Ewedu is a very important Nigerian food. In addition to being rich in protein, iron, and calcium; it has also been shown to be beneficial for pregnant women by preventing hemorrhage (bleeding) in their second and third trimesters.
This traditional Nigerian food also stimulates contractions during childbirth, making it easier for the baby to pass through the birth canal. Plus, ewedu helps reduce bloating, one of the most uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy.
What Is Ewedu?
In English, ewedu is Jute leaves, Igbo people call it Achingbara, Hausa calls it LALO, and is botanically known as Corchorus Olitorius.
This humble foodstuff is a staple of Yoruba cuisine. For pregnant women, though, it’s considered by many Nigerians to be more than just a low-calorie source of nutrition—elements within its composition are said to have medicinal value.
In addition to being rich in protein, iron, and calcium; ewedu has also been shown to be beneficial for pregnant women by increasing milk production.
How Does It Taste?
Traditionally it is eaten with white rice. It has a strong flavor so be sure to mix it well with rice before eating. Some people also like to eat it with groundnut soup but I think that is only for when they get used to eating ewedu.
I recommend starting out by mixing it well with some rice, adding pepper as desired then having a few spoonfuls until you are ready for more. It is very delicious I must say.
What Are The Foods That You Can Prepare With It?
The foods that you can prepare with ewedu include:
Egusi soup- a thick soup made of ground melon seeds, used as a main meal dish;
Odanga - a thick stew prepared with okra pods; groundnuts or peanut butter - roasted boiled peanuts. They make for good snacks if eaten alone or added to egusi soup or stew. They are also used in preparing cornbreads. Egusi pudding is another delicacy prepared from ewedu.
Other dishes prepared from ewedu includes: Efo riro (stew), Oha (pudding), Akara (batter-fried bean cake), Omokri (porridge), etc.
Watch this video on how to prepare Ewedu soup:
Health Benefits of Ewedu to pregnant women
below are some of the health benefits of this superfood.
1. Defend against free radicals
Vitamins C, E, and A are a great combination for preventing tissue damage caused by free radical attacks. Ewe should be consumed by pregnant women to preserve their health.
2. Good for bone and tooth health
Pregnant women require a high calcium diet to aid in the growth and development of their baby's bones and teeth. Because it provides calcium, ewedu is the ideal food.
3. Improve the foetal development
Vitamin A, present in ewedu, is essential for the development of tissues and organs in the foetus, including the eyes, bones, and skin tissue.
4. Maintain eye health after childbirth.
Pregnant women's eyes are at risk during delivery in some situations. This is because the contraction of the eye muscles is affected by the process of pushing during delivery. Ewedu, which is high in vitamin A, can help you overcome this condition.
5. Preventing beriberi in children
According to a study, vitamin B1 or thiamin insufficiency is a crucial role in the formation of beriberi illness in newborns through breast milk. Ewedu is high in Thiamin, which is beneficial to pregnant women.
6. Maintain reproductive organ and body tissue development
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) has a crucial function in the formation of body tissue as well as the development of reproductive organs.
7. Good for nervous system health
The niacin in ewedu is said to be beneficial to both the mother and the foetus' nervous system development and therapy.
8. Resist anemia.
Vitamin C, contained in ewedu, is an important component in the body's iron absorption process. As a result, it will immediately prevent anaemia.
9. Maintain the cardiovascular system's health.
Eating ewedu is beneficial to patients who suffer from heart disease, which is caused by blood vessel constriction. Ewedu contains vitamin E, which helps to open blood arteries.
10. Improve the cells in your body
Because of the developing foetus, pregnant women will undergo a tremendous increase in the production and growth of body cells. Proteins found in Ewedu aid in the formation of new cells.
Here's a video where a professional explained more about the health benefits of ewedu to pregnant women
How Often Should a Pregnant Woman Eat Ewedu?
Ideally, you should be eating ewedu every week. Not only is it a great source of energy that can provide your body with much-needed nutrients, but it also works wonders on digestive health.
This is good news for pregnant women as it can help reduce constipation as well as prevent acid reflux while they are sleeping by reducing pressure on their stomachs.
In fact, many women have had less uncomfortable pregnancies after incorporating ewedu into their diets regularly. As for what you should avoid when eating ewedu?
It’s generally recommended that pregnant women steer clear of coffee because caffeine can increase heart rate, and blood pressure and even cause nausea or vomiting.
Iron-rich foods are essential for pregnant women as their bodies begin building new blood supply to support a developing fetus. They also need additional nutrients that come from iron-rich foods such as ewedu.
Calcium helps strengthen bones, which become weaker during pregnancy. Also, women have a higher risk of developing preeclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in urine) if they don’t get enough calcium.
These factors make it even more important for pregnant women to increase their intake of ewedu during pregnancy. With all these benefits mentioned above, there is no doubt that ewedu is an important superfood for pregnant women.
It contains many other health benefits too. It contains high amounts of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C; minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc; amino acids like methionine; proteins like tryptophan; fatty acids like linoleic acid and oleic acid; flavonoids like quercetin; saponins like saikosaponin IIA & IIB.
The last one is particularly beneficial because it reduces bad cholesterol levels in our body while increasing good cholesterol levels. It has been shown to be effective at lowering blood pressure levels too! This makes ewedu a must-have superfood for pregnant women!
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