Waterleaf is an edible leafy vegetable that belongs to the Portulacea family. It was originally from West Africa before spreading to other parts of the world, such as Asia and South America. Waterleaf is a herbaceous perennial plant that has its stem above ground. Waterleaf is one of the most underrated and undervalued plants in Nigeria today. Most people regard it as a wild plant that grows all year. However, this vegetable is known to be an annual herbaceous plant of West Africa, commonly seen in most of the states in Nigeria (mainly in the South). Waterleaf contains lots of water and nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, crude fibre, lipids and others which make them highly medicinal. Some of the benefits the body derives from the consumption of this vegetable include the following;
1. Eliminates Infection and Diseases
The consumption of this vegetable is often prescribed locally for the treatment and prevention of health conditions like malaria (when mixed with other vegetables or ingredients). For more effective results, the leaf should be squeezed to extract the juice and taken orally.
2. Promotes Healthy Heart
Waterleaf, when consumed on a daily basis, perform a key role in maintaining the body system. It helps to keep the heart healthy by regulating its activities; it also helps in reducing the risks of heart-related diseases(e.g stroke) by adequately supplying the right amount of blood and oxygen to the necessary areas.
3. Aids Weight Loss
Waterleaf aids weight loss diet due to the amount of fibre content in it and should be taken on a regular basis; either used in a salad or steamed to a certain temperature. The fibre content makes the stomach fuller thereby eliminating the chances of craving for more food. Its water content also helps in this case, which puts it among the list of vegetables to be added in our daily meals for proper weight loss management.
4. Improves the Blood Cell
The crude protein contained in waterleaf is an important supplement both in quality and nutritional perspective which play a very important role in the human blood cell. It generally helps in improving both the red and white blood cells.
5. Eases Indigestion
Study shows waterleaf helps to reduce constipation and aid the proper digestion of food. For those who suffer from indigestion are advised to eat freshly and softly cooked waterleaf soup as it helps make the stomach enzymes act on already existing food particles as well as prompts you to empty your bowels.