You might have heard a thought about waste things; ‘Take time for all things, great haste makes great waste.’ There are many forms of shapes, creatures and things which look as of no use to the mankind and looks as waste. But the presence of each and every waste is as important at its place as your life. It all teaches or preaches you something. As Prof. S .S. Moorthiytells, “all the ignored creatures and things have got their own hidden values”. They are either playing their physical, or biological role. It might be responsible for maintain the ecological balance of nature on a broader perspective or making up as a filling substance. Similarly, there are many plants that grow uncontrolled at a place. These plants which have no botanical significance are termed to be weeds. Purslane is one of those weeds which are healthy to be eaten as per its high nutritive value. Its botanical name is Portulaca oleracea. Purslane is a succulent plant which grows annually.
The succulent plant has the ability to store water in their fleshy leaves. Aloe vera is also one such succulent plant. There are many varieties of purslane growing in this planet. It is embraced as food by many societies around the world now. It can be eaten raw or in a cooked form. The plant has the red colored stem and small green, fleshy leaves.
This succulent plant has the ability to store about 93% of water. As like spinach and watercress, it is sour or salty to taste. It can be used as lettuce leaves in salads and sandwiches. It has a minimal requirement for growth and can easily be grown under any conditions. Purslane grows in many parts of the world, in a wide range of environments. It gets easily adapted to harsher environmental conditions also. Purslane seeds remain viable for at least 40 years. It means the seeds have the capability to grow into a plant when the environmental conditions support. In ancient times, it was also used for medicinal purposes.
What is the nutritional value of purslane?
It is a drought tolerant plant due to its water-retaining property. Per 100 gram of raw purslane contains:
- 3.36 grams of Carbohydrates
- 2.03 grams of proteins and
- 0.36 grams of fats.
- 4% by weight of Vitamin B1
- 9% by weight of Vitamin B2
- 3% by weight of Vitamin B3
- 6% by weight of Vitamin B6
- 25% by weight of Vitamin C
- 81% by weight of Vitamin E
It also is rich in minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.
How is purslane beneficial to your body?
The nutrient burst found in this plant makes it so important that experts always suggest to include this weed into your diet. It is important here to know the key ingredients found in purslane so as to be aware of some of the listed nutrients. The key role that these nutrients are playing in your body is a protector role.
1A house of vitamins
As listed above, it is a good source of vitamin A, B and C. Purslane contains an important protein beta-carotene. This is antioxidant in nature, which is converted to vitamin in the need. As a well-known fact, Vitamin A is the best vitamin for keeping a good eye health. Vitamin B1 is helpful for maintaining the health of the nervous system and improves cardiovascular functioning. Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin is a major energy producing nutrient of the body. Similarly, vitamin B3 is known to lower the level of bad cholesterol. Vitamin B6 plays a key role in the metabolism of your body.
Vitamin C is known as ascorbic acid, an antioxidant that is essential for maintaining a good health of skin, muscles and bone. And lastly, the presence of vitamin E protects the cell from toxic damage.
2High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The importance of omega-3 fatty acid to a human body is quite well known by now. As a human body cannot produce this nutrient so it has to be fulfilled from the outside sources only. There is a low amount of total fat contained in this weed. There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids in this weed. Alpha-linoleic acid or ALA, which is found mainly in plants and eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA, which is obtained from animal products and algae. This weed, purslane is very rich in ALA fatty acids. Purslane contains 5-8 times more ALA than spinach.
3A bag of essential amino acids
Purslane will supply you with essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. And proteins make up your cellular structure by assisting in the metabolism. There is a list of some amino acids which our body cannot synthesize. We need to gain it from food sources only. These are termed as essential amino acids as it makes an essential part of our body. Some of the essential amino acids found in them are isoleucine, Leucine, tryptophan, threonine, histidine, and valine. So by just taking a 100 gram of purslane, you will be able to supply 65% of the essential amino acid requirement of the body for the day.
4A great supplier of important minerals
Purslane is also high in several important minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. A balanced amount of potassium regulates blood pressure in the body. Thereby, it reduces the risk of heart diseases. Similarly, magnesium protects from diabetes and heart attack. The well-known mineral, calcium keeps your bone health.
The presence of phosphorus is good for a proper ionic balance. And iron is good for new red blood cell synthesis along with the efficient supply of oxygen to different cells of the body.
5A distinct supplier of pigments and hormones
Purslane is rich in glutathione, which is an important antioxidant of the body. It also protects from cells damage. Also, the betalain is one of the antioxidants. It assists in the functioning of bad cholesterol to relieve from the heart attack. Purslane also contains melanin hormone. It helps you fall asleep and provides several other benefits.
6A source of oxalates
As per the digestion process, a presence of a high amount oxalates is not good. Oxalates interfere with the important mineral absorption. And a high amount of oxalates leads to kidney stones at a later stage in the body. You need to worry at this point as it may be harmful to you in the long run. The solution to this is eating purslane with yogurt, if not mixing but yogurt as a side dish when taking purslane in the diet. Yogurt will negate the effect of oxalates to a greater extent. In this way, you will be able to enjoy the nutrient burst by eating purslane and also not getting affected by its harmful oxalates content. It is also possible to neutralize the effect of oxalates to the body by drinking 7-8 glasses of water daily.
All you need to do is to make a schedule of drinking water, as required by your body and try to include purslane at least 2 times a week in your diet. By drinking water, you are offering a great support to the body and liberating toxins too. Those who know, how to cook purslane really enjoy eating and making it a part of their day-to-day eating regimen. People claim that it has a distinct taste and delicious to eat.
As per its growing habits, it is considered to be weeds. Weeds grow at any place where there is a sufficient growth favoring conditions. Otherwise to think, it do not need great care for its growth and still a good supplier of nutrients. This should be considered as a remarkable property of purslane. It is loaded with antioxidants, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and beneficial plant compounds. Once you evaluate it calorie wise, purslane is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the earth.