Waterleaf, Talinum triangulare, is abundant in nutrients such as Vitamins A and C, it also contains minerals such as Iron, Calcium, and Phosphorus. Other nutrients such as Niacin, Thiamine, and Riboflavin are also abundant in waterleaf. Due to the abundance of these nutrients, this succulent vegetable provides an array of health benefits.
What is waterleaf?
Waterleaf, popularly called Gbure among the Yorubas, Ebe-dondon among the Edos, and Mgbolodi among the Igbos. It is a fleshy vegetable that is known for its culinary value and water abundance. It is a vegetable that is easy to come by and has been a part of the daily diet of almost all Nigerians, especially during the rainy season.
In this article, you will get familiar with the nutritional value of waterleaf, the health benefits attached the regular consumption of the vegetable and the specific health benefit each nutrient it contains provide.
Nutritional info of waterleaf
Waterleaf, as you can see from the information provided in the table above is abundant in nutrients. Some of these nutrients (vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates) are known to be beneficial to different parts of the human body. Some other nutrients it contains are not popularly known, but they are also beneficial to the body. some of them are the flavonoids, which are antioxidants that help the body get rid of toxins.
Polyphenols are micronutrients that are gotten only from certain plants. They are antioxidants and also aid in the treatment of digestive, cardiovascular, weight management, blood sugar, and some other health issues.
With an idea of what these nutrients offer, let us look at the major health benefits that waterleaf can provide when it is regularly consumed.
Health benefits of waterleaf
To effectively move nutrients from the crude mass of vegetable that you have consumed, your body needs to digest the food first. However, it is not uncommon for some people to have indigestion.
Waterleaf possesses nutrients such as fibre that helps to make digestion easy because it makes the body think it is full when it is not. This means your body spends less time breaking down the constituents of your food.
Polyphenols, another nutrient contained in waterleaf aids in digestion, among many other things. They are effective in treating digestive issues and since they are a constituent of waterleaf, they bring that advantage to the table.
Therefore, if you are eating heavy food like the local starch, it is advisable you accompany it with waterleaf soup.
Promotes Eye Health
Vitamin A, Retinol, is an important nutrient when it comes to improving or maintain eye health. Retinol is found in many plants, especially brightly colored ones in the form of Beta carotene. Waterleaf contains Beta carotene which when eaten and digested is converted into vitamin A.
Vitamin A helps to improve the eye health by strengthening the rods and cones and consequently, the eyes’ sensitivity to light.
Aids in Weight loss
Weight loss and management is a major issue most people deal with on a daily. To effectively manage your weight or even lose some, you need to focus on your diet. Follow a diet plan that allows you consume lesser calories than you normally would. You need just enough to carry out your daily activities.
One of the ways to trick your body into cooperating with you on this journey is to consume fibre-dense food choices. They make you feel full faster, consequently, helping you consume less.
Waterleaf contains fiber which you need for this. It also has polyphenols that is known to help in managing weight and achieve weight loss.
Improves Blood Clotting
It is a serious issue when bleeding refuses to stop on its own after an accident or injury. Bleeding occurs when a blood vessel has been ruptured, thereby, causing the escape of blood out of its flow.
Waterleaf helps in improving blood clot and reducing blood loss because it contains thrombin, an important compound that is necessary in the clotting of blood.
Fights Infections and Diseases
Waterleaf is abundant in antioxidants, some of them are the polyphenols and flavonoids. The body is filled with by-products of metabolism from time to time. These by-products are toxic to the body and if left, cause undue problems.
To avoid these problems that may range from digestive to cardiac issues, consume waterleaf and its antioxidants (polyphenols and flavonoids) will help to flush out the toxins, leaving your body clean and your systems functioning optimally.
Strengthens Bones and Teeth
Every human’s bony framework should be strong. Afterall, it is the structure on which our body is shaped. If it collapses, the whole body does the same. Unfortunately, old age rid our bones of the strength they once had. The joints of the aged, having been used over the years, begin to grow weak and leads to pain.
To checkmate this weakness in the bones, it is advisable to consume foods that are rich in calcium and potassium, one of them being waterleaf.
The percentage of calcium and potassium contained in waterleaf enhances the strength of bones and teeth, thereby reducing the risk of arthritis.
Aids in Blood Production
The all-important body fluid, blood, should not be short of supply in the body. however, a deficiency in the mineral, Iron, will consequently lead to a reduction in the blood volume of the body.
Iron is an important constituent of the blood and waterleaf is a good supplier of Iron. Therefore, for a good supply of blood in the body, consume more waterleaf.
Repairs Damaged Tissues
Tissues are susceptible to wear and tear. When they get damaged either by external or internal forces, they need to be repaired. To repair these tissues, the body needs vitamins and antioxidants; both repair-ingredients waterleaf happens to have.
The largest body tissue, skin, is the most susceptible to damage, and to repair it, the body needs a high level of vitamin C and vitamin A. these, together with polyphenols and flavonoids get rid of free radicals caused by oxidative stress and rebuild the cells.
Improves Heart Health
Cholesterol is the heart’s major enemy after inactivity. Waterleaf contains saponin, which according to research aids in lipid metabolism. It helps to reduce the level of cholesterol in the body and gives the heart less pump-pressure.
Saponin’s ability to help burn cholesterol also helps in weight loss and also treat obesity. It also helps in regulating blood sugar level, factors that may increase the risk of heart failure.
Enhances Brain Power
Blood flow to the brain influences the processing and thought power. This translates to the necessity of increased blood volume in the body. Iron, an important micronutrient which waterleaf contains, aids in the production of blood and consequently, its volume.
Iron has been known to be effective in the treatment of individuals with Schizophrenia and Alzheimer.
A lot of health benefit is associated with the consumption of waterleaf. It aids in improving general body health by flushing toxins out of the body through the introduction of antioxidants. It also improves specific health of certain organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Waterleaf should be a part of the average Nigerian’s daily diet as its health benefits are innumerable and they are easy to come by.