Basella alba is a perennial, herbaceous, twining, branched and succulent plant which is cultivated as a vegetable; this plant is also known as Alugbati, Malabar spinach, Cyclone spinach, Chinese spinach, Climbing spinach, Vine spinach and Indian spinach. This is an edible flowering plant in the family Basellaceae which is native to tropical Southern Asia which was originated from Indonesia, India or Sri Lanka. This is a perennial plant which grows up to 9 meters long. The leaves of it are heart shaped, fleshy and dark green which is around 4 – 8 cm wide and 3 – 9 cm long. The flowers of Malabar spinach are pink or white, globular and they 4 mm long. This plant bears deep, purple fruit with indehiscent, globose and black seeds. It prefers well – drained soils and warm climates. This vegetable is an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and iron. Also it has high amounts of potassium and phosphorus. Malabar spinach has great amounts of lutein and beta carotene which are antioxidants. This plant is rich in Vitamin B9 and other minerals as well as proteins. In one serving of Malabar spinach which has 44 grams there are 10 calories.
Health benefits of Malabar spinach
Provides energy: We know that anemia is the result of iron deficiency. The low amount of iron can result in low hemoglobin due to which adequate amount of oxygen cannot be transported to our cells. The iron deficiency can lead to apathy, lack of energy and poor mental function. Pre – menopausal women and children have high risk of having anemia if they do not consume foods which are rich in iron.
Pregnancy: Folate is one of the best vitamins which is required by women to have healthy pregnancy. The deficiency of folate can result in neural tube defects such as heart ailments, limb malformations, spina bifida and anencephaly. Folate is vital vitamin for build of new cells and copying of DNA. When there are low levels of folate, then they can lead to development issues which can remain after birth as well.
Health benefits of Malabar spinach
Utilizes amino acids, iron and Vitamin B12: One of the most common causes for folate deficiency is the anemia. This is a health problem when our red blood cells are formed improperly. Folate assists in the absorption of Vitamin B12 which can provide energy, brain function and absorb the nutrients.
Treatment for cancer: The low presence of folate in our bodies is increasing the chances of brain, lung, breast, cervical and colon cancer. There was one study in which is said that the diet rich in folate can protect from the cancer development. People should take the natural forms of Vitamins because the pharmaceutical form of Vitamins differs from the natural ones which can provide you a protection.
Prevent dementia: There are some studies in which is shown that high levels of homocysteine can increase the chances of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The low amount of folate in our bodies can lead to poor mental activities. The folic acid can decrease the levels of homocysteine but there are not studies in which is proven that this element can forbid diseases and improve the cognitive function. The addition of malabar spinach in diet which is rich in nutrients and folate can help to treat the Alzheimer’s disease.
Treats depression: The intake of folate with adequate amounts of plant foods and veggies can help to treat the depression in natural way. The high intake of folate can help to lower the depression significantly in people who are depressed.
Healthy heart: We know that folate is essential to reduce the homocysteine levels which are present in our blood. Homocysteine can increase our chances of getting strokes and heart attacks. Folate can help to convert the homocysteine into methionine which can normalize the levels of homocysteine in our bodies. It has a positive role in metabolizing minerals as well the activities of antioxidants. There are some studies in which is shown that the high intake of folate can reduce the chance of having cardiovascular disease.