Ewedu (known as Jute leaf, Jews mellow in English) is a leafy edible vegetable of the jute plant which belongs to the Corchorus genus. Jute plant grows in hot and humid climate of the tropics and Sub-tropics. It has its origin in South-east Asia particularly Bangladesh, Burma and South China.
The plant grows to about 3.5metres in height; it has very strong fibre which is processed to jute garment and jute bags. It is only second to the cotton in this regard.
The young jute leaf is tender and has a distinct taste; it also adds flavor to food and act as thickener of soups. However the importance of the jute leaf is due to the nutrients it contains.
Ewedu is rich in water (87percent), has little protein (3 percent), little carbohydrate (7.3 percent, fibre 2 percent), but quite rich in minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc and potassium) and vitamins ( A,C, B6, B2, Folate and K)
The health benefits of Ewedu are due to these nutrients it contains;
1. Improve eye health
Ewedu is very rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary for proper development of the eyes, prevents dryness of the eyes and also ensures night vision, it prevents night blindness. In fact low Vitamin A level in the body can destroy the eyes. Vitamin is anti- macular degeneration and reduces the risk of premature cataract.
2. Promote the health of the heart
Ewedu has plenty of soluble fibre; high intake of soluble fibre reduces absorption of cholesterol and bile acid (which are also rich in cholesterol) from the small intestines, thereby reducing blood cholesterol level. When soluble fibres are broken down by bacteria in the intestines, some fatty acids released are said to reduce the production of cholesterol by the liver. By lowering blood cholesterol, fibres help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
3. Fight against cancer
Ewedu contains a lot of fibre which encourages bowel movements. In this way Ewedu helps prevent cancer of the colon. It also contains plenty of vitamin C which is an anti-oxidant, this reduces damage to cells of the colon by free radicals; in this way Ewedu again helps to prevent cancer of the colon.
4. Strengthen our bones
Ewedu is rich in calcium and phosphorus; a deficiency in any of the two minerals can lead to bone loss, decreased growth and poor tooth development
5. Prevent constipation
The high water content and dietary fiber in Ewedu are very effective in riding the body of toxins from the digestive system, aiding digestion. Daily consumption of Ewedu can aid bowel regular bowel movement thereby preventing constipation.
6. Help to prevent low blood level (Anaemia)
Ewedu is rich in Folate which is important in the manufacture of blood, eating enough ewedu daily can therefore prevent anaemia.
7. Prevent internal bleeding
Ewedu is rich in Vitamin K. Vitamin K is best known for the production of blood clotting protein in the body. Deficiency of Vitamin K shows itself by excessive bleeding problems such as bleeding gums, bruises, anaemia and heavy menstrual flows.
Other good food sources of Vitamin k include are Liver, Spinach, Ugu, Broccoli, Cabbage, Legumes (beans, peas) and Vegetable oils.
8. Help promote healthy skin and hair
Ewedu contains lots of Vitamin C, a known anti-oxidant; the latter is known to fight free radicals in our body. Free radicals are partly responsible for the accelerated aging of the cells in our body including the cells of the skin. Ewedu therefore can slow down the aging of the skin, making the skin fresh and healthy.
9. Help maintain health gum and teeth.
Ewedu is rich in Vitamins C and K, both of which help in maintaining healthy gum. It is also rich in calcium and phosphorus which are necessary for healthy gums and teeth.