Yes, lots of Nigerians know that consuming pumpkin leaves is beneficial, but a large percent of them do not really know the exact benefits it offers.
Fluted pumpkin (Ugwu) is one of the commonly consumed dark green leafy vegetables in Nigeria and many of us in Nigeria have been eating Ugwu without really realising its importance to our body.
Pumpkin leaves contain a healthy amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron, while still staying very low on the calorie front.
We all know about the vision benefits vitamin A provides, as well as the skin benefits. Vitamin C helps to heal wounds and form scar tissue, and maintain healthy bones, skin, and teeth. However since the body cannot produce this vitamin on its own or even store it, you should be consistently getting enough vitamin C in your diet.
As for calcium, your mother probably already told you growing up that you need a healthy dose of calcium for your bones and teeth as a child. However, if you are a female, it is important to consume enough calcium to help prevent osteoporosis and keep your bones strong. There have also been studies showing that calcium may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular failure.
Iron helps our muscles store and use oxygen, and helps carry oxygen from our lungs to other parts of our bodies as part of hemoglobin. If you’ve ever heard the term “anemia”, this can be caused by iron deficiency. Women and children in particular need a healthy dose of iron consistently, and this leaves help provide that nutrient naturally.
Other health benefits of pumpkin leaves include:
- Prevention of convulsion: The young leaves sliced and mixed with coconut water and salt are stored in a bottle and used for the treatment of convulsion in ethno medicine.
- Lowers cholesterol: leaves has hypolipdemic effect and may be a useful therapy in hypercholestolemia.
- Boost fertility: A particular study showed that pumpkin has the potential to regenerate testicular damage and also increase spermatogenesis.
- It has a liver protecting effect.
- It has antibacterial effects
- The leaves are rich in iron and play a key role in the cure of anaemia, (my mother used to mix the leaf extract with milk)
- They are also noted for lactating properties and are in high demand for nursing mothers.
- It has an hypoglycaemic (sugar reducing) effect. It is good for diabetics
- Increases Blood Volume and Boost Immune System
- The high protein content in leaves of plants such as pumpkin could have supplementary effect for the daily protein requirement of the body.
- Contains a healthy amount of vitamins.