Kola nut (Cola nitida) is one of the foods consumed for socio-cultural reasons in West Africa sub-region. The caffeine contents are alleged to be of benefit to many people of different occupations. In this study, the perceived benefits of kola nut were assessed among long distance driver in Ojoo Motor Park, Ibadan, Nigeria.
One hundred and one respondents were selected through stratified sampling method and were given questionnaires. Ages of the respondents ranged from 18 – 65 years. The results showed that 69% of respondents consumed kola nut daily, especially when driving. Majority-(75%) of the subjects believed kola nut consumption reduced fatigue, stress and stimulates body function to perform better. In addition, 73% believed kola nut increased mental activities, dispels sleep and hunger (86%), suppresses hunger and makes journey faster (85%), and makes one see clearly (80%).
However, the majority of them (63%) agreed that kola nut consumption gives an unsightly dull brown colour to the teeth, caused teeth ache and decay (33%), causes insomnia and therefore general body discomfort (50%) and 66% believed it frequent consumption caused high body temperature. It was discovered that the perceived discomforts associated with kola nut consumption could not deter the subjects from consuming kola nut as 63% of them said kola nut staining of teeth could be prevented by brushing teeth immediately after consumption or brushing three times daily.
But there was no evidence to show that the drivers did brush teeth immediately after consuming kola nut or three times as claimed, as up to 83% of them did stop only once in restaurants in their usual 8 to 11 hour journey. It was suggested that health education on regular basis should be organized to enlighten the drivers on the need to drive without the influence of stimulants.
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