Read how eating Okra makes this Yoruba community give birth to many twins -


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Friday, 12 April 2019

Read how eating Okra makes this Yoruba community give birth to many twins

80 kilometers north of Lagos lies a small town with a population of just over 60,000 people. Igbo-Ora community is nestled in Oyo State, Southwest Nigeria, and the town is famous for the number of twins born there annually.
Why does Igbo-Ora, the twin capital, have so many twins? (BattaBox)

Igbo-Ora is called the ‘Twin Capital’ of the world and for good reason as well. While Europe boasts about 16 twins for every 1,000 births and the United States accounts for about 33 for every 1,000 births, Igbo-Ora boasts about 50 sets of twins for every 1,000 births.

And folks here say eating Okra or Yam is the secret of their proclivity to produce sets of twins.

"There are so many twins because of the Okra leaf that we eat," 15-year-old Kehinde Oyedepo, a twin, told Reuters.

The Okra leave is responsible for twin births? (Pulse)

In Yorubaland, twins are handed specific names at birth. They are either called Taiwo or Kehinde depending on whether they emerge from the womb first or second.

When the Reuters team on a visit to the community assembled nearly 100 secondary school children as break time wound to a close, nine sets of twins were identified from the group.
Yam or Okra?

Yet, some say Yam is why Igbo-Ora has become the twin capital of the world.

One theory posits that yams prompt the production of gonadotropins, a chemical agent that stimulates the production of eggs, Reuters writes.

Ekujumi Olarenwaju, an obstetrician gynecologist who resides in Lagos, believes that it’s beyond yam, however, because the same kind of yam is eaten elsewhere in the world without the same result.

"Thus far scientifically, no one can say this is the reason," said Olarenwaju. "One of the plausible reasons is the hereditary aspect of it because maybe over the years they inter-marry, they now have that gene being pooled and concentrated in that environment”.

Igbo-Ora is called the twin town (Guardian)

However, the women who sell piles of Okra leaves at a town market, disagree with those who have adduced the ability to produce twins in Igbo-Ora to Yam.

They said local traditions over how Okra leaves are consumed, were the reason. They said when stew made from the leaves is eaten immediately and never stored, the couple can produce twins.

Oyenike Bamimore, who sells bread in the community, told Reuters that she was living proof that the diet was the cause. "Because I eat Okra leaves a lot, I gave birth to eight sets of twins," she boasted.

Writing for Pulse in 2018, Adaobi Onyeakagbu had remarked rather succintly: “Because more twins are born in Igbo-Ora than anywhere else in the world, walking through the town might make you feel like you are seeing double. Almost every house has at least one set of twins”.

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