This tropical leafy vegetable is a little-known superfood hero that can solve many modern problems. With promising research in diabetes, liver disease, and alleviating malnutrition this is a veg worth looking at twice. If you need some help with detox, liver repair, and blood sugar regulation or are in the market for some vitamin-rich but quick to eat food and some recipe ideas you might want to keep reading until the end.
I had trouble finding this vegetable in America but it’s very common in South East Asia. It grows in rivers, rice paddies, or home gardens. I finally found some at an Asian Grocery under a different name, apparently this guy has a lot of names: “Kangkong”, “Kangkung”, “Morning Glory”, “Water morning glory”, “Water convolvulus”, “Water Spinach”, “River Spinach”, “Chinese Spinach”, “Chinese convolvulus”, and “Swamp cabbage”. It’s kind of hard to search for something technical with every name, so when digging up medical studies and nutrition profiles I stuck to the scientific name “Ipomea aquatica”.
Medical Benefits, Nutrition Profile, & Recipes:
“Traditionally, I. aquatica used as carminative agent and lessens inflammation, and is useful in fever, jaundice, biliousness, bronchitis, liver complaints, etc.,
I. aquatica is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibers, carotenes, and flavanoids with many health benefits.”
(Manvar MN, Desai TR. Phytochemical and pharmacological profile of Ipomoea aquatica. Indian Journal of Medical Sciences. 2013 Mar-Apr;67(3-4):49-60)
- Lowered fasting blood sugar levels for type 2 diabetes (study),
- Reducing blood sugar levels comparable to the diabetes medication tolbutamide (study),
- Supplementation during pregnancy reducing diabetic pregnancy complications (study).
- Preventing free radicals and programmed cell death by helping detox heavy metals (study).
- Protects against chemical-induced liver toxicity (study).
- Protection from carbofuran toxicity (study).
- Survival Foods (link)
- Kangkong Herbal Medicine (link)
- 15 Best Benefits of Water Spinach For Skin, Hair And Health (link)
- United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization study (Home-based vegetable gardens and other strategies to overcome micronutrient malnutrition in developing countries.)
- Some research into water purification and Phytoremediation potential of selected plants for nitrate and phosphorus from ground water.
- Protection from toxicity of industrial agriculture pesticide and chemicals (study).
Kangkong is a nutrient dense source of Vitamin A, B, C, calcium, and iron.
- This vegetable is safe for breastfeeding and pregnant mothers.
- It may lower blood sugar levels if you have too much while on diabetes medication.
- It is edible cooked and raw but if your supply is swamp-grown or was grown in poor water conditions eating it raw can result in transmission of water parasites.
- Blanching or boiling is actually better for this plant in general as a study showed that preparation by heating in water results in higher antioxidant activity (study).
- In a green smoothie or juice.
- In soups, stews, casseroles, or salads.
- Traditionally as a side dish with fish Steamed or blanched with fresh seaweed or sliced tomato with soy sauce and lime juice.
Tamarind beef shank stew (Sinigang na baka) from Pinoy recipe.net
Water spinach and tofu in oyster sauce from kawaling pinoy.com
Sauteed Mung Beans (Guinisang Munggo) from Kusina master recipes.com
Coconut cream braised water spinach (Ginataang Kangkong) from best of filipino foods.com