Water Spinach- we all know this green vegetable as Popeye’s favourite. But it is indeed a fact that water spinach is ranked high among the world’s healthiest foods and there are plenty of reasons for it being so. Also known as ‘kangkong’ or ‘swamp cabbage’, water spinach is one of the popular green leafy vegetables. It is basically herbaceous aquatic or semi aquatic perennial plant that is found in tropical and subtropical regions. There are generally two varieties of water spinach- the ‘Ching Quat’ having green stem, narrow leaves and white flowers and the ‘Pak Quat’ which has arrow shaped leaves and pink flowers. Though, all the parts of the young plant are edible, the tender shoot tips and the younger leaves are mostly preferred. In India, it is commonly known as ‘paani palak’.
Just like other dark green leafy veggies, water spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients that benefit your body as well as your skin and brain. It contains abundant quantities of water, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A and other nutrients and can be eaten cooked or raw. It is mostly used in salads as well as other dishes to boost their nutrient content. Juice of water spinach is also very beneficial.
Water Spinach Benefits
Here we give you the benefits of water spinach categorized under health, skin and hair for your convenience. Enjoy!
Health Benefits of Water Spinach:
All dark green leafy vegetables are packed with nutrients and water spinach is no exception. The leaves of water spinach are extremely nutritious, containing abundant quantities of vitamins and minerals. They are excellent sources of dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C which are evident of its various health benefits given below:
1. Reduces Cholesterol:
It is an excellent option for those individuals who want to lose weight and reduce cholesterol naturally. A research conducted on rats has proved that consumption of water spinach has resulted in the reduction in cholesterol levels as well as Triglycoside. Thus, this vegetable has a major role to play in the reduction of cholesterol level.
2. Treatment of Jaundice and Liver Problems:
Water spinach has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of jaundice and liver problems. A research has proved that the extract of this plant can provide protection against chemical induced liver damage due to its modulation of detoxification enzymes; antioxidant and free radical scavenger properties.
3. Useful in treating Anaemia:
Being rich in iron, the young water spinach leaves are extremely beneficial for people with anaemia as well as pregnant women who require iron in their diets. Iron is an important mineral that is needed by the body, particularly by the red blood cells for the formation of haemoglobin.
4. Treatment of Indigestion and Constipation:
Water spinach is rich in fiber and hence, it aids in digestion, providing relief from different digestive disorders naturally. Its mild laxative properties are beneficial for people suffering from indigestion and constipation. Juice from boiled spinach can loosen constipation. This vegetable is also used in the treatment of intestinal worm infestation. It contains latex which is used as a purgative agent.
5. Anti Diabetic:
Researches have demonstrated that regular consumption of water spinach helps in developing resistance against diabetes induced oxidative stress. It is also used in the treatment of diabetes in pregnant women.
6. Protection against Heart Diseases:
Water spinach has certain essential nutrients like vitamins A and C as well as a high concentration of beta-carotene. These nutrients act as antioxidants to reduce free radicals in the body, thus preventing cholesterol form becoming oxidized. Oxidized cholesterol sticks to the blood vessel walls, causing blocked arteries, heart attack or stroke. Besides, folate contained in water spinach helps to convert a potentially dangerous chemical called homocysteine, which in high levels can lead to heart attack or stroke. Magnesium is a mineral that lowers blood pressure and provides protection against heart disease as well.
7. Prevention of Cancer:
Being loaded with 13 different types of antioxidant compounds, water spinach is a perfect diet for prevention of cancer. These antioxidants are known to eliminate free radicals from the body, thus altering the conditions in which cancer cells multiply and strengthen the natural cell environment. This vegetable is said to be most beneficial in the prevention of colo-rectal and stomach cancers as well as skin and breast cancers.
8. Beneficial for Eyes:
Water spinach has a high content of carotenoids, vitamin A and lutein. These nutrients are vital for eye health. Spinach also boosts glutathione levels, which plays an important role in preventing cataracts.
9. Boosts the Body’s Immunity:
Being a storehouse of nutrients, this leafy green vegetable is an inexpensive and natural way of boosting the body’s immunity in comparison to vitamin C supplements. Consumption of this green leafy vegetable on a regular basis boosts your body’s immune system and promotes healthy development of bones. It also contributes to a healthy body by neutralizing and eliminating toxins.
[ Read: Watermelon Seeds Health Benefits ]
10. Other Benefits:
In addition to the benefits given above, water spinach is effective in treating ulcers, menstrual pains, toothache, launched urination, nosebleed etc. It acts as a sedative for people who have insomnia or sleeping difficulty. The juice of spinach mixed with water is used as a cold compress to treat fever. Being anti-venom, it is used to promote vomiting in case of poisoning.
11. Anti-ageing Benefits:
Green leafy veggies like water spinach are rich in chemical antioxidants which prevent free radical damage of cells in the body, making the skin cells more resistant from damage from exposure to the sun and minimizing wrinkling to a significant extent. It this way regular consumption of this vegetable can prevent and reverse ageing.
12. Treatment of skin Diseases:
The buds of water spinach can be used as poultice to treat skin diseases such as ringworm, athletes foot etc. This vegetable also helps in the prevention of skin cancer and is used in the treatment of acne, eczema and psoriasis.
13. Healing Properties:
Due to its healing and detoxifying properties, it helps in providing relief in case of skin itching or insect bites. Add salt to water spinach and grind it into powder. Dab it on the sore spot and wrap it for immediate relief.
[ Read: Benefits of Water Chestnuts ]
Skin Benefits of Water Spinach:
14. Rejuvenates Skin:
Drinking spinach juice is extremely beneficial for your skin health as it keeps your skin ever rejuvenated by eliminating harmful toxins from the body. Regular consumption of this juice helps in healing skin disorders such as pimples and acne.
The benefits of water spinach for skin have been known for a long time. As stated earlier, this vegetable is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, carotenoids and lutein. These minerals are vital for a healthy and glowing skin. Consuming water spinach in a regular basis helps to maintain radiant and healthy skin.
Hair Benefits of Water Spinach:
15. As we all know, proper nutrition is a pre-requisite for maintaining healthy scalp and hair. The wide array of nutrients contained in water spinach is beneficial for your hair. Spinach juice is beneficial for hair growth and prevents hair loss besides improving the quality and texture of your hair.
[ Read: Soursop Leaves Benefits ]
You can make a drink combining spinach and lettuce juices for getting healthy and lustrous hair. Here is a water spinach recipe that healthy and delicious!
- Wash the spinach and lettuce leaves properly. Alternatively, you can use cabbage leaves in place of lettuce. Slice a lemon and put it in the juicer along with the leaves.
- Grind the leaves in a mixer or a grinder and place the mixture in a muslin sieve to squeeze out the juice.
- You can enhance the flavour of this drink by adding lemon juice or spices. Black pepper is preferable as it is beneficial for your hair besides providing a spicy flavour to the drink.
- You should drink a glass of water spinach juice every day for maximum results.
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