Purslane is one of the few weeds that doubles as a nutritious vegetable. It is also known as duckweed or pigweed. It is a red stemmed succulent with dark green leaves. The plant has a mild peppery flavor which makes it useful to season various foods. It is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C and E. Mineral content includes calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorous and potassium. It is also a good source of antioxidants and dietary fiber.
Purslane contains one of the highest levels of potassium among vegetables. Potassium helps to support a healthy circulatory system. It helps to stabilize blood sugar and blood pressure. Potassium supports the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and fats, so it maintains a key role in energy production. It also helps to regulate muscular functions throughout the body. Iron supports various metabolic processes in the body. It is required for the formation of red and white blood cells which perform crucial functions in the body. Low intakes of iron can result in anemia and fatigue. Duckweed is a good vegetable source of calcium and magnesium. Calcium is vital for healthy teeth and bones. Calcium also supports heart health along with magnesium. The two minerals help to maintain a healthy heart rhythm. This lowers the risk of stroke. Calcium also activates the protein fibrin in blood to facilitate proper clotting. Magnesium helps to maintain healthy levels of calcium in the body. This prevents calcium deposits that result from excessive calcium.
Purslane is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. It has one of the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids among leafy green vegetables. It contains more of this nutrient than is available in some fish oil. It is a good source of omega-3 if you prefer not to use animal products. Research has established that diets rich in omega-3 help to prevent stroke and heart disease. This nutrient also lowers the risk of developmental disorders in children such as autism. The vegetable is rich in vitamin A, which is a widely recognized natural antioxidant. It facilitates healthy skin and mucous membranes. It also promotes good vision. Vitamin A lowers the risk of mouth and lung cancers. Duckweed is also a good source of vitamins C and E which are potent antioxidants. Certain phytonutrients in the weed have antioxidant properties and boost the body's immunity.
Roughage is vital for proper digestive functions. Diets rich in fiber help to prevent constipation and piles. Roughage also helps to cleanse the digestive tract of toxins. This reduces the risk of various diseases. Purslane is a good source of dietary fiber.
Selection and Storage of Purslane
Pick the vegetable that looks fresh and healthy. Avoid plants that have spots, blemishes and mold. These are signs of poor health and inferior quality. The plant can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. Beyond this, the leaves begin to wilt. Clean the vegetable before you refrigerate. Run some cold water over the leaves and stem. This will clear soil and other residues. Mop the excess water with paper towels or a soft cloth and then keep in the refrigerator.