Asaana is a non-alcoholic, caramelized corn drink made from fermented corn and sugar. It is referred to as elewonyo in other parts of Ghana and known in many countries as a corn beer drink. But do you know that fermented corn in Asaana could make you live longer? A case study has been found by Kwon et al.( 2007) where the researchers believe there is a need to eat our traditional foods because of a better balance of calories and beneficial nutrients. They note that staple crops like corn and legumes have antidiabetic, antioxidant, and anti-hypertension potential. These foods also provide certain protective phenolic phytochemicals that are beneficial for heart health, reversing hypertension as a natural remedy for high blood pressure, and controlling blood sugar levels. They finally concluded eating and drinking corn-related drinks may help you live longer.
Well, the fermentation process in Asaana is also another banger! Besides, Corn has a component known as zeaxanthin and lutein. For instance, three studies ( Abdel-Aal et al. 2013; Moeller et al. 2000; Carpentier et al. 2009) found that dietary consumption of antioxidants, especially carotenoids like zeaxanthin and lutein , could boost eye health.
Three studies( Kean et al. 2008; Hu et al. 2011; Maiani et al. 2009) found that Lutein and zeaxanthin are the major carotenoids in corn, which are linked up to about 70% of the total carotenoid content. Though, their levels are low in white corn. The colored corn is ideal for those with eye problems and looking for eye-health foods.
Three observational studies ( Vu et al. 2006; Seddon et al. 1994; Cho et al. 2008)found that high dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin may be protective, but not all studies agreed with this proposition.
However, one old study by Seddon et al. (1994) in 356 middle-aged and older adults found a 43% reduction in the risk of macular degeneration in those with the highest intake of carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin, compared to those with the lowest intake. This means eating corn-related diets should be taken seriously. Additionally, for those with eye issues, your diet is corn related.
Diabetes, one study by Tay et al (2015) found that low-carb diets are more effective at managing diabetes. The study used 115 adults with obesity and type 2 diabetes and found that eating a diet with only 14% of calories coming from carbs resulted in more stable blood sugars and a reduced medication need compared to getting 53% of the daily calories from carbs.
An earlier 24-year study by Bertoia et al. (2015) from Harvard in 133,468 adults found that each additional daily serving of corn was associated with a 2-pound (0.9-kg) weight gain per 4-year interval.
This notwithstanding, there are many benefits in the fermentation process of corn used in Asaana production. A notable one of course is that the fermentation process increases the probiotic content in Asaana which have scientific groundings:
- Mental health: Two studies(Wang et al. 2016; Messaoudi et al. 2011) found that
Probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum help to reduce signs of anxiety and depression. Both probiotics are found in fermented foods. Hence, drinking Asaana could give you the needed probiotic you looking for.
- 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.
Hence, drinking Asaana, therefore helps you to meet your probiotic needs and is the term “for life.” Probiotics are microorganisms proven to exert health-promoting influences in humans and animals. The reason why fermented Asaana is 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.
Another bonus is that drinking Asaana enhances digestion. 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.
Finally, drinking Asaana enhances immunity. 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 drinks such as Asaana, can enhance our immune system and decrease our risk of infections like the common cold. It has also been confirmed that consuming probiotic drinks 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; Hemilä and Chalker, 2013) have confirmed that diverse fermented drinks are rich in vitamin C, iron, and zinc, which help to boost the immunity system.
Studies have demonstrated the many benefits of fermented drinks such as Asaana. For those who have been on an antibiotic, you can drink Asaana to bring back the good bacteria in your system destroyed by the antibiotic. Finally, due to the fermented corn, Asaana is a good corn beer to drink.
Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups. My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as Medical advice for Treatment. I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.
The writer is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare, President, of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine & Technology (NUCHMT)/African Naturopathic Foundation. E-mail: [email protected] .