Pumpkin leaf (ugu) and its unbelievable health benefits
Pumpkin leaves or fluted pumpkin leaves are greenish leafy vegetables grown in Nigeria and other West African countries. It is mostly called ‘ugu’ leaf in Nigeria, and it is known to have some secretly unbelievable health benefits. They are edible when boiled or cooked with foods; it can also be taken as a vegetable salad or as juice when mashed as fresh leaves and the juice extracted.
It is normally known as Ugu in Igbo language, kabewa in Hausa, and Ikong-Ubong in Efik. It contains calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese also provides a good amount of vitamin C, A, B2 and E.
Nutritional Values of Fluted Pumpkin Leaves (Ugu) (90g)
Pumpkin leaves have a healthy amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron. And aside from the vision benefits in Vitamin A that the leaves provide, there are also numerous skin benefits.
Additionally, the vitamin C that is contained in it helps to heal wounds and form scar tissue. It also helps to maintain healthy bones, skin, and teeth.
But those are not the only health benefits of this wonderful plant. For it also fights against cancer, increases fertility, prevents infection, lower cholesterol, tackles convulsion, combats diabetes, and also an anti-aging agent.
It is also important to note that pumpkin leaves contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, which includes Potassium, Calcium, Folic acid, Iron, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Thiamine, Niacin, Dietary fibers, Riboflavin, Copper, Manganese, and Proteins.
Here are some other fantastic benefits of pumpkin leaves
- Source of Protein
By consuming fluted pumpkin leaves or Ugu, you will help your body to fulfill the protein needs in the body. As we all have known, protein will help to restore the broken cells in the body with the new ones. Also, protein plays the main role in providing another great health benefits including, supporting neurological function, balancing hormones naturally, and preventing weight gain as protein can make us feel full. Hence, if you want to obtain those great health benefits, you can start to eat Ugu regularly as a right option.
- A good source of Fat and Carbohydrate
As fluted pumpkin leaves contain a good source of fat and carbohydrate, then they are valuable to promote the energy level in the body. Also, fluted pumpkin leaves have a role in building great muscle as they can elevate growth hormone which inhibits muscle breakdown. For the tips, you can also consume another good food to obtain fat and carbohydrate nutrients such as rice and whole grains for sure.
- It provides Iron
Not only for providing protein, fat and carbohydrate nutrients, but fluted pumpkin leaves are good in providing the iron source. As a result, iron contained in Ugu will help to balance hormones naturally and prevent the weakness and dizziness for sure. On the hand, if your body does not absorb the ideal amount of iron needed in the body, it may lead to the presence of poor concentration and anemia. As a solution, you can consume other iron foods such as sardines, black beans, and lentils.
- Source of Magnesium
It has shown that magnesium has a role in promoting the building of body muscle and keeping the normal level of blood pressure. Also, this vital mineral is responsible for maintaining the heart rhythm steady. As the consequence, if you consume fluted pumpkin leaves regularly, then your body will get those great health benefits as Ugu contains a good source of magnesium. Thus, adding fluted pumpkin leaves to your food will help you to deal with some health problems for sure.
- It provides good dietary Fibre
To promote healthy digestion system, you can consume fiber foods such as whole grains and green vegetables. In the same way, fluted pumpkin leaves also provide a good source of dietary fiber. As a result, this kind of leaves will help you to obtain excellent benefits for sure. For instance, fiber is the one who has a role in normalizing bowel movements and helping to maintain the bowel health. Not only for those benefits, if you wish to get healthy weight, then fiber food like Ugu leaves will be there to help you.
- Source of Potassium
The ideal intake of potassium will help you to achieve great health results. As the consequence, potassium contained in fluted pumpkin leaves or Ugu will help to support key bodily process. Indeed, potassium takes part in preventing maintaining the blood pressure and cardiovascular health and promoting bone and muscle building. For the tips, you can consume avocado, mushrooms, beet greens together with fluted pumpkin leaves to support the potassium needs as well as promoting the body function.
- Good source of Calcium
Surprisingly, fluted pumpkin leaves contain a good source of calcium. With calcium, our body will work well in promoting bone density and structure as well. Further, consuming cheese, milk, broccoli and Ugu will support the calcium needs in the body.
- It helps to treat Anaemia
As have described, rich in iron nutrients, fluted pumpkin leaves will help in preventing the occurrence of anaemia. Also, due to the presence of haematinic properties of the Ugu leaves, it will result in positive effects to treat anemia. Hence, if you suffer from anemia, consuming fluted pumpkin leaves regularly may help you as an alternative and natural medical treatment.
- Acts as Antioxidant
Because Ugu is rich in aponins, glycosides, phytic acid, tannin, flavonoids, alkaloids, resins, hydrocyanic acid and oxalic acids, it is therefore valuable in promoting antioxidant nutrients in the body. Moreover, as it has great antioxidant properties, it will help to protect the body against the presence of viruses and bacteria.
- Acts as Anti-Inflammatory
Another health benefit of fluted pumpkin leaves are the ways they act as anti-inflammatory properties. Due to the presence of analgesic properties contained in Ugu leaves, they help to inhibit the neurogenic, non-neurogenic and narcotic pains affecting the inflamed body part.
- It posses anti-microbial Properties
One of the greatest benefits of Ugu leaves is that, they posses anti-microbial properties. With those, Ugu is responsible for inhibiting the growth of intestinal pathogens such as Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella. As a result, by adding Ugu leaves to your food, your body will be free from the presence of bad pathogens.
- Treats Cardiovascular Diseases
Fluted pumpkin leaves also play a role in providing the natural treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Thus, if you suffer from cardiovascular diseases, then consuming fluted pumpkin leaves regularly could help to prevent the colossal effect of cardiovascular diseases.
- Prevents Cancer
The presence of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in fluted pumpkin leaves will help to prevent cancer. Also, as Ugu leaves contain chlorophyll, phenolic compounds, saponins, tannins, flavonoids, glycosides, and phytosterols, which possess chemo-suppressive properties, then the leaves are valuable to prevent the growth of cancer cells in the body.
- It helps to treat Malaria
It is well known that fluted pumpkin leaves have a role to be anti-malaria properties. As a result, this benefit is linked to the presence of antiplasmodial and schizonticisal properties contained in Ugu leaves. Also, by having these properties, they are capable of treating parasitic malaria infection.
- It boost Infertility
Surprisingly, fluted pumpkin leaves have a role in the natural treatment of infertility. The way the leaves work is by providing anti-oxidative properties which includes, oleic acid, vitamin A, alkaloids, tannins and linoleic acid which can help boosting the functionality of the testicles for an increased sperm count.
- It Prevent Diabetes
Research has shown that by consuming fluted pumpkin leaves, it will help to prevent diabetes. Indeed, the aqueous leaf extract of Ugu acts as anti-diabetic properties which help to reduce and regulate the glucose level of diabetic patients. Furthermore, this great benefit is also linked to the presence of ethyl acetate and polysaccharides content which are anti-diabetic properties of the leaves.
- It Prevent Kidney Diseases
The presence of high level of phosphorus contained in fluted pumpkin leaves helps to prevent kidney diseases. As the consequence, phosphorus will help to prevent the presence of kidney stone as well as maintaining the work of kidney greatly.
- It helps Nursing Mothers
Fluted pumpkin leaves possess lactating properties which are beneficial to nursing mothers. Hence, by having lactating properties, it will help nursing mothers to produce more milk for the baby.
- It Reduces Stress
Consuming fluted pumpkin leaves will help to reduce stress and depression as well. This benefit is linked to the presence of antioxidant nutrients such as tocopherol, dismutase, catalase, glutathione reductase and ascorbic acid contained in Ugu leaves. Then, if you face some hard days, it is recommended to have fluted pumpkin leaves as your food option, because, it really helps to reduce stress.
- Prevents Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia
Hearing about Alzheimer’s disease may make you worry about having this kind of diseases. However, by consuming fluted pumpkin leaves, you should not worry again as the leaves contain certain antioxidant compounds that can inhibit the enzymes involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- It Boost Immune System
As earlier stated that fluted pumpkin leaves are rich in vitamin and minerals, it has therefore shown the positive result to be immune system booster. Also, as the leaves contain antioxidant source, it will help to maintain overall body health.
- It Balances the Hormones
The vegetable is known to have high protein content. Ugu contains the amount of protein needed for hormone balancing; tissue repairs and regulates the acidities of body cells and organs. This is why consuming fluted pumpkin leaves (ugu) is very essential as its content of protein will also help in improving the body cells as well as replacing broken ones in the body.
23. Improves Blood Production
Fluted pumpkin leaves are always recommended for patients who suffer from a shortage of blood due to the effect of certain illnesses; the presence of iron and other important minerals in it contribute in the boosting of blood in the body system and prevent anaemia.
Iron being one of the essential minerals in the red blood cells, can cause adverse reactions such as the one stated above when there is its deficiency. Therefore fluted pumpkin leaves have been used in improving the level of blood in the body.
For the effectiveness of helping boost blood production, ugu is recommended to be pounded, and then strain the mashed vegetable to collect the liquid/juice. Most times milk is also added to the juice before drinking.
- Treat Convulsion
Ugu leaves have been found effective in treating convulsion in children. It becomes medicinal in this case when sliced and mixed with coconut water and with a small amount of salt.
Scientifically there might be no proof of this, but it has been used hundreds of years ago in the treatment of high fever and convulsion, and serve as a remedy to many other health conditions.
- Effective for Weight Loss
Foods that help in weight loss are recommended for its effectiveness in weight management. Vegetables such a fluted pumpkin leaves (ugu) contain a high amount of dietary fibre which can help you lose weight as it makes one fuller and lowers their appetite.
Not only that, it contains little or no calories which eliminate the chances of storing more calories in the body.
In as much as calories are good for the body which helps provide energy, if they are not totally utilized can start accumulating in the body thereby leading to weight gain.
- Can Improve Memory
Fluted pumpkin leaves (ugu) just as most green leafy vegetables contain certain compounds which help to improve memory. It also contains vital nutrients such as vitamins and magnesium which aid in the improvement and normal functioning of the brain and nervous system.