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Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia Occidentalis)

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Fluted Pumpkin is leaf vegetable and its seeds are used in various food preparations in West Africa. Fluted Pumpkin is native to Western Africa; it is mainly cultivated in Nigeria because this is one of the fruits, which conveniently grows in the drought prone conditions. Fluted gourd’s fruit is inedible, but is used in herbal and folk medicines. Seeds are incredible rich in proteins, so they are great for vegetarian people around the world.

Synonyms

  1. Fluted gourd
  2. Ugu
  3. Ugwu Vegetable
  4. Telfairia occidentalis (Botanical Name)

Fluted Pumpkin’s fruit is perhaps the largest in the fruit kingdom, growing to lengths of over 100cm. While the fruit itself is not edible, the leaves, shoots and seeds of the Fluted gourd are amazingly nutritious and can easily qualify for the word of super food. Similar in shape and size to Pumpkin, the Fluted Pumpkin is also grown on trellis like structures (vine) or even on the ground.

Most herbs and fruits have contributed to Grandmother’s Recipes and Home Grown Medicines and the Fluted Pumpkin is no exception.

Fluted Pumpkin Nutrition Facts

Although the fruit itself is inedible, it is the dark green leaves, tender shoots and the dark brown seeds of the Fluted Pumpkin that contain high levels of nutrients essential for the human body. The shoots and leaves contain high levels of Potassium, iron and Anti oxidants while the seeds are a Powerhouse of Proteins, Oils and fats.

Health Benefits of Fluted Pumpkin

We have moved from a leisurely mode of life to a life, which has added a huge burden on our life styles in the form hectic schedules and indifferent eating habits. So also, have the number of ailments.

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Words like anti oxidants, free radicals that were practically unknown even fifty years ago are very much a part of the layman’s vocabulary now. So how does the Fluted Pumpkin qualify for the term of Wonder food? The esteemed readers are invited to form their own opinion.

Blood purifier

Fluted Pumpkin is reputed to have blood-purifying properties and it has been used as a tonic for the young and old alike. Surprisingly though, the roots are poisonous for human consumption.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFA

The seeds of the Fluted Pumpkin are extremely rich in PUFA. These are the “Good” fatty acids essential for supplying energy to the muscles and other organs. They are extremely helpful in lowering the overall cholesterol of the body.

These are the essential fatty acids and need to be taken in regulated quantities. Other functions of PUFA include production of membranes and regulation of prostaglandin production. Perhaps one of the most important functions of PUFA are the signals they send to the brain indicating that you are full and prevents overeating and obesity.

Proteins

Proteins are the basic building block of the human body and necessary in all bodily functions. Proteins are essential in building of body tissues and the synthesis of the essential amino acids, which cannot be obtained with our food sources. Fluted Pumpkin is very rich in protein content.

Fluted Pumpkin helpful in Anemia

Iron present in Fluted Pumpkin is the essential component of hemoglobin in the blood and cells. It is vitally important for the transport of oxygen from the lungs to every organ and muscles of the body. It also helps in storing and diffusing oxygen in the nerve cells.

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Good for digestive system

The leaves, shoots and seeds of the Fluted Pumpkin are rich in dietary fiber containing an amazing array of Vitamins, which are essential for building our tissues to repair of scars.

Apart from this, the gel like substance formed by the water-soluble fiber helps in slowing down the passage of food through the intestines thereby assisting in proper digestion and bowel movements.

Prevent cancers & delay aging

The leaves of the FLUTED PUMPKIN are very rich in alpha and beta-carotenes or antioxidants, which help in the anti ageing process by eliminating the dangers of free radicals. There are reported to be one of the primary contributors to cancerous growths.

Other benefits of Fluted Pumpkin

Other health benefits include increase of blood volumes, boosting of the body’s immune system and are effective in treatment of convulsions, malaria and acute anemia.

Side effects and contraindications

In a study by the German regulatory authority on the use of herbs etc. on the human body, it was found that side effects do occur in the case of excessive intake of the seeds of the Fluted Pumpkin, but was very rare.

Documented in a study in the year 2000, seeds were examined for their efficacy in the treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.

5 of the 476 patients of the control group had reactions possibly due to the seeds of Fluted Pumpkin.

These included:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Stomach pains
  • Mild gastrointestinal ailments

Interactions with drugs

Other contraindications as reported by several herbal research groups include the combination of diuretics and pumpkin seeds because interactions maybe possible.

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2 Comments
  1. R.K. Sharma says

    According to study published in African Journal of Biochemistry Research, leaves of Telfairia occidentalis can reduce the risks of heart attack and it also significantly increases good cholesterol levels.

  2. Ifeanyi Nzemezie says

    Wonderful to see my local fluted pumpking on your publication. But why is there no pictures?

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