As you should know by now, vegetables are a very important aspect of a diet, in fact, they are very necessary for the improvement and maintenance of good health, that is why the African food network is bringing you this article about some African leafy vegetables that are known to have some incredible medicinal and healing properties.
In some countries in Africa, it is a common practice to have traditionally made medicine, and these medicines are used for the treatment and maintenance of some illnesses.
These African leafy vegetables are not only used to heal the internal organs, some of them can also be used for the treatment and healing of the skin.
Some of these African leafy vegetables are even used to prepare soap, creams, essential oils, and some other necessary treatments for the maintenance and treatment of the skin, and these traditionally made medicines are known to work naturally and perfectly.
It is only wise we give you some of the tips used for the preparation of these African medicines with this article about five African leafy vegetables with incredible medicinal properties.
This article is going to focus on popular African leafy vegetables that are rich in nutrients, so much that they have amazing medicinal properties.
The African vegetables on this list are popular for their richness and nutritional benefits, most of these nutritional benefits help the body to function properly, even healing some parts of the body, just as a medicine would.
Before we look at the five African vegetables with incredible medicinal properties, let us have a quick discourse on what exactly leafy vegetables are.
When we say leafy vegetables, there is a small difference between the leafy vegetables and regular vegetables, and we are going to take a look at the difference between these two types of vegetables, but before we do that, let us take the definition of vegetables and Leafy vegetables.
What Is A Vegetable?
A vegetable can be described as a part or section of a plant that is often used as food, some examples of vegetables are;
What Are Leafy Vegetables?
Ask around for the definition of a leafy vegetable and the response you would get will be “vegetables are leaves that can be eaten”.
This is the simple definition of what exactly vegetables are, which is correct, but to look deeper into the meaning of vegetables and what exactly their functions are it would be simply put as; Vegetables are soft, leafy, and edible fruits, they can be consumed in different ways and a few of these ways include;
- Leafy vegetables can be eaten raw
- Leafy vegetables can be cooked in a stew
- Leafy vegetables can be eaten in a salad
- Leafy vegetables can be steamed
Some of the edible aspects of a vegetable can be leafy, and some examples of a few vegetables are bitter leaf, waterleaf, ugu (pumpkin leaves), fluted pumpkin, scent leaves, mint leaves, lemongrass, and so many more.
African leafy vegetables in your diet ensure the consumption of most of the nutrients that are required by the body to function properly.
Vegetables are a very essential part of the diet and they should always be included in your meal, as regularly as you can.
Vegetables have very important roles to play in the human body, diet, and nutrition, this is as a result of the macronutrients and micronutrients that are present in vegetables.
Some other essential nutrients that are present in vegetables are fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, Vitamin A, potassium, iron, and zinc. These few nutrients each have important roles to play, and they are all needed in the body to help the body function properly, and also get through some important metabolic activities that occur in the body.
What Are The Advantages Of African Leaf Vegetables?
This section is going to look at some simple advantages of vegetables, that exclude their health benefits. This is going to give you some form of insight on why you should have vegetables and how easily accessible they are.
- African Leafy Vegetables Are Affordable: African vegetables are one of the cheapest and affordable vegetables you can get out there, so you have no excuse not to have vegetables in your diet.
- African leaf vegetables are very easy and quick to cook.
- African leaf vegetables are very rich in essential nutrients like Vitamin C, carotene, and Vitamin B.
- Adequate consumption of African leaf vegetables ensures reduction in the risk of some major diseases and also stress management.
- African leaf vegetables are known to have the ability to aid in the reduction of malnutrition, this is most common among rural regions.
Back to African Leafy Vegetables With Incredible Medicinal Properties
The body needs most of the nutrients from these African leaf vegetables, as you already know, to give you some insight on the importance of these African leaf vegetables, let us take a quick look at the general health benefits of African Leafy Vegetables.
General Nutritional Benefits Of African Leafy Vegetables
- Dark African leaf vegetables protect the bones from osteoporosis.
- African leaf vegetables help to prevent some inflammatory diseases.
- Due to the high content of antioxidants, African leaf vegetables are considered to be one of the most effective and best cancer-preventing foods.
- African leafy vegetables are very rich in some vitamins like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E.
- African leafy vegetables are known to have an abundance of carotenoids-antioxidants. These antioxidants help in the protection of the cells, and they are also very popular for their ability to block the early stages of cancer.
- African leafy vegetables are rich in some essential minerals and elements like magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, and fiber.
- African leafy vegetables contain small amounts of sodium, cholesterol, and carbohydrates.
- Another known function of African leafy vegetables is their great amount of folate. Folate is a vitamin B that helps in the promotion of the health of the heart. Folate also helps in the prevention of some types of birth defects, and they are also very important and essential for The duplication of DNA. Another known function of this Vitamin B is that they help in the protection of the body against certain diseases, cancer included.
- As you already know, African leafy vegetables are rich in antioxidants, this high content of antioxidants gives these African leafy vegetables the ability to assist the body in the prevention of cancer. Consumption of a good amount of vegetables every week is said to reduce the risk of skin and break cancer.
You have seen some of the great health benefits of these African, reasons why you should try them, and these are more than enough reasons why African leafy vegetables should be included in your diet.
In case you have no idea how to incorporate these African leafy vegetables into your diet, there is always something for everyone.
You are not only going to be getting familiar with some of the African leafy vegetables with incredible medicinal properties, but you are also going to get some ideas on the types of dishes they can be enjoyed with.
Getting a recipe for these delicious African dishes is not a problem because there is always something for everyone here at the African food network, so relax and enjoy this list of five African leafy vegetables with incredible medicinal properties.
With these few health benefits of African leafy vegetables, everyone should be excited and getting ready to know what these African leafy vegetables are, and of course their medicinal properties.
Let Us Take A Look At The List Of 5 African Leafy Vegetables With Medicinal Properties
When we say African leafy vegetables with medicinal properties, these are African leafy vegetables that are known to be used for several local treatments across Africa and are known to work amazing wonders in the lives and general health of individuals.
The medicinal properties cut across just the internal body, it also spreads towards the skin, the hair and so many other parts of the body.
Some of these African leafy vegetables should be eaten as regularly as possible because they each have roles they play in the human body, which also includes giving you the adequate nutrients that you need for some functions and growth in the body.
5 African Leafy Vegetables with Incredible Medicinal Properties
Knowing these amazing African leaf vegetables with incredible medicinal properties is very important. When you are familiar with some of these African leafy vegetables, you will be able to incorporate the leafy vegetables into your diet, which would leave you satisfied, smiling, and best of all, smiling.
This African leafy vegetable is very popular in Nigeria, not just Nigeria, it is in fact, mostly cultivated in countries in West Africa.
This African pumpkin leaves also goes by so many names according to different states and traditions in Nigeria. It is known as Ikong-ubong in the Ibibio or awful language, it is also known as eweroko in the Yoruba language, ugu in the Igbo language, and offi in the Ukwani language.
These are not the only names of this incredible African leafy vegetable, it also goes by other names in other countries in Africa; in Ghana, the fluted pumpkin is known as krobonko and Gonugbe in Sierra Leone.
The fluted pumpkin is cultivated for so many reasons but one of the most common reasons for the cultivation of this incredible African leafy vegetable is for its nutritious and amazing leaves. Due to the nature of the cultivation and growth of this African leafy vegetable, it is often referred to as an outdoor domestic food plant.
What Are The Nutritional Values Of The Fluted Pumpkin?
As you already know, African leafy vegetables are known for their great nutritional benefits, but the most common benefits are the phenolic compounds and antioxidant properties.
The leaves of the fluted pumpkin are known to have an abundance of minerals like P, Ca, and Fe, and the contents of these minerals have a higher amount or percentage, compared to other African leafy vegetables.
The fluted pumpkin might be a reliable source of protein, but the fiber content is moderate and enough to enrich you and keep you healthy.
What Are The Medicinal Properties Of The Fluted Pumpkin?
When you consume the fluted pumpkin, due to the great medicinal properties that it possesses, the fluted pumpkin has the potential to relieve and protect you from the implications of oxidative stress.
The fluted pumpkin is also known to have a high level of potassium; This may also mitigate hypertensive.
The increased amount of iron content in the pumpkin leaves is also known to help in the improvement and boosting of blood production. For this reason, the fluted pumpkin is a known traditional treatment for anemia and can also be used in the control and management of diabetes.
How Do You Enjoy The Fluted Pumpkin?
The popular name for this African leafy vegetable is ugu, and it is very common and easy to find in countries in West Africa.
Ugu can be enjoyed in so many ways, but it is most popularly used in soups, and sometimes stews.
Here are a few dishes that you can enjoy the fluted pumpkin with;
- Egusi soup (pumpkin seeds)
- Boiled plantain and vegetable sauce
- Boiled yam and vegetable stew
- Ogbono soup and fufu
- Palaver soup
- Rice and palm kernel stew
- Rice and vegetable sauce with fish
This is a native plant which is also referred to as atta-okuku or atta-oyinbo in Ukwani, located in Delta State, Nigeria.
Lemongrass grows naturally but is often cultivated as a cash crop (this usually happens in other African countries).
What Are The Nutritional Values Of Lemon Grass?
The nutritional values of lemongrass are very similar to the nutritional values of the fluted pumpkin and chives.
Although they have similar properties, lemongrass is said to contain about fourteen times more manganese, than is present in chives. Lemongrass is very popular for its use as an infusion in herbal tea.
What Are The Medicinal Properties Of Lemon Grass?
Lemongrass is popular for its use in traditional medicine, this is because it can be used to treat several diseases, like diabetes and high cholesterol included.
The medicinal properties of lemongrass are attributed to its high amounts of fiber and fat, which are higher than the amount present in fluted pumpkins.
This is African leafy vegetable might be what some might describe as a short-lived shrub. This is as a result of the short life span, and their sensitivity to cold conditions.
This is a very popular leafy vegetable in West Africa, especially Nigeria, it is often referred to as bologi (pronounced as ‘ghologi’).
The amazing thing about this African leafy vegetable is its ability to grow on its own without actual cultivation.
This incredible African leafy vegetable is known for its medicinal properties and sweetness and flavor.
Waterleaf is very rich in some nutrients and vitamins that are very essential for the human body, especially protein and fiber.
What Are The Medicinal Properties Of Water Leaf?
Waterleaf is known to be very rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
The presence of these antioxidants is also known to aid in the management and treatment of metabolic syndrome, which includes high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes.
Due to the great medicinal properties of this African leafy vegetable, when consumed with any soup, it is said to have healing properties, which help to remedy hypertension, this is as a result of the increasingly high amount of potassium that is present in waterleaf.
How Do You Enjoy Water Leaf?
There are so many different ways to enjoy waterleaf, but one of the most common is waterleaf is enjoyed in Nigeria is by incorporating the African leafy vegetable in your soup.
Here are a few soup ideas you can enjoy waterleaf with;
- Vegetable soup
- Okra soup
- Vegetable sauce and rice
- Vegetable sauce with boiled yam
- Vegetable sauce with roasted plantain
This is another highly nutritious African leafy vegetable, including the grain. They both can be used for animal and human consumption; This is as a result of the great nutritional benefits that they possess.
Just like water leaves, morogo can grow on their own in farms but they could also be cultivated.
Another amazing fact about this African leafy vegetable is the high-fat content, compared to waterleaf, butter leaf, and mint leaves.
Due to the great iron content and amazing antioxidant properties of morogo, it may be able to alleviate malnutrition of macronutrients.
What Are The Medicinal Properties Of Morogo?
The zinc content of this amazing African leafy vegetable has a huge role to play in fertility and its ability to be able to manage diabetes.
How Do You Enjoy Morogo?
Just like some of the other types of African leafy vegetables, it can be enjoyed with any dish of your choice.
A list of African leafy vegetables with incredible medicinal properties will be very incomplete without the miracle tree 94 drumstick tree.
This tree is mostly grown for traditionally prepared medicines, food sources and so many more.
This African leafy vegetable is mostly grown in Nigeria and is popularly known as ekwe-oyibo or ekwe.
This African leafy vegetable usually grows as a tree in different areas like lining and farming areas.
What are The Medicinal Properties Of the Miracle Tree?
This African leafy vegetable is known to be a high source of nutrients that leads to the promotion of good health, it is also used for the preparation of traditional medicine, which is then used for the treatment of several types of ailments.
The leaves of the miracle tree are usually prepared in so many ways, it can either be powdered, cooked or even used raw. The miracle tree can exist in each of these different forms, while still holding onto a good amount of the nutritional value, which is amazing because there would be no loss of nutrients as the form of the leaves of this incredible African leafy vegetable changes.
The leaves of the miracle tree, also known as moringa leaves are also known to contain a lot more vitamin C content than is present in lemons and oranges.
These African leafy vegetables are also very rich in bioactive compounds, which also include antioxidants.
Let Us Have A Quick Recap
After reading through this article, you would be sure to have learned some amazing acts about African leafy vegetables, the health benefits, and even ways you can enjoy these African leafy vegetables.
But to have a quick summary of what exactly was discussed let us look at these few points.
We first had a close look at the simple differences between leafy vegetables and vegetables.
We also got some reasons why vegetables are important for the development of the human body. If you would like to know more about vegetables and how to use them, and also some ways to enjoy them, African style, feel free to check out these articles here at the African food network.
You also got to know some of the traditional names of these African leafy vegetables, what nutrients, minerals, and vitamins make these African leafy vegetables so incredible and special.
With this little information about African leafy vegetables, it is expected that you start having a few of them in your diet. For the taste of course, but who does not like a healthy and happy life?
Everyone should start getting in on these African vegetable dishes because they have great healing and nutritional properties.
With this little information about African leafy vegetables, you should already have an idea of some of these African leafy vegetables with incredible nutritional benefits, and also how to incorporate them into our diet.
Have fun with these African leafy vegetables and be sure to live a healthier and happier life.