Nutritional Benefits Of Eating Ugwu (Pumpkin Leaf) You May Not Know


Whether Ugu or Ugwu, you can be certain we are talking about the same leaf that is particularly common among the Igbos in Nigeria. In fact, the Igbos are the only tribe who are seen to sell these leaves anywhere in Nigeria, whether in the north or south, yet it is used in one way or the other by all tribes in Nigeria. I sincerely do not know the reason behind this.

The leaf is a valuable commercial crop which is grown majorly in the West African region. The dark green leaf, no doubt has been a staple vegetable in the diets of many as it can be combined with all the solid meals such as wheat, eba, fufu and the rest. Unknown to many, pumpkin leaves are loaded with a lot of nutritional benefits which can be helpful in aligning our path to a healthy status.

ugwu soup

The fluted pumpkin botanically known as Telfaira occidentalis has one advantage in that it can be enjoy through out the year unlike some other vegetables. However, you see the leaves flood the market more during rainy season.

Below are some of the nutritional and health benefits of including Ugu leaf into your meals.

1. UGWU HAS A HIGH FIBER CONTENT:

Are you constipated in a way, consuming Ugwu vegetable might be helpful as it contain high fibre. Each time I eat a meal contain Ugwu at night, it becomes easier to download feaces in the morning unlike previous days. I definitely recommend this for you.

2. UGWU LIKE MANY OTHER LEAFY VEGETABLES IS RICH IN IRON:

Are you a fan of blood tonic and supplement during period weakness, Ugwu is nutrient dense enough to get you back to life more than any of the aforementioned. The iron content in a well prepared servings of Ugwu leaf can do the magic you have been waiting for. 

Women, particularly during and after menstrual period are encouraged to consume serving portions of Ugwu leaves as it helps boost blood levels or volume. The leaf has been used to cure anaemia in community based nutritional interventions.

3. GOOD FOR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT:

The main idea about losing weight is to load your body with highly nutritious food yet contain a reasonably low amount of calorie. Ugwu is a low calorie vegetable and can help fire up your metabolism to trigger fat reduction in the body.

So when you want to eat Eba, Fufu or Amala, ensure you have only a small portion while adding plenty Ugwu soup. The fibre of the Ugwu will make you fuller, so you eat less than you would normally eat.

4. IMMUNE BOOSTER:

As a child, each time I fall sick and I was trying to recover, my mother waste no time in cooking Ugwu delicacy. In fact during that period, I could consume only the Ugwu vegetable soup as the main meal. After a little while, I begin to notice restoration.

The leaf is also a good source of vitamin E, Thiamin, Niacin, vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, Copper and Manganese.

The leaves also contain anti-oxidants, such as alpha-carotene and Beta–carotene which help to slow down ageing process. All these nutrients put together also improve your skin and hair quality. Now you can see the reasons the leaf will help boost your immunity.

I know some people may be interested in knowing more about foods that give you fresh, younger looking skin and those foods that improve your hair colour and quality. Click the respective links to see them.

5. REDUCTION OF BLOOD SUGAR: DIABETES CONTROL:

Due to the leaves hypoglycemic index and its nature of slowly releasing sugar into the blood, it presents a rare opportunity for diabetic patient to reduce their blood sugar.

ugwu vegetable leaves

These are just a few of the benefits one can obtain from consuming Ugwu vegetable. The list is endless. As a parting shot, please learn how to cook your vegetable so you don’t lose all nutrients in it.

ALSO SEE :: How To Make A Healthy Juice From Ugwu Leaves

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Oladipupo Abioye
Oladipupo is a Pediatric Nutritionist with Lagos State Ministry of Health. He is an adventurous foodie and loves to teach and render presentations on foods and nutritional topics at different symposia. He loves Messi but Chelsea FC is his baby.

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