Foods and Drinks

Waterleaf: Health Benefits, Facts, and Recipes

Waterleaf plant is an edible but also a medicinal vegetable which is also known by so many names. Other names of waterleaf include Ceylon spinach, Florida spinach, Surinam Purslane, cariru, etc. One interesting fact about waterleaf is that it has two scientific names: Talinum fruticosum and Talinum triangulare are used for it.

However, regardless of what waterleaf is called, it is a very edible, nutritious medicinal vegetable. Also, waterleaf is said to grow up to 5ft tall in height and also it has a series of pink flowers. And, as we all know it is very beneficial to the body and also a good source of iron and zinc.

You should also know that waterleaf is native to the Americas and the Caribbean, it is also cultivated in many places across the world.

4 Health Benefits of Waterleaf

Waterleaf is an edible and essentially nutritious vegetable. Most people use it in cooking and have been seen to have a positive effect on the health benefits of its consumers. In this article we’ll be sharing facts and benefits of waterleaf you may not know.

You should also know that waterleaf is high in oxalate. This is a very rare chemical that is not commonly found in fruits and vegetables although it can be found in very few vegetables and other foods. This chemical contributes to kidney stones for those suffering from kidney disorders.

Read Also: Top 15 Healthy Foods for your Body

Although, when cooking or planning to eat waterleaf, it is expected to remove the oxalate chemical. This can be done by cooking it for a few minutes because when you cook it up to 50% of the soluble dissolves making it safe to eat, also cooking the vegetable may result in the lectins in it fleeting. This is very important because lectins reduce the ability of the body to absorb calcium, zinc, etc.

1. Improves Bone Health

Calcium and phosphorus are two essential micronutrients that are needed for strong bones. However, they are both contained in waterleaf.

Research has made it clear that taking foods without phosphorus will not amount to a stronger bone. So you must merge them both in your meal to get the full benefit. They are especially good for helping women over 60 who are already suffering from osteoporosis.

2. Improves Eye Health

Waterleaf is abundant in vitamin A, which is very essential for improving eye health. According to research, it was shown that vitamin A can help slow down the progression of retinal disease and also reduce the risk of cataracts.

Waterleaf is a great choice when it comes to improving your eye health, add it to your diet today and enjoy the immense benefits it has to offer.

3. Iron Deficiency and Anemia

Waterleaf as we all know is a great source of micronutrients such as iron.

4. Cognitive Health

You should also know that adding or eating waterleaf on daily basis reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive declines, due to the presence of vitamin C.

However, Waterleaf is an excellent source of vitamin C, with about 31 mg for every 100 grams of vegetable matter.

Read Also: Health Benefits of Utazi Leaves (Gongronema latifolium)

Nutritional Values of Waterleaf Plant

Waterleaf: Health Benefits, Facts, and Recipes
A Waterleaf plant

Waterleaf is essentially packed with nutrients and micronutrients that are essential and needed for the proper growth and development of your body.

Below are some of the nutrients that waterleaf is abundant with.

(1) Vitamin A
(2) Thiamine
(3) Riboflavin
(4) Niacin

Nutrients per Serving;

A 100g of waterleaf is said to contain the following nutrients below.

Calories: 25
Protein: 2.4 grams
Fat: 0.4 grams
Carbohydrates: 4.4 grams
Fiber: 1.0 grams

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What You Should Know About WaterLeaf

One of the biggest issues that comes from eating too much waterleaf is the oxalate chemical. Eating too many foods containing oxalate can be very bad as it can have an effect negatively on an individual’s health.

Individuals who are suffering from kidney disorders should try as much as they can to refrain from eating too much waterleaf and if they must eat it at all, it must be cooked to remove 50% of the oxalate in it.

Waterleaf aside from its drawbacks is healthy food. It is very low in sugar, calories, and much more. Although, medical experts have advised that you should at least add a vegetable to your diet.

How to Prepare Waterleaf

Waterleaf is an excellent vegetable that can be planted by almost anyone and it is also the way of growing your veggies. Waterleaf is mostly grown in tropical climates. The only high requirement with this vegetable for farmers is watering, as it must be well-watered and at least partially shaded to accelerate growth.

When planting your waterleaf, you need to ensure that the soil to be used is well-drained. Also, you will need to use Nitrogen, as this vegetable needs it to grow well. If the leaves of the vegetable start to turn yellow, then it means that the vegetable is lacking nitrogen.

After waterleaf is harvested from the farm it can be eaten. But it must be cooked to remove the oxalate chemical in it to reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. It can be kept in the refrigerator to retain its freshness.

It can be prepared in much the same way as spinach and is popular for soups, stews, and stir-fries. It can also be enjoyed raw, though it is recommended not to do so in large quantities, and also cooked.

Read Also: 14 Health Benefits of Bitter Leaf (Vernonia Amygdalina)

Popular Native Recipes of Waterleaf

(1) Gbure Elegusi, a Yoruba dish from Nigeria
(2) Edikang Ikong soup, an Efiks dish from Nigeria
(3) Roasted waterleaf with yams, plantains, and/or potatoes
(4) Stewed waterleaf with chicken, tomatoes, and onion

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