Telfairia occidentalis Fluted pumpkin is a popularly known vegetable in Nigeria; The leaves of the fluted pumpkin (Ugu) is a greenish leafy vegetable. Meanwhile, many of us eat it on a daily basis without realizing its health benefits. However, Ugu is native to southern Nigeria and belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family.
Telfairia occidentalis is a West African tropical vine cultivated for its edible seeds and as a leaf vegetable; fluted pumpkin, Fluted gourd, Ugu (in Igbo), and ikong-ubong are some of the common names for the fruit (in Ibibio and Efik languages).
The nutritional value of fluted pumpkin leaves shows it contains; folate, calcium, copper, niacin, magnesium, potassium, manganese, vitamins A, vit. B2, B6, C2, and E, flavonoids, and carotene.
It had a high level of dietary fiber, protein, and phosphorus, according to the researchers.
Ugu leaves are used in many Nigerian dishes like Edikaikong soup which is Vegetable soup, Egusi soup, Ogbono soup; and other Ugu stir fry food such as Rice and Vegetable, Yam Vegetable, steam Ugu dish, and the likes.
Benefits of Fluted Pumpkin Leaves – Ugu Leaves
Aids in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases
Fluted Pumpkin leaves are high in dietary fiber, vitamins, protein, riboflavin, thiamine, manganese, magnesium, copper, potassium, and carotene, all of which are important for human health and heart health.
In reality, these leaves are used in the preparation of herbal medicine to improve the overall function of the heart in certain parts of the world. It further aids in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disorders such as heart attack and stroke.
Increases Production of Breast Milk
Another group of individuals who will reap the full health benefits of fluted pumpkin leaves is lactating and breastfeeding mothers. The explanation for this is that the oily seeds of this plant aid in increasing milk flow in women who are already breastfeeding their children.
It also increases women’s fertility and post-natal fitness.
The seeds, leaves, and extracts of pumpkin have been shown in several experiments to have diabetic effects, owing to the anti-diabetic properties it contains. This includes ethyl acetate and polysaccharide material, among other things. Fiber is essential for blood sugar control, and eating fiber-rich foods has been shown to improve blood sugar control.
Fluted pumpkin has also been shown to help diabetes patients lower and regulate their blood glucose levels. It is also thought to be beneficial for improving glucose tolerance and serum insulin levels.
Reduced Stress Levels
Fluted pumpkin can help humans avoid oxidative stress. Tocopherol, dismutase, catalase, glutathione reductase, and ascorbic acid are only a few of the free-radical-fighting antioxidants found throughout the fruit. Furthermore, Ugu leaves are thought to be effective in reducing not only stress but also depression, making it a good food choice for improving your mood.
Fluted pumpkin leaves are high in antioxidants and vitamins including oleic acid, vitamin A, alkaloids, tannins, and linoleic acid, which have all been attributed to better testicular function and sperm count. It can also aid in the prevention of prostate cancer.
The leaves are also beneficial to women, as they aid in reproduction, post-pregnancy wellbeing, and lactating mothers’ breast milk supply.
Boosts blood production
Since it provides a large amount of iron and other essential minerals, fluted pumpkin leaves are capable of stimulating oxygen in the body system and preventing anemia. As a result, they should be ingested to further increase blood flow and raise the amount of blood in the body.
Helps in Weight Loss
Weight loss and weight control was supported by fluted pumpkin leaves. They’re rich in fiber and calcium, which will help you lose weight if you have them in your diet.
Beneficial to Bone Health
One of the major minerals found in fluted pumpkin leaves is potassium, which helps to preserve bone mineral density. It also helps to reduce osteoporosis, a progressive disease that damages the bones as you get older.
Maintains the Tissues of the Body
In the case of vitamin C, the vitamin content of this vegetable aids in the maintenance of healthy tissues, organs, and membranes, as well as the maintenance of the skin and the treatment of wounds.
The protein in fluted pumpkin leaves also aids in the improvement and preservation of body tissues such as connective tissues, lungs, and the nervous system.
Helps Improve Memory
Fluted pumpkin leaves, like most green leafy vegetables, contain compounds that aid in memory enhancement.
It also provides essential nutrients including vitamins and magnesium, which help the brain and nervous system improve and function normally.
This will aid in the improvement of cognitive reasoning, memory loss (Dementia), and other memory-related health problems such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Are Fluted Pumpkin Leaves Safe to Eat Raw?
Pumpkin is high in nutrients, which are often present in its raw form since some can be destroyed during preparation. However, a small amount of cooking is needed to remove any of the bacteria that may be present but are not visible to the naked eye
Aside from that, it is widely regarded as healthy to consume.
Side Effects of Fluted Pumpkin Leaves – Ugu Leaves
Fluted pumpkin leaves Ugwu or Ugu are usually considered healthy and no known side effects have been reported. Rather excess consumption may result in purging your stomach, therefore moderation is the key to a healthy diet.
Ugu leaf is called fluted pumpkin in English