October is a week away and here in the U.S.A. we harvest pumpkins and celebrate Halloween, Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Festivals and Pumpkin Carving. No one pays much attention to the pumpkin leaves, but in other parts of the world, such as in Africa and Longevity Village in China, pumpkin leaves are cooked and eaten throughout the entire year. I never gave pumpkin leaves much thought either until recently as I was listening to the audiobook, “The Longevity Plan… Seven Life-Transforming Lessons from Ancient China” by Dr. John D. Day and Jane Ann Day. Right from the beginning, he mentions the “secret recipe” for Longevity Soup whose main ingredients are Pumpkin Leaves and Hemp Seeds. I was intrigued throughout the entire, well-written book and highly recommend it at the bottom of this post. Below are the many anti-aging health benefits of pumpkin leaves…
Incredible Health Benefits of Pumpkin Leaves
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 the 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 the 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 fibers
- 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:
1. Anti-aging ~ Due to the presence of anti-oxidants in abundance, these leaves are known to slow down the aging 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 Macular Degeneration (ARMD).
3. Convulsions ~ 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.
4. Lowers cholesterol ~ In this world of high cholesterol problems, these leaves can be considered a boon. As there is a huge amount of fiber in these leaves, it reduces the absorption of bile acid and cholesterol from the small intestines, thereby resulting in low levels of cholesterol and a healthy heart!
5. 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!
6. Diabetes ~ Only a diabetic person knows how painful it is to have diabetes. Pumpkin leaves are known to have the hypoglycemic effect which helps in reducing sugar levels in the blood, thus keeping diabetes under control!
7. 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.
8. Fights against cancer ~ Studies show that there is a direct correlation between the intake of fiber and risk of cancer. This is because foods containing high amounts of fiber are also rich in vitamins and minerals, all of which are required for preventing cancer. So it is recommended to have these leaves through soups daily.
9. Keeps your bones strong ~ It is very rich in calcium and phosphorus. Therefore it is highly recommended for children and especially mothers. It helps to keep the bones strong and healthy and also aids in keeping away the deficiency of calcium, helping in the proper growth of teeth and bones.
10. Boosts immune system ~ As it helps in increasing hemoglobin in the blood and keeping your bones strong, they increase your immunity. This decreases the risk of getting affected by diseases, thereby keeping you healthy.
11. 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.
12. Helps with digestion ~ As it has high fiber content, it helps you in improving your digestion and easy passage of feces. As there is a large amount of fiber, the stools are large and soft, making the muscles contract and pass the feces without any additional pressure. As your stomach is clean, your body will be detoxified as well.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Treats Anemia ~ These leaves are a rich source of iron, which helps in increasing oxygen content in the blood and lungs, thereby increasing the hemoglobin 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 hemoglobin increase, the disorder named “anemia” vanishes.
How Are Pumpkin Leaves Eaten?
These leaves are not bitter like other green leaves, which is a huge plus. They can be prepared and eaten in a variety of ways: in soups, sautéed, or even raw in salads. Below are 3 ways to prepare Pumpkin Leaves:
- Fresh pumpkin leaves
- Olive oil
In a hot pan, put a few drops of olive oil. Now, put pumpkin leaves and some salt in the pan and stir-fry it for 5 minutes.
Keep moving the vegetables while frying. At the time of putting the cooked leaves onto the dish, add some garlic to it for taste. Serve hot.
- Fresh pumpkin leaves
- Water – 120 ml
- Peanut powder – 1 cup
- Chopped tomato – 2 cups
- Chopped onion – 1 cup
- Olive oil
Clean the leaves and chop them. Put water, fresh leaves, tomato and onion in a saucepan and cover the pan until the leaves are wilted.
When it gets reduced to half, add peanut powder and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Pumpkin Leaves can be eaten in salads as well, but it has a prickly texture so it doesn’t taste quite as good when eaten raw. Cooking will make them softer and easier to digest!
A leaf with such great amounts of nutrients plus being available throughout the year is a boon to mankind… Go green and stay healthy with pumpkin leaves!