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 scientifically known as Cucurbita moschata Duchesne. It is used for various soups in the West African sub-region. Squash & Pumpkin leaves are indeed edible. In many parts of the world, including Asia and Africa, they are a regular part of the diet when available. The taste is similar to a mixture of green beans, asparagus, broccoli and spinach.
Health benefits of Pumpkin Leaves
Fertility is the ability to get pregnant. If you have sex and do not use contraception you may get pregnant. Studies have shown that pumpkin leaves can be very vital when it comes treating infertility issues. The antioxidants properties which include oleic acid, vitamin A, alkaloids, tannins and linoleic acid have been shown to help boost the functionality of the testicles for an increased sperm count.
Promote heart health
The heart beats about 2.5 billion times over the average lifetime, pushing millions of gallons of blood to every part of the body. Healthy changes in the way we live, particularly diet and exercise, have been proven to: Dramatically reduce heart disease risk factors. Pumpkin leaves contain plenty of soluble fiber; high intake of soluble fiber helps to reduce the absorption of cholesterol and bile acid from the small intestines, thus decreasing blood cholesterol level. When soluble fibers are broken down by bacteria in the intestines, some fatty acids released are said to decrease the production of cholesterol by the liver. By lowering blood cholesterol, fibers 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.
Helps in controlling diabetes
Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make. Pumpkin leaves help reduce the sugar level in the blood, the hypoglycemic effect of pumpkin leaves help keep diabetes under control. Studies have also shown that the aqueous leaf extract of pumpkin leaves acts as anti-diabetic which help to reduce and regulate the glucose level of diabetic patients. And this is linked to the presence of ethyl acetate and polysaccharides in the leaves, which posses anti-diabetic properties.
Boost Immune System Function
The immune system is a host defense system comprising many biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease. It defends our body against invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, and foreign bodies. Iron which is found abundantly in pumpkin leaves plays an important role in providing strength to the immune system of the human body. Thus, the body becomes capable to fight against a number of diseases and infections. Red blood cells are essential for providing oxygen to damaged tissues, organs, and cells. Without it, there would be no hemoglobin; without hemoglobin, there would be no oxygen. The healing process needs iron to happen!
Fight against cancer
Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Pumpkin leaf like other green vegetables is rich in fibers; several researches in the last three decades have shown a link between increased fiber in-take and a decrease in colon cancer. It is due to the fiber itself or the nutrients that are commonly in fiber-rich foods like vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and essential fatty acid. Regular consumption of pumpkin leaves is extremely recommended and this is easily possible in West Africa through soups.
Vitamin E found in green leafy vegetables works with vitamin C to keep skin healthy as you age. This vitamin also helps protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays and may help reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Pumpkin leaf consists of 38 µg of Vitamin A which is 5.43% of the daily recommended value. Therefore consuming vitamin A rich foods helps to keep body free from free radicals and toxins, which might cause damage to your skin. It helps to keep the skin soft and supple by ensuring moisture retention, thus preventing dryness, keratinization and skin conditions like psoriasis.
Remedy for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, the condition can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. Low levels of vitamin B6 are related with increased symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), like severe pain. Earlier research has discovered that people with RA need more vitamin B6 compared to healthy people because they experience constant muscle aches and joint pain because of chronic inflammation. Vitamin B6 rich foods helps in curbing pain and can be useful in supplement form for controlling aches in the muscles and joints due to arthritis.
Remedy for Painful Menstruation
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of symptoms that many women get about a week or two before their period. Most women, over 90%, say they get some premenstrual symptoms, such as bloating, headaches, and moodiness. Women who suffer from severe PMS symptoms are advised to consume manganese supplements as well as manganese rich foods. Pumpkin leaf is one of the wonderful options to obtain required amount of manganese through your dietary supplement.
You probably already understand that calcium is good for your bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. The nutrient is essentially a building block of bone, and it helps maintain bone strength throughout your lifetime. Pumpkin leaf consists of huge amount of calcium and phosphorus which are essential for the bones and teeth of our body. We must consume enough of them daily to confirm strong bones, proper growth and good teeth development. It also avoid stiff joint and bone pain.
Constipation occurs when bowel movements become less frequent and stools become difficult to pass. It happens most often due to changes in diet or routine, or due to inadequate intake of fiber. As mentioned earlier pumpkin leaf is rich in fiber which helps to add bulk to stool, making bowel movement easier. Insoluble fiber does this well. When plenty of fiber is consumed, the stool is large and soft, this encourages the muscles of the intestines to contract, pushing out the stool without the individual straining himself.
Prevents Premature Aging
Premature aging is not only looking older, it also means you get easily tired, and you’re generally weaker compared to people your age who are not aging. Copper present in pumpkin leaves are a powerful antioxidant, which works in the presence of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase to defend the cell membranes from free radicals. Superoxide dismutase is one of the strongest antioxidants that work within the body in the fight against free radicals. Free radicals attack many organ systems, but are specially well-studied in terms of their effect on aging, like wrinkles, age spots, susceptibility to numerous types of cancer, macular degeneration, and kidney malfunctions. Having sufficient copper in your daily diet can keep you looking younger for longer!
Side Effects of Pumpkin leaves
Pumpkin leaves when consumed in food amounts and in medicinal amounts are likely safe for most people. Side effects from pumpkin products are rare. However, individuals with known allergy to pumpkin, its leaves and products should avoid both the leaf and medicinal products produced from it.