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Sunday, September 04, 2016

Amazing Health benefits of Fluted Pumpkin Leaves [telfairia occidentalis]

Written by: Cosmos Omegoh                                      |Edit Article

In Igbo land of Nigeria, Fluted pumpkin leaves is referred to as Ugu leaves and many health experts have said repeatedly without mincing words based on research, that it has various health benefits.

Scientists say fluted pumpkin leaves can boost blood levels, fight diseases.
Cholesterol does not exist in vegetables. Vegetables do not clog arteries.” – Jane Velez – Mitchell

Many Nigerians consuming fluted pumpkin vegetables, populary known as ugu, are actually eating their way to good health, according to experts. 
The vegetable, which is popular among many in the South – East and South – South zones of the country, is increasingly becoming more popular among other Nigerians that now know that ugu is packed full with essential nutrients. And now, wherever anyone turns, the vegetable is grown, sold and consumed.

Various health benefits of Fluted pumpkin includes:
1. Fluted pumpkin leaves contributes to blood building and boosting.

2. Fluted pumpkin leaves is rich in minerals, such as iron, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium.

3. Fluted pumpkin leaves has anti – oxidants and vitamins, such as thiamine, riboflavin, nicotinamide and ascorbic acid.

4. Fluted pumpkin leaves is high protein content and can have supplementary effect for the daily protein requirement of the body.

5. Fluted pumpkin leaves can be effectively used to fight and prevent diseases, such as kwashiorkor and marasmus, which cause severe loss of body weight in children as a result of malnutrition.

7. Fluted pumpkin leaves have this hypolipdemic effect and may be a useful therapy in hyper cholestolemia, that is in the control of high level of cholesterol in the body.

8. Fluted pumpkin has the highest vitamin A content, when compared to other vegetables and this is adequate enough to sustain the vitamin A requirement in pregnant women.

9. Fluted pumpkin is rich in iron and thus plays a key role in the cure of Anemia.

10. Fluted pumpkin leaves has been noted for its lactating properties and for that reason, it is very good and highly recommended for nursing mothers.

11. Fluted pumpkin has been shown through research to have anti – diabetic effect and for this reason, had every potential to reduce blood glucose level.

12. Fluted pumpkin consumption can help to fight malaria fever and also help prevent liver damage.
Fluted Pumpkin Leaves [telfairia occidentalis]
A biochemist, Mr. Abolanle kayoed, and nutritionist, Patience Chima, have affirmed the inherent benefits of fluted pumpkin leaf. Kayoed, a researcher and lecturer in Biochemistry at the Department of Clinical sciences, Bells University of technology, Ota, Ogun State, said research had consistently shown that fluted pumpkin contributes to blood building and good health.

Kayode’s comment came on the heels of reported widespread consumption of fluted pumpkin by people living in Jalingo, Taraba State, and the rest of the North – East. In the western part of Nigeria, many people are said to be eating the vegetable and even growing it for profit.

The demand for it in Lagos alone is now so high that its suppliers can hardly cope, with traders in the commodity shipping in large quantities from Akwa – Ibom. Yet demand still outweighs supply. Growers of the vegetable in the South – West area are said to be making good money.

Affirming its health importance, Chima said: “Ugu is a vegetable low in calories and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. It is one of the vegetables that contain very high dietary fibre, anti – oxidants, minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. Vitamin A is a very essential natural anti – oxidant, which is necessary a healthy skin. It is also good for the maintenance of good sight. It has also been suggested that it could be useful in fighting cancers. Anyone interested in controlling their level of cholesterol level and cutting down on their weight, might find ugu very useful.”

Johnson, a cook working in a hospital in Jalingo, said - most people in the state were eating more of Ugu unlike before, saying that some hospitals in the state recommended it to women and children, who are suffering from malnutrition. Johnson further said that until recently, many residents of Taraba State only saw ugu as a vegetable for the people from the south, particularly the Igbo. They had nothing to do with it. Then, our people only consumed cabbage, lettuce, onions, aleho and yakwa leaves but detested ugu.

But now, all that has changed. As am talking now, the vegetable is being heavily consumed by our people. In fact, the rate is so high now. More and more people are getting to discover its richness; everyone is enjoying it.  I can say that it is not only the people of Taraba State, but a large number of people in the whole North east have long known about it.

We now use it to cook our soup and even make vegetable sauce. The popularity of the vegetable in the recent past soared because some people, who visited the hospital in the recent past were told by doctors and nurses to consume more of it.

Pregnant mothers in particular were told to eat plenty of ugu leaves because it is believed to enrich the blood cells much more than any other vegetable we have around.  For this reason, our people have gone the extra mile by learning to farm the vegetable. 
Some Igbo people living in in Taraba state have taught our people to farm it and now, they are doing well at it. They are also selling it and making money, he said. 

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