So today, I’m going to be discussing pumpkin leaves, which is known as “Ugu leaves” by most Nigerians. It is primarily used in soups and herbal medicines. Although the fruit is inedible, the seed is high in fats and protein, it can be grounded into powder for smoothie, soup, porridge or even bread. Most people use it for soup, but it’s a great addition to your smoothie.
You can get it in most African stores here in Winnipeg.
“Growing up in my family house, our neighbour had an Ugu vine in his compound. Fortunately for my family, Ugu has crawling vines, so it overflows into our compound. Our neighbour was generous, he allowed us to use the one that overflows into our compound, so we never bought Ugu at the market.
My grandma loves bitter leaves and Ugu leaves because of their benefits, but of the two, Ugu leaves is her favorite. She squeezes the juice and gives us to drink. I was not a fan of it at first, until she added milk to it, for better taste. I and my siblings loved it whenever she adds milk to it, our very own Ugu smoothie was birthed.”
Now let’s talk about the benefits of this versatile leaves…
- Ugu leaves are rich in essential vitamins such as A and C. vitamin A helps improve eyesight and promotes healthy skin, vitamin C helps in healing and forming scar tissue, as well as maintain healthy bones, skin, and teeth.
- Pumpkin leaves contain a high amount of calcium, which is crucial for healthy bones.
- They are also rich in iron, making them a healthy and beneficial addition to one’s diet. Iron aids the muscles in storing and using oxygen and also helps in carrying oxygen from the lungs to other part of the body.
- It promotes recovery and acts as antioxidant
- Add this to your daily diets or smoothies, it’s a good way to strengthen your immune system during this pandemic, because it protects your body against the effect of free radicals.
This is a simple recipe on how you can make yours…
2 teaspoons of dried Ugu leaves (if you can get fresh ones, that would be perfect.!)
1 tablespoon of honey
Spinach or kale
…. Blend together and drink that’s a whole cup of vitamins for the day.