Health benefits of Purslane
This wonderful green leafy vegetable is very low in calories (just 16 kcal/100g) and fats; nonetheless, it is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Fresh leaves contain surprisingly more omega-3 fatty acids (a-linolenic acid) than any other leafy vegetable plant. 100 grams of fresh purslane leaves provide about 350 mg of alpha-linolenic acid. Research studies show that consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and help prevent the development of ADHD, autism, and other developmental differences in children.
It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, (1320 IU/100 g, provides 44% of RDA) one of the highest among green leafy vegetables. Vitamin A is a known powerful natural antioxidant and an essential vitamin for vision. it is also required to maintain healthy mucusa and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A is known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Purslane is also a rich source of vitamin C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese.
Furthermore, present in purslane are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, the reddish beta-cyanins and the yellow beta-xanthins. Both pigment types are potent anti-oxidants and have been found to have anti-mutagenic properties in laboratory studies.
Health Benefits of Purslane
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) or also known as cat's tongue provides many health benefits. It is good for our skin, urinary and digestive systems. It also has a perfect combination between antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, potassium, calcium, magnesium and carotene. Purslane has expanded to a lot of places around the world and used by various communities as a medicinal plant. Purslane is also edible and can be used as vegetable.
Because purslane is often considered as a weed, you may easily harvest it in your garden. Purslane is a broadleaf weed that grows in the summer and can restrict the turf grass growth. This weed usually grows on the thin or bare spots in a lawn. Lawns that are not regularly or properly are susceptible to purslane infestation. When you see the suspected weed, check the leaves. Common purslane leaves are oval in shape and smooth. They are fleshy and thick, in some ways are comparable to the jade houseplant. You should also check the leaves growth pattern. Purslane has succulent and reddish-brown stems that emerge directly from the thick taproot. The stem can grow up to 12" long and radiate from the center of the plant.
Nutritional Contents of Purslane
Like in flaxseed, you can also find ALA (alpha linoleic acid) in purslane. It is an essential substance and can be converted by our body to become the omega 3 fatty acid. Many vegetarians miss out this beneficial substance, because they don't eat fishes. Wild purslane is rich in the precursor of the omega 3 fatty acid, so that even the most stubborn vegetarian can get the benefit of omega 3. It's not known how much ALA that can be converted by our body, however, it appears that ALA offers a number of benefits to our heart and has anti-inflammatory effects. In turn, omega 3 helps our body in producing compounds that are needed to regulate our immune system, blood clotting and blood pressure. Omega 3 may control coronary spasms, aid in weight control, and prevent certain types of cancer. It can improve the effectiveness of treatment for hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer's disease, bipolar disorder and depression.
Purslane is not only a good source of fatty acid, it also offers plenty of minerals, including, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, copper, magnesium, calcium and copper, plus vitamins, antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients like alpha tocopherol (vitamin E), tocophenals, riboflavin, vitamin C and beta carotene.
Purslane contains carbohydrate and protein plus amino acids which can help our body to make protein. A few other beneficial substances found in this weed is: pectin which is believed to reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein, the bad cholesterol), antioxidant, gluthatione, dopamine (a muscle relaxant agent), noradrenaline and CoQ-10 (Conenzyme Q-10), which found in every living cells and supply them with energy. Since the time of Hippocrates, purslane has been widely used in Europe for its cathartic (activates bowel evacuation), anthelintic (anti-parasitic) and deuretic properties. In ancient Egypt, purslane was used to treat heart disease and heart failure. If purslane is not available in your area, you may use lingoberry, hemp, seabuckthorn, walnuts, flax seed, perila (a poisonous herb for cattle) and chia seeds as another source of omega 3.
At only 16 calories per 100 grams, wild purslane packs plenty of nutritional punch without giving excess calories. Purslane is also rich in B-complex vitamins, which help to regulate our nervous system and carbohydrate metabolism.