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Purslane: A Nutritional and Medicinal Superfood

Purslane is an annual succulent widely eaten in Europe, Asia and Africa. It has a sour and salty taste and is an exciting addition to your meals. The entire plant, including the leaves, stems and flowers, are also edible and has been eaten for thousands of years. People have used purslane since prehistoric times. It is an integral part of ancient Chinese medicine. However, people in the U.S. usually treat purslane as a weed. 

Purslane is a weed that grows in warm climates worldwide. Purslane can be eaten fresh or dried as a food supplement. The fresh form has a flavour similar to artichoke hearts and can be eaten raw or cooked. The dried form is usually ground into a powder and used as a health supplement or food additive. 

The purslane plant leaves resemble a tiny jade plant. When you pluck those leaves, they give a lemony, tard scent. Purslane is an excellent substitute for spinach, arugula and watercress. They are healthy, full of nutrients, and a great addition to salads or other dishes. Many people also cultivate it as an ornamental plant, resembling jade plants. 

Nutrition Facts of Purslane

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 100 g of purslane offers:

Energy: 20 KcalCarbohydrates: 3.39 gProtein: 2.03 gCholesterol: 0 mgPotassium: 494 mgVitamin C: 21 mgCalcium: 65 mgIron: 1.99 mgMagnesium: 68 mg

The HealthifyMe Note

Purslane contains a reasonable amount of nutrients, making it beneficial for health. It is low in calories and carbohydrates and has no cholesterol. In addition, it contains a high amount of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. As a result, it can offer several health benefits.

Health Benefits of Purslane

Here are some of the health benefits of eating purslane:

Purslane contains Antioxidant-Rich

Antioxidants are substances that reduce cell damage caused by free radicals. Research shows that the purslane plant had a positive effect on rats. The researchers found that the purslane juice significantly improved the rat’s antioxidant levels.

Prevents Heart Diseases

Studies show that purslane is good for your heart and circulatory system. Also, it’s one of the few vegetables high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for maintaining healthy arteries and can help avoid strokes, heart attacks, and other types of heart disease. This weed contains the most incredible quantities of omega-3 fatty acids of any terrestrial plant.

Purslane Benefits the Skin

Purslane contains high levels of antioxidants, which are essential because they help stimulate collagen production. Collagen also helps reduce wrinkles and maintain skin elasticity, so it’s beneficial in more than one way. Purslane may help treat a wide variety of skin conditions. Purslane contains high levels of vitamin A, which is advantageous to the skin and can heal scars. Applying purslane topically might help with allergies.

Helps in Weight Management

Purslane primarily consists of pure water – 93 % of it, to be exact. The remaining 7% of the plant contains an abundance of necessary nutrients. One hundred grams of purslane provides 20 calories and is an excellent food choice for those who want to watch their calorie intake while still receiving all the necessary nutrients. In addition, purslane is a herb that aids in weight loss. 

According to research, purslane can help you lose weight if you eat it every day. Along with that, it lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Manages Oral Lichen Planus

Oral lichen planus is a disorder that affects your mouth’s mucous lining. Symptoms include swelling, white spots, and redness in your mouth.

Purslane administration was part of a study. Individuals with oral lichen planus for three months had got purslane as part of an experiment. The results of the tests revealed that it was beneficial in lowering the severity of oral lichen planus symptoms.

Strengthens the Bones

Purslane contains minerals that aid the development of bone tissue and speed up healing in bones. Purslane also has anti-inflammatory properties, which could help prevent osteoporosis in older people. In addition, purslane is a plant that produces Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Alpha Linoleic Acid). This type of fatty acid is essential for human bone and growth development. Researchers found that purslane has more of these amino acids than wild spinach and a higher nutritional value.

Purslane Helps Manage Diabetes

Purslane seeds can reduce weight, body mass index (BMI), and other parameters, as per short clinical research. In addition, researchers determined that eating the seeds might help persons with type 2 diabetes. It can improve their anthropometric measurements, serum triglyceride levels, and blood pressure. 

In another study, purslane seeds, which contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, flavonoids, and polysaccharides, were beneficial in controlling type 2 diabetes.

Promotes Liver Health

​​People with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease have poor metabolic profiles and high levels of oxidative stress. One study revealed that eating 10 g of purslane seeds daily for eight weeks improved both measurements compared to a control group. However, more research is needed to determine whether purslane helps to enhance liver health and, if so, which types are most helpful.

Helpful During Menstruation

Heavy menstrual bleeding affects some women. Purslane seeds were consumed at precise periods during the menstrual cycle and lower the volume of blood loss and the number of bleeding days in a double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment.

The HealthifyMe Note

Purslane has a long history of being used as a superfood. It’s high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. 

Precautions and Things to Keep in Mind

Kidney Stones

Purslane is rich in oxalates. Therefore, it can be a problem for persons prone to kidney stones, as oxalates can contribute to the production of these stones. Compared to plants regularly exposed to sunshine, purslane grown in the shadow may have more significant amounts of oxalates. If you’re worried about the oxalate content, consider mixing it with yoghurt. As a result, it can lower oxalate levels dramatically.

Calcium Deficiency

Purslane or any other oxalate-rich vegetable decreases calcium absorption, leading to a calcium shortage in the body. In addition, due to the high oxalate content in women’s bodies, they are more likely to suffer calcium deficiency.

Low Salt Diet

Due to its succulent nature, purslane tends to be saltier than other vegetables. Therefore, you should monitor purslane consumption if you follow a low-sodium diet to prevent overeating salt.

Allergies

Purslane does not cause any dietary allergies. If you think you could be allergic to purslane, make an appointment with your doctor or an allergist to discuss your concerns and reactions to this food.

Storage and Food Safety

When eating purslane, look for soft and pliant leaves with a good crunch. In addition, the leaves should give off a slight shine.

You must store purslane in the refrigerator, which can last 3 to 4 days before wilting. Then, wrap the unwashed greens in a paper towel or plastic bag and place them in the crisper area of the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Purslane freezes poorly due to the texture modifications. However, some cooks briefly steam it before freezing it for subsequent use in soups. Others pickle purslane to keep the plant’s flavour for a long time.

Purslane Recipe

Purslane Dal Preparation

Ingredients

Split pigeon peas:½ cup Turmeric: ¼ tspMustard: ½ tsp Urad dal: 1 tsp Dried Red Chillies: 1 or 2 Asafoetida: ¼ tsp Chopped large onion: 1Destemmed Purslane greens: 150 gSalt: As per tasteFreshly squeezed Lemon juice: 2 tspCooking Oil: 1 tsp

Preparation

A key ingredient is the leaves. They require some effort to cut them up and then make sure they are determined. The recipe is something that you can change up to your personal preferences after making it once.

Wash, pat dry and purslane greens and set aside.Wash and soak your choice of lentils or dals for a couple of hours.Pressure cook it for 4-5 whistles and mash a little.Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and let them splutter.Add dry chilli, asafoetida, and urad dal and fry for a minute.Add chopped onions and saute until light brown.Add purslane greens, turmeric, and salt and cook for a couple of minutes.Mix in mashed dal along with water and bring it to a boil.Simmer for 4-5 minutes or until desired consistency is obtained.Add lemon juice, mix well and serve hot.

Summary

Purslane is a low-calorie, high-vitamin leafy green vegetable. It is a good source of vitamin C and has anti-inflammatory properties. It can be eaten as a side dish or added to salads or soups. Purslane can also help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. The flavonoids in purslane, including rutin, kaempferol, quercetin and caffeic acid, also have antioxidant effects. So does the vitamin C. Purslane has higher levels of the nutrient because it is an edible leafy vegetable rather than fruit or juice. 

Purslane, on the other hand, might have specific adverse side effects if consumed excessively. It can cause kidney stones and calcium deficiencies, for example. Therefore, you should avoid it if you have kidney or urinary tract stones. As a result, like all good things, eat it in moderation to reap the advantages and seek medical advice in case of an adverse side effect.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Can you eat purslane every day?

A. Purslane is an edible weed that has a high nutritional value. Purslane’s various health advantages are its high vitamin and mineral content, omega-3 fat, and antioxidant content. Purslane can be consumed in moderation every day.

Q. How much purslane can you eat in a day?

A. Few clinical trials may offer dosage recommendations. For example, diabetic patients got a daily dose of 180 mg of purslane extract. Similarly, powdered seeds at 1 to 30 g per day in split doses, ethanol and aqueous purslane extracts are part of dosage recommendations as well. 

Q. Is purslane really good for you?

A. Purslane’s various health advantages can be ascribed to its high vitamin and mineral content, omega-3 fat, and antioxidant content. In addition, this weed’s use helps reduce the risk of heart disease, enhance skin elasticity, promote weight reduction, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation.

Q. Can you eat raw purslane?

A. Purslane is a leafy vegetable that may be eaten raw or cooked and comes in various colours. Purslane has a salty, slightly sour flavour that can give your salad an extra punch. In addition, purslane is a crunchy green that goes well with sandwiches. Finally, you can add it to soups and hot dishes on a cold winter evening.

Q. Is purslane good for kidneys?

A. Oxalates are abundant in purslane. It might be an issue for people prone to kidney stones because oxalates can contribute to the formation of these stones. Purslane growing in the shade may contain higher oxalate levels than plants routinely exposed to sunlight. If you’re concerned about the oxalate content, try combining it with yoghurt, which significantly reduces oxalate levels.

Q. Is purslane toxic to humans?

A. The plant is nutrient-dense and generally regarded as safe to eat. However, purslane should not be ingested by those with renal illness or elevated uric acid levels due to its high oxalic acid concentration.

Q. Is purslane good for the liver?

A. Consuming purslane can help eliminate the chances of cholestasis-induced liver fibrosis by reducing oxidative stress. In addition, it can decrease profibrogenic cytokines and collagenolytic activity. As a result, it can lead to hepatic stellate cells’ activation.

Q. Can purslane cure diabetes?

A. As per clinical research, purslane seeds can reduce weight, body mass index (BMI), and other parameters. In addition, researchers determined that eating the seeds might help persons with type 2 diabetes. It can improve their anthropometric measurements, serum triglyceride and blood pressure levels. Another study suggests that Purslane seeds, due to their polyunsaturated fatty acids, flavonoids, and polysaccharides, were beneficial in controlling type 2 diabetes.

Q. Can you eat purslane seeds?

A. All parts of the plant, including the flowers, buds, seeds, leaves, and stems, are edible. Most people, however, consume the stems and leaves. When cooking wild purslane, thoroughly wash the plant to remove any pesticides from the leaves. Purslane is a tangy and somewhat salty green that goes well in salads and other cuisines.

Q. What vitamins and minerals are in purslane?

A. Purslane has the most significant vitamin A concentration than any green leafy vegetable. It also has Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. These include riboflavin, niacin, and pyridoxine. In addition, purslane contains several vital minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

Q. What is the best way to eat purslane?

A. The easiest way to enjoy purslane is to eat it fresh and raw, any way you would spinach. Use it in salads, as greens in a sandwich, or as a green topping for tacos and soup. Purslane also stands up to some heat when cooked with it. When cooking with purslane, though, sauté gently; overcooking will make the vegetables slimy.

Q. When should you eat purslane?

A. Purslane is a relatively easy plant to grow, yet it is not widely accessible in food shops. Nonetheless, it is frequently available in farmer’s markets throughout the spring and early fall. In addition, purslane seeds are often available at garden shops or online so that you may cultivate your own.

Q. Is purslane better raw or cooked?

A. Purslane is a leafy vegetable that may be eaten raw or cooked and comes in various colours. Purslane has a salty, somewhat sour flavour that may give your salad an additional bite. In addition, purslane is a crunchy green that goes well with sandwiches.

Q. Is purslane good for weight loss?

A. 100 grams of purslane provides 20 calories and is an excellent food choice for those who want to watch their calorie intake while still receiving all the necessary nutrients. In addition, purslane is a herb that aids in weight loss.

Q. Is purslane good for hair growth?

A. Purslane contains omega 3, which is beneficial to hair and skin, enhancing suppleness and hydration while decreasing irritation. So, if you start putting this into your diet, your hair will be bouncy and lustrous in no time.

Q. Does purslane have omega-3?

A. Purslane has a lot of alpha-linolenic acids. Alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that aids human growth, development, and illness prevention. Purslane contains five times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids found in spinach.

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