Basella Alba, commonly known as Malabar Spinach, has a long list of health benefits. It contains many vitamins and minerals and has been shown to have antioxidant effects. Vitamin C, vitamin A, Calcium, and iron are all found in Malabar Spinach. In addition, the plant has a low-calorie count and a high protein content for its weight. Malabar Spinach also contains a lot of soluble fiber.
What is Malabar Spinach?
Malabar Spinach, also known as Basella Alba, is a healthy and easy-to-grow vegetable native to Asia and Africa. Basella alba, vine spinach, climbing spinach, red vine spinach, and buffalo spinach are common names for this healthy vegetable. Malabar Spinach is a fast-growing, soft-stemmed vine that can grow lengths of up to 30 feet. Malabar Spinach is available in two colors: red and green.
In humid, hot weather, Malabar Spinach grows in full sunlight. It’s a tropical Asian plant. It’s usually used in soups and may help thicken the texture of a variety of foods. The plant is widely used as a curry ingredient in various parts of the world. Malabar Spinach offers several health benefits in Chinese cuisine and is commonly used in stir-fries, soups, and other dishes. It’s often mixed with crabmeat in different cultures to make a healthy soup.
The nutrition value of Malabar Spinach is 10 calories per serving size of 44 grams. It contains 50 grams of Vitamin B9, 0.65 mg of iron, 55 mg of calcium, 0.049 mg of copper, and 21 mg of magnesium. Vitamin B9, as well as other proteins and minerals, are plentiful in Malabar Spinach.
13 Malabar Spinach Health Benefits
Skincare, urinary tract infections, immunity, cancer, anaemia, sleep, strengthening bones and teeth, digestion, preventing heart attacks, dementia, and supporting proper development of the foetus during pregnancy are all of the Malabar Spinach health benefits.
Here is the description of some of Malabar Spinach health benefits
Folate is essential for the reduction of homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine raises the risk of heart disease and strokes. Folate helps in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine, lowering homocysteine levels. It helps in the metabolization of minerals and has antioxidant properties. According to research, a high folate intake lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
2. Promotes Bone strength
Both calcium and magnesium are essential for bone health. While calcium is necessary for strong bones, magnesium is essential for effective calcium absorption. Malabar Spinach includes calcium and magnesium, which helps to strengthen bones.
3. Improves Eyesight
Free radicals have been shown to cause damage to the roots of cells in eye retina tissues. Malabar Spinach contains antioxidants such as carotene, zeaxanthin, vitamins A and C, beta- and lutein, which protect the eyes from free – radicals.
4. Prevent Dementia
According to research, high homocysteine levels increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A lack of folate in the body causes poor mental performance.
Although folic acid lowers homocysteine levels, it has yet to improve cognitive performance or prevent diseases. However, the addition of folate and nutrient-rich food to one’s diet can help treat Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Treatment for Cancer
A deficiency of folate in the body has been linked to breast, colon, cervical, lung, and brain cancer. The consumption of a folate-rich diet has been shown to protect against the development of cancer. You should consume vitamins in their natural forms because pharmaceutical forms differ from natural forms in terms of protection.
6. Resistance against Infections
Malabar Spinach contains higher vitamin C than spinach. 100 g of fresh greens contains 102 mg of vitamin C or 102 % of the daily required amount. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps develop resistance to infectious agents and the scavenging of harmful oxygen-free radicals.
7. Prevents Anaemia
Basella, like spinach, is a good source of iron. Iron content in 100 g fresh leaves is around 1.20 mg or 15% of daily requirements. Iron is a trace element required by the human body to produce red blood cells (RBCs). During cellular metabolism, this element also acts as a co-factor for the oxidation-reduction enzyme cytochrome oxidase.
8. Utilizes Amino Acids, Iron and Vitamin B12
One of the causes of folate deficiency is anaemia. It is a health disorder in which red blood cells are produced improperly. Folate helps absorb Vitamin B12, which helps in nutrition absorption, brain function, and power generation.
Folate is a necessary nutrient for a healthy baby. Neural tube defects such as anencephaly, spina bifida, limb deformities, and heart disease are caused by a lack of folate. Folate is needed for DNA replication and the formation of new cells. Low folate levels can lead to long-term developmental issues. You should eat folate-rich foods during pregnancy, including leafy greens, avocados, sprouted beans, and citrus.
10. Better Sleep
Malabar Spinach has enough magnesium. It is a mineral that is required to relax stressed muscles caused by a lack of sleep. The body sinks into a comfortable sleep with good quality of bed sheets once the muscles relax.
11. Provides Energy
Anemia is caused by a shortage of iron in the body. Due to a lack of iron, haemoglobin levels are low, and oxygen cannot reach the cells in sufficient amounts. Poor mental function, a lack of energy, and apathy are all symptoms of iron deficiency. If children and pre-menopausal women do not consume iron-rich foods, they are at a higher risk of developing anaemia.
12. Maintains Blood Pressure
Basella leaves are high in minerals, including manganese (32% of RDA/100 g), potassium (11% of RDA/100 g), magnesium, calcium, and copper. Potassium is a mineral found in cells and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
13. Malabar Spinach Juice is High in Antioxidants
Drinking Malabar Spinach juice might help you get more antioxidants in your diet.
Antioxidants protect you from oxidative stress and chronic illness by reducing unstable molecules called free radicals. The antioxidants lutein, beta carotene, coumaric acid, violaxanthin, and ferulic acid are high in spinach.
Drinking 8 ounces (240 mL) of Malabar Spinach juice every day for 16 days reduced oxidative DNA damage in eight people, according to a small 16-day study.
Similar findings in animal studies relate spinach to oxidative stress prevention. Antioxidants in Malabar Spinach juice can help prevent oxidative damage and protect against chronic illnesses.
Some Side Effects of Malabar Spinach
· It contains many oxalates, which bind to Calcium and Iron and prevent your body from absorbing these vital nutrients.
· Allergic reactions can develop in some persons who are sensitive. Itchy eyes, scratchy throat, nasal congestion, or hives are some of the side effects of Malabar Spinach.
· Phytates and dietary fibre in the leaves may interfere with iron, calcium, and magnesium bioavailability.
· Basella, like spinach, contains oxalic acid, a naturally occurring substance present in some vegetables that, in some persons, can crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary system. It is recommended that people who have oxalate urinary tract stones avoid eating them. To avoid any side effects of Malabar Spinach, experts recommend drinking enough water.
However, combining vitamin C-rich foods with spinach (such as sweet peppers, tomatoes, limes, lemons, cabbage, onions, or sweet potatoes) can improve mineral absorption. In addition, lightly cooking spinach lowers the amount of oxalic acid it contains.
The Bottom Line
Malabar Spinach health benefits are numerous. It has a lot of protein for a plant and magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Another benefit of Malabar Spinach is its high antioxidants, including beta carotene and lutein, which are naturally occurring chemicals that help protect your cells from ageing.