By ROBERT MURIISA
Many homes and restaurants have garden eggs (intoryi) on their menus. Fortunately, a few people know their nutritional benefits and strive to eat them as often as possible. However some people, especially the middle class and rich, loathe garden eggs arguing that they are for the poor.
Garden eggs, contrary to what some people think, have numerous health benefits and should be enjoyed by everyone – not just the poor. According to nutritionists, garden eggs are essential for the overall development of our body.
Dr Rene Tabaro, a senior nutritionist and a dietitian at King Faisal Hospital, Kigali, says: “This natural fruit (intoryi) is rich in vitamins and other nutrients. Garden eggs provides the body with both soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins; they are rich in vitamin C, moderate quantity of carbohydrates and potassium that is used for normalising the liver and B.P (Beat Pressure) i.e. pressure of the heart.”
Furthermore, intoryi are very essential in the fight against cancer and other diseases. Tabaro says garden eggs can reduce the rate at which cancer cells develop. He, however, explains that they are not good for people suffering from goiter.
Garden eggs are also good for weight reduction. “This is the perfect recipe for achieving weight loss within a short period of time because it’s very low in calorie content. I encourage all people that want to lose weight to eat garden eggs a lot. They are also key in reducing the risk of developing heart complications,” Tabaro says.
And Dr Ndubuisi Nkakakwa, a physician/consultant Acupuncturist at Green Leaves Clinic and Acupuncture Centre in Nigeria, shares Tabaro’s view.
“A high level of blood cholesterol level, more particularly low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, is a primary risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart diseases and garden egg has the power of reducing such risks,” Nkakakwa writes in an article.
Garden eggs are also said to be good for sight. A study titled “Effects of Garden Egg on some visual functions of visually active Igbos of Nigeria” established that eating plenty of garden eggs can help lower eye pressure in persons with glaucoma.
Garden eggs should not be overcooked in order to preserve the nutrients. (Robert Muriisa)
Tabaro said garden eggs are important for sight as they have a very good effect on visual functions. Garden eggs are also excellent to the growth of the unborn baby since they contain Iodine that contributes to the growth of baby’s brain and making it active and functioning normally.
How to prepare garden egg/intoryi,
Nutritionists advise against overcooking intoryi since it kills very useful nutrients like Vitamin C. Tabaro says garden eggs should be half-cooked if one is to fully benefit. For maximum benefit, it is recommended that they be half-cooked.
Benefits of garden egg
1. A good source of dietary fibre
2 Flexibility of blood vessels
3. Cardio protective
4. Regulate blood sugar
5. Natural source of B vitamins like thiamin, niacin, B6 and
6. Cholesterol control
7. Improves digestive system
8. Low calorie good for weight management
9. Good for skin and hair
10. High in folate, manganese, Vit k
magnesium, vitamin c & copper
11. A source of nasunin ( a powerful and rare antioxidant for the brain
12. Bone strengthening minerals
14. Improves blood circulation
15. Beneficial for constipation
due to high fibre
16. Good for colon health
17. Good amount of phenolic acid, anthocyanins and flavonoids. These antioxidants help protect the body from health risks, like aging, inflammations, and neurological diseases
Originally published in The New Times Rwanda
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