Waterleaf is one of the most common vegetables in Nigeria. It is called Gbure in Yoruba and Mgbolodi in Igbo.
Scientifically named Talinum triangulare, It is an all-season vegetable that is extensively grown in many countries in Asia, South America, Central America, and West Africa though it is native to the Americas and Caribbeans.
This green leafy vegetable is rich in fiber, protein and has various vitamins necessary for a human healthy diet. It is a good source of some important minerals such as magnesium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, potassium; as well as antioxidants.
Waterleaf is commonly used in the preparation of different vegetable soups and stews in Nigeria some of which include Gbure Elegusi, Afang soup, Edikankiong soup, and stewed waterleaf.
It can also be consumed in the form of a juice or smoothie.
Here are some of its many health benefits.
1.Prevents heart diseases and stroke
Waterleaves, when consumed on a daily basis, perform a key role in maintaining the cardiovascular system.
It helps to keep the heart healthy by regulating the activities of the heart and reduce the risk of related heart diseases as well as stroke by adequately supply of blood and oxygen to the needed areas.
It also helps in reducing the cholesterol levels in the blood, which is good for the prevention and improvement of heart-related conditions.
2. Improves the blood cells
Waterleaf containers Nitrogen, vitamins, and herbal extracts that enhance muscular development. It generally helps in improving both the red and white blood cells.
3. Promotes bone health
Waterleaf is an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus, both of which are essential for healthy bones. In fact, some research has shown that taking calcium without phosphorus does very little for bone strength. The two elements appear to work together. They are especially good for helping women over 60 who are already suffering from osteoporosis.
4. Boosts immunity
One of the properties of waterleaf is its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It helps to suppress the growth of bacteria and fight fungi responsible for certain infections and diseases. Consumption of this leaf keeps you strong and healthy.
5. Relieves pain
Quercetin, an active compound in waterleaf has an analgesic effect which is notable for use in individuals with chronic arthritic pain. Consumption of waterleaf helps to relieve pain faster than you can imagine.
6. Aids weight loss
It serves as a weight loss diet due to the amount of fiber content in it. Constant intake of fiber promotes weight loss by reducing appetite thereby reducing the urge to eat often.
7. Promotes good health during pregnancy
Waterleaf is safe for consumption during pregnancy. It helps to increase the health of a pregnant woman by supplying her with the essential nutrients her body needs.
8. Aids digestion and relieves constipation
Because of the high content of water in this vegetable, it aids digestion and helps prevent the symptoms of constipation and other stomach diseases. It helps you empty your bowels thereby preventing constipation.
9.Controls blood sugar
If you suffer from diabetes, taking waterleaf regularly is advised as it will help control your sugar level.
10. Promotes eye vision
Waterleaf contains Vitamin A, a vitamin that plays an important role in the process of vision. Vitamin A helps retinol to capture light and objects that pass through the retina into brain neurons.
Waterleaf also contains vitamin C which helps to maintain a healthy eye by preventing the retina from damages that might be caused by free radicals and other health conditions that affect the eyes like dry eyes, conjunctival hemorrhages, and even cataracts.