Superstitions about life in general is quite common in Nigeria. Here are just a few popular myths about Nigerian foods we heard while growing up.
There are many superstitious beliefs and myths in Nigeria — myths about places, food, culture — that could cause new traditions to be born. A superstition is a belief in supernatural causality that can be linked to a fear of the unknown. Myths are usually created by elders to dissuade people from a particular act.
Most Nigerians are familiar with these myths about food.
1. A very popular myth all over the country is that if you swallow seeds from a fruit, a tree will grow on your head or in your stomach.
2. In Igboland, if you see a conjoined set of plantain fingers, you are expected to separate them behind your back. If you separate them before your eyes, it is believed that you will birth a set of conjoined twins.
3. Standing while eating is highly discouraged in Nigeria. It is believed that if one eats standing, the food will go all the way to the legs and if you eat standing by the door, you won't get filled.
4. Grasscutter meat is rumoured to cause prolonged labour.
5. Though snail meat is rich in vitamins and protein, it has been stigmatized in Nigeria. One myth is that if you eat snail meat while pregnant, your child will drool too much. Another is that eating snail meat draws back your destiny or causes you to be sluggish in life.
6. Picking up your food after it has fallen to the ground has been discouraged by elders, who say that it is better to leave it there because the devil has touched it.
7. Who didn't hear that eating beans makes you grow taller?
8. Young girls starting their periods are told not to eat sugar as it causes menstrual cramps. Some regard this as a myth but some argue that the release of prostaglandin (which causes cramps) when blood sugar is high makes this claim true.
9. Parents will tell their children that if they are given too many pieces of meat and eggs during a meal, it will make the child turn into a thief in the future. Pure myth.
10. Another thing parents will tell their kids to keep them from having poor eating habits is that they should keep the meat till the end of the meal, else it indicates gluttony.
11. Coconut water has so many health benefits. However, one myth that has been spread is that drinking coconut water will make you dumb.