Veggies and Fruit

What is Water Spinach, and What Are its Uses?

OngChoy water spinach

Water spinach, known by the scientific name Ipomoea Aquatica, is a member of the Morning glory family (Convolvulaceae). It belongs to the genus Ipomoea batatas, the same as the sweet potato. Moreover, water spinach is a semi-aquatic or herbaceous aquatic perennial plant of the subtropics and tropics regions. It has two significant cultivators: ChingQuat and Pak Quat.

ChingQuat or green stem water spinach usually grows in moist soils and has white flowers and narrow leaves. Pak Quat or white stem water spinach grows in aquatic conditions like rice and has pink flowers and arrow-shaped leaves. Almost every part of the water spinach’s young plant tissue is edible. However, younger leaves and tender shoot tips are preferable.

The best thing about water spinach is that it is available throughout the year. It has arrowhead-shaped, flat, long leaves and hollow, thin stems. Water spinach, classified as a noxious weed in the United States, is widely found in Southeast and East Asia and used as a vegetable in Vietnam, China, India, Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand cuisine.

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Water spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients like other dark green vegetables and benefits your body, brain, and skin. Several people assume that water spinach is the relative of spinach vegetable. But in reality, water spinach is arelative of sweet potatoes.

Several other known terms of water spinach include Kankon, WengCai, Kang Kung, BatataAquatica, swamp cabbage, OngTsoi, Kang Kong, Pak Bung, water convolvulus, morning glory, You-Sai, PaaniPalak, Toongsin Tsai, Rau Muong, and Cancon. Moreover, this herb grows wild in aquatic environments, but you can also cultivate it in well-irrigated fields.

Taste of Water Spinach

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Even though water spinach is not related to spinach, it has a flavor bit like a cross between watercress and spinach. However, it does not have a slightly earthy taste and bitter bite as spinach.

Nutrients Present In Water Spinach

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This green leafy herb is ranked high among the healthiest foods of the work, and it contains essential minerals, nutrients, and vitamins, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Vitamin A
  • Amino acid
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin B
  • Phosphorus
  • Calcium

Health Benefits of Water Spinach

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Due to the presence of many vitamins and minerals, water spinach is very beneficial. Some of the health benefits of water spinach are prevention of heart disease, lowers cholesterol, boosts immunity, reduces constipation and ingestion, anti-aging, antidiabetic, and treats anemia. Following are some more:

Improves Health

Water spinach is rich in antioxidants called phyuto that can counteract free radicals in the body. Moreover, Water spinach also contains large amounts of vitamin A, C, B complex, folic acid, pyridoxine, niacin, and riboflavin.

Rich in Minerals

Water spinach is very high in mineral content, such as calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and zinc. All these minerals are beneficial for cellular respiration and increase the production of cells in the blood.

Gets Rid of Bad Breath

Water spinach contains essential oils, such as estragole, cineol, icomene, and phellandrene. These oils can help you to reduce bad breath are caused by microbes in the mouth.

Controls the Number of Platelets

Research has shown that water spinach contains certain chemicals that are good for controlling the number of platelets in the blood. This substance is also used to prevent blood clots in the blood vessels of the heart and brain.

Reduces Stress and Blood Sugar

The content of polyphenolic compounds in spinach Water beneficial to reduce levels of glucose in the blood. Therefore, if you have diabetes, try to eat natural foods rather than taking chemical drugs.

Helps Treat Toothache

Are you experiencing a toothache? Try to chew a few leaves of Water spinach. The essential oils in it are useful as antiseptic substance eugenol and dental anesthesia.

Increases Appetite

Water spinach can increase a person’s appetite. Therefore, it is a good vegetable consumed by those who are not fond of eating it. Water spinach is also known as dyspepsia drugs (to treat indigestion), flatulence, and insomnia.

Water Spinach Benefits for Pregnant Women and Healthy

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There are so many benefits of Kang Kong for a healthy body. If pregnant women consume it regularly, they can experience the following health benefits:

Insomnia

This vegetable can cope with insomnia, a compound found in kale are zinc and selenium. Both of these nutrients can cause drowsiness. It is because both of these nutrients are elements that make our nerves lose and relaxed.

For more information, check out this report.

Suitable for Pregnant and Lactating Mothers

Water spinach can cure or treat diabetes during pregnancy. Also, Kang Kong is very appropriate for breastfeeding mothers because the content of the nutrients found in this veggie can facilitate breastfeeding (breast milk). Kang Kong is also able to cure or treat diabetes during pregnancy.

Prevent Constipation

As an anti-toxin, fiber content found in Kang Kong can overcome or prevent constipation. Besides, Kang Kong also has an anti-toxin that can relieve ulcers and is suitable for skincare.

Nourish the Eyes

The high content of vitamin A in water spinach is beneficial to our eye’s health. If you do not want to suffer the elderly degeneration or cataracts, start eating this healthy benefit for its Vitamin A.

How to Store Water Spinach

Compared to the other leafy green vegetables, you can keep the water spinach in the fridge for way longer. You can store it for several days in a sealed container with a damp paper towel. Avoid washing water spinach before you refrigerate it; it will make it wilt quickly. However, when you intend to cook it, only then clean the water spinach.

How to Use Water Spinach

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You can consume the leaves and shoots of this excellent herb raw or use in the cooking in the form of stir-fries; both ways are nutritious. You can also grind water spinach leaves in a grinder or a mixer and put it in a muslin sieve to enjoy its juice. It is a versatile herb and is the ingredient of most Asian cuisine.

The Asian people stir-fry water spinach with fermented garlic, shrimp paste, or bean curd. Other than its culinary uses, water spinach has several health benefits that make it a universal magic veggie. Water spinach has this status for hundreds of years among the cultures of Southeastern Asians.

Moreover, it has caught the attention of the rest of the world as well because of its ability to treat and everything, including insomnia and hemorrhoids.

How to Cook Water Spinach

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To determine the sanitary conditions of the water in which the vegetable cultivate is very troublesome. So, it will is not recommended to eat water spinach without cooking it properly. To prepare water spinach for cooking first, wash it to remove all kinds of dirt trapped in the leaves and stalks and then shake dry.

Discard the fibrous and tough lower stems of water spinach, and after that, cut it into the bite-sized length. Since the lower part mainly consists of a stalk, it needs more time to cook. Therefore, it will be best to separate this part from the more tender and leafier upper half. Finding the appropriate cooking time may require a little practice. But once you get to master it, you will effortlessly enjoy water spinach just right in the curries, stir-fries, and soups.

Where to Buy Water Spinach

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Just like spinach, you can find water spinach sold in bunches in some Asian specialty stores (in the US), farmer’s markets, and grocery stores. Always use regular guidance about checking for freshness before buying water spinach, such as signs of dampness, yellowing, or wilt,which shows a shorter shelf life.

Side Effects of Water Spinach

There are no reported side effects of water spinach, and it is safe for general use. However, despite having no side effects, there is more research required on this topic. You can consult with your doctor or an herbal practitioner to ensure it would be beneficial and cause no harm to you.

Conclusion

Water spinach is one of the healthiest food in the world and has several health benefits. The presence of vitamins, minerals, and many other nutrients make it well-liked all over the world. You can easily buy it fresh from your nearby grocery store.

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