Pumpkin leaf is a dark green leafy vegetable found in the tropics, rich in water, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium, vitamins A , K and folate. It is used for various soups in the West African sub-region
1. Improve eye health
Pumpkin leaves contain a lot of vitamin A which slows down the degeneration of certain parts of the eyes which could occur with age leading to a condition called Age-Related–Macula-
2. Promote the health of the heart
Pumpkin leaves contain 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.
Pumpkin leaves also contain plenty of potassium which helps to prevent irregular heart beat and to reduce risk of stroke.
3. Fight against cancer
Pumpkin leaves like other vegetables are rich in fibres; many studies in the last three decades have shown a link between increased fibre in-take and a decrease in colon cancer. This could be due to the fibre itself or the nutrients that are usually in fibre-rich foods such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and essential fatty acid. Daily consumption of pumpkin leaves is highly recommended and this is easily possible in West Africa through soups.
4. Strengthen our bones
Pumpkin leaves contain a lot of calcium and phosphorus; minerals found mainly in the bones and teeth of our body. We must consume enough of them daily to ensure strong bones, proper growth and good teeth development. We will also avoid stiff joint and bone pain.
5. Prevent constipation
Pumpkin leaf as said earlier is rich in fibre which adds bulk to stool, making bowel movement easier. Insoluble fibre does this better. When plenty of fibre is consumed, the stool is large and soft, this stimulates the muscles of the intestines to contract, pushing out the stool (faeces) without the individual straining himself.
With little fibre in the food, the stool is usually small and hard and therefore requires force to come out. Regular straining during the passage of faeces can lead to piles (haemorrhoids) and other conditions such as pouches (diverticulosis) in the large intestines. Piles can lead to anaemia due to bleeding.
6. Help to prevent low blood level (Anaemia)
Pumpkin leaves are rich in iron and folate, both required in the production of red blood cells in our body; regular consumption of pumpkin leaves will therefore help in the prevention of blood shortage called anaemia.