MSc Plant Physiology
The following vegetables are selected based on the fact that they’re some of the most common part of the culinary dosage of Nigerians, most especially the South-Western part.
Corchorus olitorious (Jute, Ewedu)
Jute plant contains significant amount of Vitamin K (about 94 µg) which is helpful in reducing the threat of bleeding in the liver, poor nutrient absorption, jaundice or the combination of long term use of antibiotics or aspirin. Some of the problems related with the gastrointestinal system like colitis, obstructions, sprue and Crohn’s disease occur due to the reduced content of Vitamin K.
Poor diet which is the primary cause of nutrient deficiencies are the fundamental reasons of numerous eye diseases. Research conducted by University of Maryland Medical Centre showed that taking vitamin B6 together with other vitamins, like folate, can help with the prevention of eye disorders and loss of vision, including age-related macular degeneration. Jute plant consists of 0.496 mg Vitamin B6 which is 38.15 % of the daily recommended value. Regular consumption of Jute plant is conjecture most optical related problems.
Supports Skin Health and Cell Growth
Vitamin A is a very important component for wound healing and skin re-growth. It is required to support all of the internal and external epithelial (skin) cells and is also helps to conflict the emergence of the cancer of the skin. Jute plant consists of ample amount of vitamin A which is essential for better skin health and cell growth.
A deficiency of vitamin A can result in a poor complexion, as indicated by research that proved that vitamin A can fight acne and improve overall skin health. Vitamin A helps to keeps the lines and wrinkles in your skin away by producing more collagen, which is liable for keeping the skin looking young.
Several research studies have shown that copper help to reduce the levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and help to increase beneficial cholesterol (HDL cholesterol). Jute plant consists of 0.222 mg of copper which is 24.67% of the daily recommended value. This helps to lower the chances of cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
Vitamin B9 found in Jute is considered to be an essential component for reducing the occurrence of cancer in the human body. It helps fight against the likelihoods of cancer (colon, cervical and lung cancer). Thus, it is recommended by doctors to include this vitamin in sufficient amounts in your daily diet plan. Jute plant consists of 90 µg of vitamin B9 which is 22.50% of the daily recommended value.
Maintains Healthy Teeth and Gums
Calcium helps to protect your teeth by keeping the jaw bone strong and robust throughout your life, which in turn ensures tight fitting teeth where bacteria cannot grow well. Therefore, before your teeth and gums start giving you any trouble, be sure to maintain a calcium rich diet. Sufficient amount of calcium can be obtained by the regular consumption of Jute plant which consists of 184 mg of calcium which is 18.40% of the daily recommended value.
Vernonia amygdalina (Bitter Leaf)
The rate at which women are susceptible to breast cancer has increased over the years, and leads to death of more women in sub-Saharan Africa than any other part of the world. The consumption of bitter leaf in addition to other activities like maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercising etc. may also lessen the risk of breast cancer, according to the February 2004 edition of Experimental Biology and Medicine.
As a smoker or someone who breathes second hand smoke, using bitter leaf is helpful for acting as a shield against the pollutants that pour from cigarettes while burning. Through the consumption of bitter leaf juice, smokers and those breathing second hand smoke can help protect themselves against the health dangers associated with the habit.
Cardiovascular Disease Reduction
It is important for a person’s diet to contain linoleic acid, because the body is unable to make them. Bitter leaf is able make these fats. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, when people consumed reasonable quantities of linoleic acid, they were at the lowest risk for cardiovascular disease when compared to those who did not.
Oxidation is constantly assaulting the system’s cells. If this is left unchecked, precancerous cell formation could possibly arise. According to research conducted by and published in Food Chemistry, there are antioxidant properties found in bitter leaf that, when added to a person’s diet, offer excellent disease-fighting properties.
While use of bitter leaf is not considered a cure-all, it does have proven benefits. The research studies listed above have proven that the benefits of adding bitter leaf to your diet on a routine basis outweigh any doubts that may exist.
Telfairia occidentalis (Pumpkin leaf, Ugu)
Telfairia occidentalis leaves significantly increases haemoglobin concentration and raises red blood cell numbers. It also increases the levels of white blood cells.
Alcohol-induced Testicular Damage
The oil obtained from Telfairia occidentalis seeds promote the regeneration of cells in the testicles that are damaged by excessive alcohol consumption and improves semen quality.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Telfairia occidentalis leaves contain certain antioxidant compounds that can inhibit the enzymes involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. These compounds are most active when the leaves are eaten raw, blanching reduces their inhibitory properties.
Ugu seeds contain compounds known as globulins that possess glucose-lowering properties. Eating these seeds may therefore protect consumers from type 2 diabetes.
Nervous system-related disorders
Extracts of ugu leaves possess anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant properties so may be useful in the treatment of nervous system-related disorders.
Abelmoschus esculentus (Okra/Okro)
Okra contains lots of dietary fibre and acts as a natural laxative which can help you to naturally get rid of constipation. The pods are rich in mucilage substance, which is a thick, gluey substance that lubricates the large intestine and helps with elimination. Okra’s fibre also feeds the gut’s beneficial bacteria (probiotics) and helps maintain the pH balance of your digestive tract.
Good Vision and Smooth Skin
Okra is rich in vitamin A and other antioxidants – the green pods contain beta-carotene, lutein and xanthine, which together with vitamin A help preserve good vision and keep your skin fresh and healthy. Okra has been connected to cataract prevention and is praised for preventing spots and pimples.
Due to the abundance of antioxidants and fibre, some also connect okra with cancer prevention, especially the prevention of colorectal cancer. There are other steps that you can take to prevent colorectal cancer and there are 14 foods that can protect against cancer development in addition to okra.
Okra is a rich source of vitamin C, which helps with the body’s immunity – okra has been linked to cough and cold prevention. Since vitamin C also act as an anti-inflammatory, okra might be good for reducing the symptoms of asthma and can be used in addition to these 10 natural treatments for asthma.
Talinum triangulare (Water Leaf)
Talinum triangulare leaves have shown to be effective for treating liver diseases by lowering the concentration of the enzymes in the blood. Liver diseases remain a major cause of death all over the World. A research conducted by Dr. C. I. Ezekwe of the Biochemistry department of University of Nigeria, Nsukka and his team examined the impact of methanol extract of Talinum triangulare on the liver and blood. The results of the phyto-chemistry show that the leaves are a rich source of bioactive compounds.
Recommended for Pregnant Women
Dr. Ezekwe also recommended that waterleaf should be part of pregnant women’s diet as the vegetable helps to prevent anaemia as well as boosts the blood level. This is because the plant has the ability to clear bilirubin from blood, which suggests that it can help the red cells to remain longer and be effectively utilised by the body.
Aids Easy Digestion
Due to the high dietary fibre found in waterleaf, this green leafy vegetable is highly recommended on a daily basis to aid easy digestion of food. Proper food digestion is essential for preventing gastrointestinal disorders such as indigestion, constipation, flatulence and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Waterleaf is packed with essential antioxidants and soluble fibres that act as a mild laxative. So if you want to treat any irregularities in your body and restore your body to normalcy, eat enough waterleaf.
Regulates the Blood Sugar Level
Report on a research conducted in 2012 suggested that Talinum triangulare is essential for managing diabetes mellitus. The high dietary contents of this vegetable help to slow down the digestion and conversion of starch to simple sugars. It is worthy to note that this is essential for managing diabetes mellitus.
Regulates the Cholesterol Level
Due to the high dietary fibre content of waterleaf, it was noted that this vegetable is essential for regulating the cholesterol level. This is because the dietary fibre reduces the absorption of cholesterol from the gut thereby protecting the body from any sicknesses associated with bad cholesterol in the body.
Prevents Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases
Due to the high antioxidant found in waterleaf, studies reveal that it is suitable for preventing the onset of cancer and tumour growths. It was also pointed out that waterleaf can be useful for preventing the onset of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke.
It was revealed that the high dietary fibre in waterleaf provides bulk in the diet thus minimising the intake of starchy foods. This helps to prevent obesity and excess body weight.