book, Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by SandorEllix Katz, (2016), the author notes that fermentation helps create new nutrients, like B vitamins, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, and biotin, and has been shown to improve the availability, digestibility, and quantity of some dietary nutrients.
Also, in an article by Annie, P(2017), the bioavailability of fat and protein is improved by bacterial enzymatic hydrolysis, and the production of lactic acid, butyric acid, free amino acids, and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) is improved by lactic acid bacteria.
The author notes: “When SCFAs are absorbed, they may help protect against pathological changes in the colonic mucosa. They play an important role in maintaining an appropriate pH in the colon, which is important in the expression of several bacterial enzymes and carcinogen and foreign compound metabolism in the gut”.
Momoni, Fermentation, and Probiotics
One of the most important of fermented fish is that it acts as a probiotic diet. Eating momoni, therefore, helps you to meet your probiotic needs. Crawford, K(2018) espoused that In the late 19th century, microbiologists realized microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract of healthy individuals were different than those who were sick. These beneficial microflorae were named probiotics, literally meaning “for life.” Probiotics are microorganisms proven to exert health-promoting influences in humans and animals. The reason why fermented foods and drinks are beneficial is because of the natural probiotics they contain.
One study by Parvez et al.(2006) found that probiotics help in “(i) improving intestinal tract health; (ii) enhancing the immune system, synthesizing and enhancing the bioavailability of nutrients; (iii) reducing symptoms of lactose intolerance, decreasing the prevalence of allergy in susceptible individuals; and (iv) reducing the risk of certain cancers.”
Three other studies (Ritchie and Romanuk, 2012; King et al. 2014; Sonestedt et al. 2011) found that Probiotics have been shown to improve immune function as well as digestive and heart health. Also, a recent study by Obafemi et al.(2022) affirmed that In several African countries, traditional fermentation processes provide a means of food preservation, improving the shelf life and adding to the nutrients in the food products.
Probiotic bacteria not only balance the good bacteria in the gut, but they also help to “tune-up” the immune system. As high as 70 percent of the immune system lies in the intestine, so nurturing bowel immunity with probiotic bacteria keeps the intestinal tract healthy.
One study by Ritchie and Romanuk, (2012) found that during fermentation, the probiotics produced may aid in restoring the balance of friendly bacteria in the gut and deal with some digestive problems.
Three studies (Hoveyda et al. 2009; Didari et al. 2015; Hungin et al. 2018) found that probiotics can reduce uncomfortable symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common digestive disorder.
Another 6-week study by Guyonne et al.(2007) in 274 adults with IBS found that consuming 4.4 ounces (125 grams) of yogurt-like fermented milk daily enhanced IBS symptoms, plus bloating and stool frequency. Four studies (Dimidi et al. 2014; Eales et al. 2016; Guarino et al. 2009; Miller et al. 2019) found that fermented foods could decrease diarrhea, bloating, gas, and constipation.
Studies have established that the bacteria that live in our gut play an integral role in our immune system. For instance, three studies( Ozen et al. 2015; Wang et al. 2016; Hao et al. 2011) found that due to the abundance of probiotics in fermented foods, can enhance our immune system and decrease our risk of infections like the common cold. It has also been confirmed that consuming probiotic foods helps one to recover faster from illnesses( King et al. 2014; E Guillemard et al. 2010; Vrese et al. 2006).
Finally, three studies (Wintergerst et al. 2007; Maggini et al. 2007; Hemiläand Chalker, 2013) have confirmed that diverse fermented foods are rich in vitamin C, iron, and zinc, which help to boost the immunity system.
Fermented foods are generally regarded as safe for most people. Some are likely to experience side effects. This is due to the high probiotic content of fermented foods, the most common side effect is an initial and temporary increase in gas and bloating (Williams, N.T, 2010). Due to the high salt content, those with high blood pressure should take caution.
Eating momoni helps meet your probiotic needs. Additionally, numerous studies have affirmed the many benefits associated with eating fermented food products such as momoni.
Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academicresearchinstitutions,andmedicalassociationstojustify hiswrite-ups.My articlesare foreducationalpurposesanddonotserveasMedicaladviceforTreatment.Iaimtoeducatethepublicaboutevidence-based scientificNaturopathicTherapies.
The writer is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare, President, of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine & Technology (NUCHMT)/African Naturopathic Foundation.