Many people are not even familiar with this weed, but it is not really just a weed. It grows in our gardens and yet we are not even aware of how we use it. Purslane or oleraceawas portulaca was originally cultivated in India and Persia, but today it is everywhere and has excellent health benefits. Some of the health benefits of purslane include its ability to aid weight loss, improve heart health, aid in the development of children, and treat certain gastrointestinal diseases, among many others.
Today’s market is full of healthy foods, yet many people are still not fit with this nutritious lifestyle. We’re still caught up in this fast-food tornado that makes choosing between broccoli and a hamburger so much more difficult.
It’s true. The human race has improved a lot in recent decades in its quest for health, trying to eat more nutrient-dense foods, taking care of its well-being, and making food choices that are as responsible as possible. Still, the marketing of fast food is so aggressive that many healthy sources are hidden in the shadows.
Many people may not know that many of the plants that we have in our garden, the cultivated ones and even the weeds that always occur in our garden, are incredibly beneficial and do not need the approval of food regulators to eat them.
Purslane, an edible weed with many benefits
Purslane has attractive leaves and sometimes yellow flowers. You may have already seen it grow somewhere, not even knowing about its health benefits and nutritional value.
Although it may not even have much fame in North America, there is no reason not to want to get a head start on reaping its benefits. Purslane can be grown almost anywhere and has a growing season of two months.
Appearance, taste and uses of purslane
Although many focus primarily on eliminating it from their yards, you can have a large amount of it to incorporate into your diet. Once you try, don’t give it up.
- It has a lemon flavor and is crunchy; its leaves are good for sandwiches and can even be used as a substitute for spinach.
- It contains pectin, which is used in thickening stews and soups, and this ingredient is also famous for lowering cholesterol. With it, you can prepare a low-fat pesto without adding too much oil.
- In Mexico and California, purslane is eaten with pork and tomatoes. In Greece, old women seek it from field to field, and in Turkey it is mixed with garlic yogurt or chopped into delicious salads with ripe tomatoes.
- Because of its appearance, people typically use purslane in a fresh salad. Its taste is delicious and one can fall in love with this weed very quickly, especially when you realize its health benefits and nutritional value.
This weed certainly falls into the vegetable group, small in size, but large in nutritional value and health benefits.
Health benefits of purslane
We often waste a lot of money on supplements, but purslane is clearly a natural alternative to them. It is a health booster and can be easily implemented in your daily diet. These are great benefits.
- Powerful antioxidant- rich in vitamin C, B complex like pyridoxine, carotenoids, riboflavin, niacin and minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium.
- Rich in two different types of betalains- a yellow betaxanthin and alkaloid pigments (beta-cyanis red), which are powerful antioxidants and anti-mutagens.
- It is rich in vitamin A, an essential vitamin for vision, and which protects against lung and oral cavity cancer.
- Purslane contains omega-3 fatty acids- more than any other vegetable and the presence of these acids can reduce the risk of developing autism, ADHD and other abnormalities in children. Just 100 grams of these leaves contain 350 mg of alpha-linolenic acid.
- Improves metabolism- Purslane has also been shown to be low in calories, increases metabolism, and generally provides your entire body with sufficient nutrients.
- Child Development- Although research is still ongoing, early studies have shown that high levels of Omega-3s in young children have resulted in a decrease in certain developmental disorders, including autism, ADHD, and others. Problems that affect millions of children around the world.
- Gastrointestinal diseases- Some people may shy away from alternative medicine treatments for their various health conditions, but in traditional Chinese medicine, purslane was widely used to treat diarrhea and intestinal bleeding, hemorrhoids, and dysentery.
While most Western medicine did not confirm these findings, purslane (known as Ma Chi Xian in Chinese medicine) is still used to this day for a wide variety of intestinal conditions.
These benefits are primarily attributed to the presence of so many beneficial organic compounds found in purslane, including dopamine, malic acid, citric acid, alanine, glucose, and many others.
- Skin diseases- Along with gastrointestinal problems, purslane can treat a wide variety of skin conditions as well.
The high levels of vitamin A, along with the cocktail of compounds found in this “weed” mean that it can help reduce inflammation from bee stings and snake bites when applied topically, but it can also increase the appearance. Healthy skin, reduce wrinkles and stimulate healing of skin cells to remove scars and blemishes when consumed.
- Cancer prevention- One of the most widespread and tragic diseases in the world today is cancer, which is why any anticancer food is highly praised.
Purslane has significant levels of vitamin C and vitamin A, both of which act as antioxidants to prevent certain types of cancer, specifically lung and oral cancers. However, purslane also contains compounds of the pigment betalain, which give the plant its distinctive yellow and red color.
Beta-cyanines and beta-xanthines have been directly linked to anti-mutagenic effects in the body, which means that they prevent free radicals that cause mutations in healthy cells, helping to prevent the development of cancer.
- Improves vision- Vitamin A and beta-carotene have both been linked to eye and vision health for many years. Purslane can help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts by eliminating free radicals that attack the cells of the eye and cause these common age-related diseases.
- Strong bones- The range of minerals present in purslane make it a healthy option for people who want to protect their bones. Calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese are all the elements necessary to develop bone tissue and accelerate the healing process of the bones in our body. This can help prevent osteoporosis, a common age-related disease that affects millions of people.
- Improves circulation -The high content of iron and copper in purslane means that it will stimulate the production of red blood cells. Both of these minerals are essential for increasing circulation, which means that more oxygen delivered to essential parts of the body, increases the rate of healing of cells and organs, hair growth, and overall improves metabolic efficiency.
- Heart Health- In terms of increasing the strength of your cardiovascular system, purslane can help in a variety of ways. In particular, the researchers were surprised when they saw very high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in purslane, at higher levels than in some fish oils, which are widely considered the best source of these beneficial fatty acids.
Omega-3s help reduce the amount of “bad” cholesterol in the body and promote a healthier balance of cholesterol in our bloodstream. Consuming foods that are rich in omega-3s has been shown to significantly reduce cardiovascular disease, as well as atherosclerosis, thus preventing heart attacks and strokes.
- Weight loss aid- Purslane is very low in calories, but it is rich in nutrients and full of dietary fiber. This means that people can feel full after a meal with purslane, thus helping people who are struggling to lose weight or maintain their diets.
One final word of caution: The only potential downside researchers have found to purslane is the relatively high content of oxalic acid, which can exacerbate the formation of oxalates in the body, which are what cause kidney stones.
If you already suffer from kidney stones, avoiding purslane might be a good idea. However, boiling purslane in water removes a large amount of oxalic acid, without losing many of the other beneficial nutrients.