This article is shared with permission from our friends at dietoflife.com.
Today’s market is full of healthy foods, such as superfoods. However, not many people are hooked onto this healthy lifestyle yet. We are still trapped in this fast food tornado which makes it so much more difficult to choose broccoli over a hamburger.
It’s true; the human race has improved a lot over the decades in their pursuit of healthiness, trying to eat more nutrient-dense foods, taking care of their well-being and choosing their food as responsibly as possible. Still, fast food marketing is so aggressive that many healthy sources are still hidden in their shadow.
What most people might not know is that a lot of the food we grow in our garden is incredibly beneficial and we don’t need USDA approval to eat it. Our food sources should go beyond the market’s shelves and when we think outside the box, we realize that there are so many healthy food choices within arm’s reach. We should exploit nature as much as possible, in that way we will preserve the planet and improve our health.
Many are not even familiar with this weed, but in fact it’s not just a weed. We grow it in our gardens and yet we don’t know we even use it. Purslane or Portulaca oleraceawas was originally cultivated in India and Persia, but nowadays it’s all over the place.
It has appealing leaves and sometimes yellow flowers. You might have seen it grow somewhere on its own, but not know of its health benefits and nutritional value.
You can also search it under fatweed, verdolagas, pussley, duckweed, wild portulaca and parsley. Though it has yet to reach the status of fame in North America, why not get a head start on reaping its benefits. Purslane can be grown just about everywhere and has a two-month growing season.
Looks, Taste & Uses
Even though many are mainly focused on removing it from their yards, you can gain a lot from it by incorporating it into your diet. Once you try it, you won’t give up on it. It has a lemony taste and it’s crunchy; its leaves are good for sandwiches and you can even use it as a substitute for spinach.
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It contains pectin, used for thickening stews and soups and this ingredient is also famous for lowering cholesterol. It creates a low-fat pesto without adding too much oil. This weed is slowly but safely taking its place in the kitchen. A writer from the New York Times, Marlena Spieler elaborated about the ways in which people around the world use purslane:
“In Mexico and California, verdolaga (a.k.a purslane) is eaten with pork and tomatillos; at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, Steve Sando, owner of Rancho Gordo New World Specialty Food in Napa, tucks a few whole stems into his big fat carnitas and tomatillo tamal. Farmers in Provence sell pourpier in wild mesclun.
In Greece, little old ladies forage from field to field hunting [purslane], and in Turkey semizotu is mixed with garlicky yogurt and chopped into fetching salads with ripe tomatoes. In Galilee I was told that”regelah” was delicious in salads — regelah being Hebrew for foot, since purslane is a plant typically found right at your feet.”
Because of its look, people normally use purslane in a fresh salad. Its taste is beautiful and you can easily fall in love with this weed, especially when you finish reading this article and find out about its health benefits and nutritional value. This weed definitely goes in the group of vegetables, small in size, but big in nutritional value and health benefits.
Health Benefits of Purslane
1. Powerful antioxidant – rich in vitamin C, B-complex such as pyridoxine, carotenoids, riboflavin, niacin and minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium. It is also rich in two different types of betalain- a yellow beta-xanthins and alkaloid pigments (a red beta-cyanis), which are powerful antioxidants and anti-mutagens. It is also rich in vitamin A, the vitamin crucial for vision, and which protects you from lung and oral cavity cancer.
2. 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 anomalies in children. About 100 grams of these leaves contain 350 mg of alpha-linolenic acid.
3. Improves your metabolism – it has also been proven that purslane is low in calories, boosts your metabolism and all in all provides your whole organism with sufficient nutrients.
We often throw a lot of money on supplements, but it is evident that purslane is a natural alternative to popping pills. It’s a health-booster and you can easily implement it in your everyday diet.
To learn more about how you can eat and grow purslane at home, check out the video below:
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