Pregnant women need more of vitamins and minerals which are available in vegetables in large quantities.
One of these vegetables is Garden egg leaf, locally known as akwukwo anara and efo igbo in the Eastern and South part of Nigeria.
It is used in the preparation of vegetable stews and yam dishes.
It can be eaten raw or used to prepare salad.
It is rich in Vitamin B, C, potassium, calcium. Recent investigations have shown that garden egg leaves are rich in phytochemical, which protects the body from cancer formation.
They are also high in potassium, a necessary salt that helps in maintaining the function of the heart and regulates blood pressure. Regular consumption of garden egg leaves help in controlling of the blood sugar level due to its high fiber and low carbohydrate content.
In a study undertaken to assess the influence of whole garden eggplant in comparison to apples and oats on serum lipid profile in rats fed a high cholesterol diet that were obtained from the animal unit of Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.
The results suggested that eating garden egg is better at reducing blood cholesterol than apple and oat.
Dr Bright Chimezie Anwacha of the University Uyo Teaching Hospital explained that the leaf provides women with micro nutrients which help in improving blood level.
“For the baby, it provides it with basic mineral elements for proper development and also prevents inborn errors of metabolism, defects and improves the baby’s weight. This is because anara is rich in mineral elements especially folic acid which is necessary for red cell formation,” Dr Anwacha explained.
Experts are encouraging people suffering from elevated cholesterol level and obesity to eat more of this vegetable in its fresh form. Garden egg consumption is also beneficial for people that are suffering from constipation because of it high fiber content.