I see you there trying to fix your favorite pot of soup. Hmmn. You already got your melon seeds in powder form, you’ve diced your favorite cow skin (ponmo), your stockfish properly softened with hot water and salt, your palm oil, ah yes you almost forgot, the special spice for this dish, crayfish which makes all the difference. After seasoning and boiling your chicken or turkey pieces, your favorite soup is finally ready to be prepared: or is it? Aren’t you still leaving something behind? Of course you are. Now, where are your vegetables? You sure would have made an excellent choice if ugu was your first option. Haha now the aroma of your egusi delicacy must have filled the whole house and is ready to be paired with your most preferred morsel, is yours pounded yam too? Perfect. Bon appetit.
Just in case you’re not familiar with the term, ugu, it is also known as pumpkin leaves and common among the Igbos. This is probably the only way you take ugu in your diet: just a mix with your egusi soup. You’d be surprised at the numerous other ways you can consume ugu. I’d like to welcome you to another interesting session with me buddies’ really hope you’re trying to keep safe while staying healthy. Let me take you through some healthy ugu diet ideas.
- Eaten Raw: Ugu has a very high vitamin and mineral content and can actually be eaten without preparation, it can be used as a substitute for lettuce for vegetable salads. You really should give it a try one of these days. You could chop up some ugu leaves, dice some tomatoes, some cabbages, and nuts for a vegetable salad meal. The popular Abacha meal is a perfect example of how this can be eaten.
- As a tonic; this multi-purpose vegetable as I love to refer to it can be used as a blood tonic. It is a vegetable that is high in iron which is a good blood builder. To take as a blood tonic, it can be properly washed, squeezed and the juice taken with milk. Trust me when I had this with chilled milk, it felt so well. Apart from sensitizing your taste buds, you’d do your body a whole world of good. Ladies!!!! Are you here? You can compensate for the blood you lose during your menstrual periods by gulping down a cup of ugu and milk. I’m almost too sure that most of my buddies here have had ugu like this especially if you grew up in an African home. It is our mothers’ go-to supplement for blood building.
- As a smoothie: Ugu is really an all-round vegetable and has been proven to be a good diet for weight loss. To be taken as a smoothie, cut your ugu leaves into small pieces and do the same with some pieces of pineapple and some lime juice and blend all together: It can also be enjoyed as a refreshing smoothie not necessarily for a weight loss routine: try it out with other fruits like apples and oranges for a difference.
- Ugu seeds: So this may be uncommon knowledge but ugu seeds are surprisingly as useful as the leaves. They can be roasted or boiled before eating like groundnuts and are used as soup thickeners; these seeds have been tied to disease treatment, infertility treatment in men and boosts the functionality of the testicles for an increased sperm count. It is essential for health during pregnancy and childbirth as it aids lactation. From my research, I got to know that the cooked pumpkin seeds can also be dipped in palm oil or local sauces before eating and can also be used for making soaps as well as local spices known as ogiri similar to “iru”. There are an excellent sources of protein and oil thus are highly beneficial to human health. Interestingly, the seeds can last for months or up to a year in the gourd if left uncut and whole.
- Medicine: Pumpkin leaves are great sources of vitamin A and C. Vitamin C is essential for healing of wounds and maintaining healthy bones while Vitamin A aids eyesight as well as allows for healthy skin and hair. Ugu leaves have been found effective in treating convulsion in children, sliced and mixed with coconut water and with a pinch of salt.
Basically, all parts of ugu are very useful down from the shoots to the seeds and the leaves as we have seen. Fluted pumpkin leaves are a source of fiber that helps in regulating the digestive system, rich in vitamins and magnesium which aid in the improvement and normal functioning of the brain and nervous system as a whole. Rich in calcium is well necessary for bone and teeth formation and maintenance.
A lot has been said about ugu and how it can be incorporated into our diet. How many of these options have you explored? Kindly let me know in the comment section. Have you visited our website today? Check out our new farm openings of which ugu farm is one you can invest in. Do not forget the valentine’s offer for the month and stand a chance to win buddy-boxes when you invest a minimum of 200,000 thousand naira at a whopping 25%.ROI. That’s it for today, my buddies. It’s always a pleasure having you here. Looking forward to the next!!!!!!!!