Many consider this plant as a weed. Little do they know that this “weed” can offer lots of health benefits to anyone who consumes this regularly. The health benefits of this plant include the ability to improve heart health, maintain healthy skin, boosts vision, promote normal child development, and prevent certain types of cancers.
What Is Purslane?
Purslane most likely originated in the Mediterranean regions. It is a leafy vegetable with a scientific name of Portulaca Oleracea and is widely eaten throughout Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. It is slightly sour and salty to the taste which makes it an interesting addition to the palate. Almost every part of the plant is edible and have been used as herbal remedies and in different cuisines for thousands of years.
Since ancient times, purslane is used in many different practices. It is widely used in Chinese medicine as well as in early aboriginal culture as far away as Australia. In some places, like the United States, it is usually pulled out and treated as any other weed or invasive plant in the garden and backyard.
Purslane Nutrition Facts
Sometime after this “weed” became subject to different scientific studies, researchers were shocked at what they found out. After the research, it came out that purslane has extremely high levels of omega-3 fatty acids for a land vegetable. It also contains significant amounts of fiber, vitamin C, B Vitamins, Vitamin A, iron, manganese, potassium, magnesium, copper, and calcium. All of which are very essential nutrients needed by the body. Moreover, the betalain pigments – powerful antioxidants – and carotenoids make this absolute treasure trove of nutrients become a complete nutrient-packed superfood.
Health Benefits Of Purslane
Purslane has numerous health benefits that help in preventing and curing different type of diseases. Listed below are some of the benefits this “weed” can offer:
Cancer is one of the most widespread and tragic diseases known to man in this present age so any food that contains anti-carcinogens are highly praised. Purslane, having significant amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C, both of which acts as antioxidants, prevents cancer especially oral and lung cancers. Furthermore, this vegetable also contains betalain pigment compounds that give the plant its distinct yellow and red color. The betacyanin and betaxanthin compounds present in this vegetable have been linked to anti-mutagenic effects in the body. These anti-mutagenic effects prevent free radicals from causing mutations in healthy cells, thus, preventing tumor and cancer development.
Improves Heart Health
Purslane can help in a variety of ways when it comes to boosting the strength and health of your cardiovascular system. Purslane’s’ extremely high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which is higher than most fish oils, is considered one of the best sources of this nutrient. This nutrient helps reduce the amount of LDL in the body and promote healthier cholesterol balance in the bloodstream.
Consuming foods high in omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, thereby preventing heart attacks and strokes. Moreover, the potassium content in purslane also helps reduce blood pressure due to its activity as a vasodilator – it reduces strain on the heart by relaxing the blood vessels.
Purslane can help treat many kinds of skin conditions. The high levels of vitamin A, with the help of other beneficial compounds present in this vegetable, it is able to reduce inflammation caused by snake bites and bee stings when applied topically. It can also improve skin health and appearance, stimulate healing of skin cells to remove scars and blemishes, as well as, reduce wrinkles when consumed.
Promotes Child Development
Early studies have shown that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in young children’s diet have resulted in a decrease in several developmental disorders, including ADHD, autism, and other mental issues that affect millions of children throughout the globe. Although research is still ongoing, these positive results will benefit many.
Beta-carotene and vitamin A have both been linked to improved vision and eye health for centuries. This vegetable can help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration by eliminating free radicals that attack the cells in the eyes that causes these common age-related eye disorders.
Uses of Purslane
Purslane is commonly used in soups, salads, stews, and other culinary dishes.
It is also added to meat dishes as a flavorful additive and is also mixed with dough to make certain delicious bread varieties.
Aside from culinary usages, it has also been used as traditional medicine for curing various diseases in China and India.