This kind of vegetable is considered a spinach and it’s common in Philippine markets, but its benefits can’t be ignored.
Alugbati leaves are also known as Malabar Spinach. It is named after the place where it is found. Malabar is a place in the Philippines. Although people call it spinach, it is actually not spinach at all.
Alugbati is a succulent, branched, smooth, twining herbaceous vine, several meters in length. Stems are purplish or green. Leaves are somewhat fleshy, ovate or heart-shaped, 5 to 12 centimeters long, stalked, tapering to a pointed tip with a cordate base. Its scientific name is Basella rubra Linn.
Alugbati’s spikes are axillary, solitary, 5 to 29 centimeters long. Flowers are pink, about 4 millimeters long. Fruit is fleshy, stalkless, ovoid or nearly spherical, 5 to 6 millimeters long, and purple when mature.
Alugbati usually grows in tropical regions, but can be found at specialty markets or farmers’ markets in your area. You might also order seeds and try growing it yourself. Once you get your hands on a bunch of alugbati, coarsely chop the leaves and stir them into soup or stew. Experiment with recipes and try adding alugbati to salad, stir-fry or curry, which are a few of the ways it’s eaten in the Philippines.
Although the vegetable is rich with vitamins and minerals, it is low in calories, so it’s ideal for weight watchers.
The nutritional information of each 100 grams of alugbati leaves are listed below:
- Calories 19
- Carbohydrate 3.4 gr
- Fat 0.3 gr
- Protein 1.8 gr
- Vitamin A 160%
- Magnesium 16%
- Vitamin C 170%
- Iron 6%
- Vitamin B6 10%
- Sodium 24 mg
- Potassium 510 mg
- Calcium 10%
- Control blood pressure – The high potassium and manganese will be very beneficial for blood pressure and heart rate. Therefore, it can prevent heart disease. It is able to relieve headache related to the high blood pressure. Besides vegetables, health benefits of Magnetic Bracelet can also control the blood pressure.
- Prevent constipation – The fleshy leaves are very smooth for digestive system. It also facilitates good bowel movement, so that we can prevent constipation and the other digestive problems. The other option to avoid constipation is by drinking 4 glasses of water in the morning.
- Relieve ulcer – The leaves smoothness is also able to relieve stomach ulcer. It is safe and healthy for any digestive problems.
- Prevent cancer – Just like other kinds of vegetable, alugbati is rich in antioxidant. Antioxidant is very important to fight free radical. Free radical is the main culprit of some cancer. Study proves that green vegetables are very good to prevent the growth of cancer cell in lung and oral cavity.
- Prevent Anemia -The leaves are also called spinach for some reasons. Despite the appearance, the nutrient contained in the leaves is similar with spinach’s. Just like spinach, the leaves are also rich with iron. The iron content in every 100 grams of fresh leaves is able to fulfill 15% daily need of iron. With the regular consumption, the iron intake will keep us from getting anemia. This is very beneficial, especially for women.
- Lose weight – It is very good to include this vegetable into your diet. Every single serving contains many nutrients such as vitamin, mineral, and natural fiber. Yet, it is very low in calorie. Isn’t it a best deal for your weight loss diet? The dietary fiber is also good to improve your digestive organs. The improved digestion will also affect the good metabolism system. As we know, good metabolism is the key for losing your weight.
- Release toxins – The excretion system is important to release toxins out of the body. As the ability of alugbati to improve bowel movement, it enables the body to release toxin from the feces. In addition, the leaves are also known as diuretic. Therefore, it will enable the body to release toxins by urine. Indeed. that’s the health benefits of alugbati leaves.
- Improve eyesight – Alugbati or basella is rich with vitamin A. Not only are the leaves, the stem also is a rich source of vitamin A. We know that vitamin A is significant for eyes’ health.
- Boost immunity – A study found that vitamin C in alugbati is high. The study compared alugbati leaves with the other kinds of green vegetables such as spinach. The high vitamin C is very good to improve the immune system.
- Soften skin – For soft skin, we can apply the leaves onto your skin and use it as a facial mask. It is able to re-hydrate and cool down your skin. Therefore, besides eating the leaves, we can also benefit from directly applying the leaves onto skin. Besides vegetables, fruits are also significant for skin.
- Anti aging property – Not only cancer, free radical also
stimulates premature aging. To prevent, we need to supply our skin with antioxidant. With the antioxidant in it, basella will give your skin some benefits. The leaves will slow down the aging process by protecting the skin. It is able to make the skin look younger.
- Reduce swelling – The ability of the leaves to cool down skin
can also be applied for swelling. Beside the water, vitamins are able to block inflammation and reduce swelling.
- Good for pregnancy – Experts suggest pregnant mother
fulfilling the folate intake. It is because folate is essential for the baby’s nervous system. When most people think that folate can be obtained from fish, we can also get folate from vegetable. One of vegetables which provide folate is alugbati or basella leaves. Therefore, pregnant mother is advised to include these leaves into their daily menu.
- Help get good sleep – Sometimes you feel so tired but you
can’t even close your eyes. Do you know that alugbati can also solve this problem? Besides maintaining the health of the internal organ and skin, alugbati leaves can help you relax. The minerals, especially magnesium and zinc of alugbati leaves will help you close your eyes and relax your whole body. Magnesium and zinc can also recharge your energy quickly.
DISEASES THAT CAN BE TREATED WITH ALUGBATI
- Leaf paste is used in treatment of Ulcers, Boils and Abscesses
- Fruit juice is good for herbal treatment of Conjunctivitis
- Leaf juice is herbal treatment for Catarrh
- The paste made from its roots is good herbal remedy for Arthritis and Swellings
- Helps in elevating Blood Cell Concentration and helps counter Anemia
- Cooked roots can treat Diarrhea
- Its leaf juice is demulcent in nature so its good in treating conditions like Dysentery
- Alugbati has laxative attributes so its stems and leaves are cooked and used to treat Constipation. It is also effective for Diuresis.
- Its decoction is given to pregnant women to reduce labor pains.
- Its flowers possess the attributes of Antidote and used against snake bites, insect bites, etc.
Note: It is still best to consult your doctor before using/ consuming the above.
Terrific Tuna with Creamed Alugbati
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 slices of bacon, chopped
- 3 cups alugbati leaves, washed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pack Nestle’ Cream, 250 ml
- 1 pc siling labuyo, chopped
- 500g tuna slices
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
Heat cooking oil. Cook bacon and alugbati slightly wilted. Add in garlic and saute’ until fragrant.
Pour in Nestle’ All Purpose Cream. Add labuyo and simmer for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Season tuna with salt, cayenne and nutmeg. Steam for 5 minutes or until cooked. Serve the tuna on top of the bed of creamed alugbati.
- Garlic Alugbati
- 2 bundles Alugbati, washed and “stemmed”
- Garlic, fried before hand or bought
- Salt and pepper
In a pan, place alugbati leaves then add a small amount of water. Cover and cook until the “consistency” you want half cooked or until “tender”
Season with salt and pepper.
Add a little oil and mix
Finally add fried garlic and mix.
Serve topped with more garlic.
A perfect side dish to a grilled or fried meat of fish but also delicious on its own. This recipe is also applicable to other leafy vegetables like kamote, kangkong and pechay. And you can tweak the recipe to suit your taste.
- Crispy Alugbati
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra, for seasoning
- 1/4 cup water, cold
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1 200-gram bunch alugbati (indian spinach), leaves picked, washed, and spun dry
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- mayonnaise, as dipping sauce
Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Add water and vodka and whisk until smooth. If batter is too thick, add up to 1 tablespoon additional water.
Preheat oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan.
Dip alugbati leaves one at a time, letting excess batter drip off.
Carefully lower into hot oil and cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute or just until batter is golden and crisp. Cook in batches, remembering not to overcrowd the pan.
Drain on a wire rack or paper towels. Season with extra salt, if desired.
Transfer to a serving dish and serve with mayonnaise on the side
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