Kangkong (Water Spinach): A Green Leafy Veggie With Anti-Alzheimer’s Properties

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia that causes brain cells to degenerate and dies. In this condition, the brain has fewer healthy cells, and it gets smaller over time.  One of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s diseases is forgetting recent events or conversations and as it progresses, the patient may develop severe memory impairment and inability to carry out everyday tasks.

This condition involves certain ongoing behaviors and symptoms that worsen over time and this include:

  1. Memory loss affecting daily activities
  2. Trouble with speech or writing
  3. Becoming disoriented about times or places
  4. Withdrawal from family, friends, and community
  5. Trouble with familiar tasks
  6. Difficulties with problem-solving
  7. Mood and personality changes
  8. Decreased judgment
  9. Decreased personal hygiene

Researchers have linked age, gender, family history, down syndrome, head injury and other factors such as high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure to be the possible factors that may make people more likely to get Alzheimer’s.

Kangkong and Alzheimer’s Disease

Kangkong, also known as water spinach or swamp cabbage, is an herbaceous aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial plant that thrives in all conditions and throughout the year. It is one of the cheapest leaf vegetables in the Philippines and in many countries in South-East Asia. It has a flat shape, long, narrow leaves and has usually white with pinkish center flowers.

Various studies have revealed that kangkong is rich in iron, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate as well as a good source of vitamin B2, magnesium, and manganese. Aside from this, its leaves also have high levels of chlorophyll and health-promoting carotenoids such as beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These important phytochemicals have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties and play an important role in lowering our chances of having cataracts and macular degeneration.

Furthermore, in a study conducted by a group of pharmaceutical graduates from San Pedro College in Davao City, Philippines, researchers have found that extracts from kangkong may have the potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

For the study led by Justin Shinn Lu Ng, the researchers screened kangkong’s alkaloid extracts and identified it to have pharmaceutical potential responsible for preventing acetylcholine degradation that would lead to Alzheimer’s.

Researchers conducted an experimental study to compare the acetylcholine-increasing effects of the kangkong alkaloid extract with Rivastigmine, the current drug of choice in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. At the end of the study period, they have found comparable effects and results. Due to this, researchers have concluded that in addition to kangkong’s anti-ulcer and anti-diabetic properties, it also has anti-Alzheimer’s properties.

Simple Suggestions On How To Consume Kangkong

  1. Simply steam or add it to salads and soups
  2. Kangkong really is most versatile with fish and meat
  3. Best friends with garlic
  4. Adores being paired with nutmeg
  5. Add it on pasta dishes