The Center of Twinning - Nigeria
Moving away from meat and milk, a look at veggies brings us to another food phenomenon. This one has its roots in a small southwestern town in Nigeria, situated 80 miles north of the former capital of Lagos. The town is named Ogbo-Ora, and it boasts the highest rate of twin births (four times higher) in the world.
Although there are no current records available, a study done by a British gynecologist named Patrick Nylander, between 1972 and 1982 recorded an average of 45 to 50 sets of twins per 1,000 live births in this area.
Even though the community is poor and having a large family is challenging, the arrival of twins is considered to be a blessing from God, because twins are a special breed, according to one father of twins.
Many of the local people attribute the high incidence of twins to providence while others think it's the food. As a matter of fact, the idea of consuming yams to ensure twins in other parts of the world had its genesis here, in Ogbo-Ora.
Eat Your Veggies - You Might Have Twins
The Yoruba people have a staple root in their diet, the cassava, which can be eaten along with its leaves and flowers.
A research study into multiple births that was run at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital suggested a link between the high level of a chemical found in the Yoruba women and the cassava peelings of the cassava root might account for the high number of multiple births.
A consultant gynecologist at the hospital said, "These substances are usually linked to the release of more than one egg, which usually leads to twin pregnancies. That means that there is possibly an environmental factor that encourages the high level of this chemical substance."
He links the women's diet to the prevalence of the chemical, "Numerous works have shown that the tuber food of the Yoruba women, especially the peelings, contains a very large amount of these chemical substances.
These women have a disproportionately large amount of these chemicals in their system and this encourages the release of more than one egg. There is enough reason to believe in this theory."
Some People Don't Think So
Does this mean that eating yam peelings leads to twins? A researcher in South Africa is very skeptical of the connection. Robert Asiedu says, "Nobody has provided any scientific explanation or evidence that could prove that yam consumption can cause multiple births."
But, hey, you just never know ...
Interested in multiples? Learn about multiple pregnancy, birthing, challenges and joys in this section. And, for further information on how to conceive twins, read here.