Pumpkin leaves belong to the leafy vegetable family. These leaves are nutritious and are rich in vitamins and minerals. Sounds interesting? Let’s have a look at nutritional value and health benefits of pumpkin leaves.
Scientifically, it is known as Telfaira occidentalis and is popularly known as fluted pumpkin leaves. What is good about these leaves is that they have no particular season. They can be enjoyed by people throughout the year. Particularly, these leaves are found in rainy season in abundance.
Nutritional Content Of Pumpkin Leaves
As it is scientifically proven, these leaves contain a lot of vitamins and minerals in it. Moreover, these leaves are used by many, but most of them are unaware of its nutritional value.
The best part is that it makes you feel full after eating and has low calories as well. Here is the list of nutrients found in pumpkin leaves which make it so popular:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B6
- Dietary fibres
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
If we get a combination of these nutrients together with low calories, then I think this is a power pack deal! It is going to serve our hunger along with keeping us healthy. Wow! That sounds really interesting!
Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Leaves
With all these nutrients intact, I am sure these leaves have a huge set of benefits! So, why don’t we have a detailed look at it and try using it to maintain good health!
Due to the presence of anti-oxidants in abundance, these leaves are known to slow down the ageing process. So, if you want to look younger, start consuming these leaves and experience your beauty again!
2. Improves eye health
Vitamin A present in pumpkin leaves helps in preventing degeneration of some of the parts of the eye, which otherwise would degrade with age. This can lead to a condition known as Age-related Macula Degeneration (ARMD).
It is very effective in preventing convulsions. In ethno medicine, the tender leaves are chopped and mixed with coconut water and salt. It is stored in a bottle for further use.
3. Lowers cholesterol
In this world of high cholesterol problem, these leaves can be considered a boon. As there is a huge amount of fibre in these leaves, it reduces the absorption of bile acid and cholesterol, from the small intestines, thereby resulting in low levels of cholesterol and healthy heart!
4. Increases fertility
It is known to cure any testicular damage and also increase the spermatogenesis. This helps in increasing fertility and is a good news for people suffering from infertility!
Only a diabetic person knows how painful it is to have diabetes. Pumpkin leaves are known to have the hypoglycaemic effect which helps in reducing sugar levels in the blood, thus keeping diabetes under control!
6. Skin benefits
Being a rich source of Vitamin C, these leaves have a lot of skin benefits. Vitamin C helps in healing wounds and forming scar tissues. It also helps in keeping bones and skin healthy.
7. Fights against cancer
Studies show that there is a direct relation between the intake of fibre and risk of cancer. This is because the foods containing the high amount of fibre are also rich in vitamins and minerals, all of which are required for preventing cancer. So, it is recommended that have these leaves through soups daily.
8. Keeps your bones strong
It is very rich in calcium and phosphorus, therefore, it is recommended for children and mothers specially. It helps to keep the bones strong and healthy. Also, it helps in keeping away the deficiency of calcium, helping in the proper growth of teeth and bones.
9. Boosts immune system
As it helps in increasing haemoglobin in blood and keeping your bones strong, they increase your immunity. This decreases the risk of getting affected by diseases, thereby keeping you healthy.
10. Protein supplement
Keeping in mind the amount of protein it contains, it can be used for fulfilling your daily requirements of protein. This will keep you strong and healthy.
11. Helps in digestion
As it has high fibre content, it helps you in improving your digestion and easy passage of faeces. As there is a large amount of fibre, the stools are large and soft, making the muscles contract and pass the faeces without any additional pressure. As your stomach is clean, your body will be detoxified as well.
12. Prevents infections
As it possesses anti-bacterial properties, consumption of these leaves on a regular basis will keep you away from bacterial infections that are very irritating to have.
13. Helps in lactating
As it is a rich source of calcium, it is a popular choice for lactating mothers. It maintains the calcium levels to normal, helping in lactating properly.
14. Treats anemia
These leaves are a rich source of iron, which helps in increasing oxygen content in blood and lungs, thereby increasing the haemoglobin in the blood. It is also rich in folate, which is very essential for the production of red blood cells. As red blood cells and haemoglobin increases, the disorder named anaemia vanishes.
How Are Pumpkin Leaves To Be Eaten?
These leaves are not bitter like other green leaves, which a plus point for these leaves. They can be eaten in many ways. Some people use it in soups, while some eat it raw as salads. Here are some simple recipes, so that you can make it tastier!
- Fresh pumpkin leaves
- Olive oil
1. In a hot pan, put few drops of olive oil. Now, put pumpkin leaves and some salt in the pan and fry it for 5 minutes.
2. Keep moving the vegetables while frying. At the time of putting the cooked leaves into the dish, add some garlic to it for taste.
3. Serve hot to enjoy its taste!
- Fresh pumpkin leaves
- Water-120 ml
- Peanut powder- 1 cup
- Chopped tomato-2 cups
- Chopped onion-1 cup
- Palm oil
- Clean the leaves and chop them. Put water, fresh leaves, tomato and onion in a saucepan and cover the pan till the leaves are wilted.
- When it gets reduced to half, add peanut powder and 2 tablespoons of palm oil to the pan. Keep it on the simmer for 10 minutes.
These leaves can be eaten raw as well, but it has a prickly texture. So, it doesn’t taste that good when eaten raw. Cooking will make them softer and easier to digest!
Side effects of Pumpkin Leaves
There are not many known side effects of pumpkin leaves. As it is a rich source of calcium, it is recommended for lactating mothers and pregnant women. But, it is suggested that to be on a safer side, have it in small amounts.
A leaf with such amount of nutrients plus available throughout the year is a boon to mankind. I think everybody should try having it once in life!
Go green and stay healthy with pumpkin leaves!