NUTRITIONAL CONTENT/ VALUE AND BENEFITS OF BITTER LEAVES
Bitter leaf has numerous medicinal values and benefits to human health and lifestyle. The leaf exhibits some antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it a good home remedy to several health issues such as dysentery, diarrhea, high blood pressure, and many others.
Some people may not find bitter leaf so fantastic due to bitter taste but the health benefits of bitter leaf highlighted in the sections below will go a long way to change some people’s perspectives about the leaf.
Nutritional Content/ Value of Bitter Leaves
Bitter leaf though bitter in taste contains essential vitamins such as vitamins A, C, and E, vitamin B1 and B2.
Other important nutrients found in a bitter leaf are nutrients are fiber, proteins, and minerals such as manganese, zinc, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium and selenium in traceable amount.
There is also a presence of plant compounds such as andrographolide, sesquiterpenoids, polimetoksiflavon, apigenin, labdane diterpenoid and andragrafin in traceable amounts.
Phytochemicals such as alkaloids, steroids, tannins, terpenes, and saponins are also found in the bitter leaf
The study also revealed that Vernonia amygdalina leaf has high protein (33.3%), fat (10.1%), crude fibre (29.2%), ash (11.7%), mineral (Na, K, Ca, Mg, Zn & Fe), phytate (1015.4mg/100g) and tannin (0.6%).
Nutritional Benefits of Bitter Leaf
The bitter leaf contains flavonoid and other plant compounds that have nutritional values which promote overall health.
Helps To Clear Fever
Bitter leaves contain flavonoids that have powerful antioxidant effects in treating several health issues such as feverish conditions.
Other elements like andrographolide lactones, glucosides, diterpene are also present in the leaves and work together to treat and trim down fever and its symptoms.
A glass of bitter leaf juice is a strong herbal medicine that helps to combat malarial symptoms and reduce fever effects.
Lowers High Blood Pressure
Chewing fresh bitter leaves or drinking the juice extracted from the leaves are commonly known to reduce the level of sugar in the blood and control blood pressure due to the bitterness.
This is true because bitter leave has andrographolide content that contributes to sugar reduction in the blood and as reducing the risk of resulting diabetes.
There is also a trace of potassium in the bitter leaf which is another good remedy for hypertension.
This mineral helps to flush out the accumulation of salt which spikes the amount of sodium in the bloodstream and causes delicate blood pressure (high blood pressure).
Treats Stomach Upset
They are eaten raw or mashed to get the juice which is used in treating abdominal difficulties such as diarrhea, stomach upset and gastrointestinal tract diseases like dysentery and related other issues.
Bitter leaves are the major agents that are recommended as a natural remedy for intestinal problems and stomach cramps.
Get a handful of fresh bitter leaves. Wash very well with little quantity of salt and water.
Squeeze very well to extract the juice then take a glass of this juice twice a day to flush off stomach problems.
Good for the Bones & Teeth
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant mineral found in bitter leaves that has a special role in the body which is the maintenance of bones and teeth as well as the prevention of deficiencies associated with this essential vitamin.
It also contains a trace of vitamin K. The functions of this vitamin extend outside blood clotting as it includes maintaining healthy bones and prevention bone tissue weakness called osteoporosis.
Improves Body Metabolism
Vitamin B1 called thiamine, in other words, plays an important role in the metabolism of lipids, amino acids, and glucose in the human body.
Thiamine is an important dietary supplement occurring naturally in a bitter leaf that helps to oxidize fatty acids in other to produce the synthesis of lipids.
Metabolism of lipids is commonly associated with that of carbohydrate which can be converted into fats by known processes.
Bitter leaf is very effective in this chemical synthesis known as metabolism because it contains the mineral that plays the key role.
Fights Free Radicals
Another nutrient in bitter leaf, which is vitamin E serves as an antioxidant that fights against free radicals which have harmful effects on the body system.
The bitter leaf contains also anti-bacterial compound known as sesquiterpenoids that give the property of bitter taste.
The major function of this plant compound is to scavenge free radicals from the body system as well as terminate their activities.
Prevents Cancer Risks
The presence of anti-cancer properties in bitter leaves makes it effective in preventing and management of hydatidiform mole, trophoblastic tumor and lung tumor which are signs of cancer.
Bitter leaf has also been mixed with other herbal preparations in an alternative medicine experiment on breast cancer and was found effective.
Andrographolide, labdane diterpenoid present in the bitter leaf is a plant compound and a powerful cancer curative agent that has been studied scientifically and found effective in the treatment of gastric cancer, colon and prostate cancers.
In fact, bitter leaves have versatile curative and medicinal properties that can treat and manage certain health conditions.
Scientifically, it has been proven that bitter leaf contains plant compounds that contribute to its bitter taste and play a pivotal role in moderating the blood sugar level and promoting normal insulin function.
This compound in bitter leaf hinders the rising of glucose in the blood which leads to the risks of diabetes.
Improve Fertility in Women
Bitter leaf has the ability to improve a very important female sex hormone that contributes to reproductive development and regulation.
It helps to improve the quality hormone profile and as well prevents the toxification of immunoglobulin that fights an important female sex hormone, estrogen, and reproduction.
Bitter leaf is very effective in women’s reproductive life for its capability of providing balance in the genital hormone.
Detoxifies the Body
The juice extracted from bitter leaf has detoxifying properties that help in mopping off impurities from the body.
This effect also helps to get rid of toxins in the liver, kidney as well as the lungs and entire human body. In such a manner prevents liver and kidney problems such as stone development in such areas.
Helps in Weight Loss
Most of the properties of the bitter leaf have a direct association with weight loss.
To start with, incorporating bitter leaf as a vegetable in daily meals or eating just a few fresh leaves a day or drinking the juice helps to reduce excess calories which can cause weight gain.
It also helps to ward off excess fat in the body which is the bad cholesterol as mentioned earlier in this article.
The fiber content in it and all the properties associated with weight loss that is found in bitter leaf make it a good weight loss diet.
Helps in Treating Several Infections
Aside from all the health benefits pin-pointed above, the bitter leaf has the properties to treat skin wounds, it can also help in treating mouth inflammations, skin infections, toothache, typhoid, ear inflammation, tuberculosis, and respiratory tract diseases.