Fluted pumpkin leaves are greenish leafy vegetables widely cultivated in West African countries, including Ghana, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, and of course, Nigeria. They are scientifically known as Telfairia Occidentalis,
The plant is a tropical vine grown in West Africa as a leafy vegetable and its edible seeds, it also belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. 
Each tribe in Nigeria has a different name for Fluted pumpkin leaves – The Yorubas call it ‘Sokoyokoto,’ In Igbo it is called ‘Ugu’, in Hausa, it is called ‘Kabewa’ and in Efik ‘Ikong-Ubong’. It is used to prepare many delicacies.
In this article, you will learn about the nutritional value and health benefits of fluted pumpkin leaves.
Nutritional Value of Fluted Pumpkin Leaves
In a 2019 research on the Haematology and Comparative Study of Fluted Pumpkin Leave Vegetable and Seed Nutrients, the researchers stated that it contained a high amount if dietary fibre, protein and phosphorus.
Fluted pumpkin leaves also contain calcium, niacin, folate, magnesium, iron, potassium, manganese, A, B2, B6, C2 and E, carotene, and flavonoids. Now let’s go on to the health benefits of fluted pumpkin leaves. 
Health Benefits of Fluted Pumpkin Leaves
1. Combats Cancer
Cancer is among the leading causes of death across the countries of the world, and there are several opinions that it may grow continually if not curbed.
Although people with cancer use orthodox medicine and chemotherapeutic treatment for combating this health condition, but the plain truth is that they are capable of triggering certain long-term side effects.
This is why experts often suggest making use of plants and herbs for treating cancer, and of course, fluted pumpkin is among these potent plants.
In recent studies, it was discovered that fluted pumpkin leaves and seeds exhibit anticancer, anti-oxidative, and superoxide effects, meaning that it can help reduce the risk of the oxidative burst in the human blood.
That’s not all; the leaves of Telfairia occidentalis also contain chemo-suppressive properties, including chlorophyll, phenolic compounds, saponins, tannins, flavonoids, glycosides and phytosterols – all of which help in fighting against cancer.
2. Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases
Fluted Pumpkin leaves contains good amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins, protein, riboflavin, thiamine, manganese, magnesium, iron, potassium, and carotene, all of which play a vital role in the overall human health as well as the heart.
In fact, there are certain countries of the world where these leaves are being used for preparing herbal medicine for improving the overall functioning of the heart. It also helps in preventing and treating of cardiovascular-related diseases, including heart attack and stroke.
3. Increases Breast Milk Production
Lactating and nursing mothers are yet another category of people that will enjoy the full health benefits of fluted pumpkin leaves. The reason is because of the oily seeds of this plant help in boosting the flow of milk in women who are currently breastfeeding their kids.
Also it boosts fertility in women and improves post-natal health.
4. Controls Diabetes
Multiple studies reveal that the seeds, leaves, and extracts of fluted pumpkin exhibit diabetic effects, and this is mainly because of the anti-diabetic properties it is packed with. This includes properties like ethyl acetate and polysaccharides content. Fiber plays a vital role in controlling blood sugar levels, and consuming fiber-rich foods has been shown to reduce blood sugar control.
Fluted pumpkin is also proven to be effective in lowering and controlling the glucose level of diabetic patients. It is also considered ideal for improving glucose tolerance and serum insulin levels in the body.
5. Lowers Stress Levels
Fluted pumpkin can help prevent oxidative stress in humans. This is attributed majorly to the free-radical-fighting antioxidants the plant contains, including tocopherol, dismutase, catalase, glutathione reductase, and ascorbic acid. In addition to that, Ugu leaves are also considered to be ideal for lowering not just stress alone but depression levels, too, making it a great food option for boosting your mood.
6. Treats Malaria
One of the amazing health benefits of ugu or fluted pumpkin leaves is that it possess antiplasmodial and schizonticidal properties, meaning that it is capable of treating parasitic malaria infection. In fact, there are certain countries where this plant is being used for preparing local malaria remedy since ages past, and it is proven to be effective to date.
A study in 2007 showed the antiplasmodial potential of fluted pumpkin leaves. 
7. Boosts Fertility
Fluted pumpkin leaves ocontains antioxidants and vitamins, including oleic acid, vitamin A, alkaloids, tannins and linoleic acid – all of which are linked with improved testicles functioning and increased sperm count. It might also help to prevent prostate cancer.
The leaves are also helpful for women as it help improve fertility, boost post-pregnancy health, and increase breast milk production in lactating mothers.
8. Boosts blood production
Fluted pumpkin leaves are capable of boosting of blood in the body system and prevent anaemia because it contains a good amount of iron and other important minerals. Thus they can be consumed to improve the level of blood in the body and helping in increasing blood production.
9. Aids in Weight Loss
Fluted pumpkin leaves help in weight loss and are effective in weight management. They are extremely high in fibre and protein which can help you achieve weight loss if you add it to your diet.
10. Good for Healthy Bones
Potassium is one of the major minerals present in fluted pumpkin leaves, and it helps to maintain the bone mineral density. It also prevents osteoporosis, which is a chronic illness that affects the bones as you advance in age.
How to add fluted pumpkin leaves to your diet and stay healthy
To enjoy these health benefits of fluted pumpkin leaves, you need to incorporate it your diet regularly. However, it can be easily added to your diet. You can use it frequently whenever you prepare soups, and you can consume vegetable soup often too.
You can also eat fluted pumpkin leaves as a side dish when eating rice, yam, porridge and spaghetti.
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