Not many people can imagine the amount of nutritional value and health benefits embeded in waterleaf. Though commonly used as soup to eat other foods, it also serves as medicine for the body.
Waterleaf is annual herbaceous plant of West Africa that is seen in most parts of Nigeria, but mainly in the south. It is called gbure in Yoruba; mgbolodi in Igbo, while the Benin people call it ebe-dondon.
This vegetable contains lots of water. Perhaps, that might have informed the name waterleaf. Beyond the water, it contains nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, crude fibre, lipids, crude protein and other which make them nutritious and medicinal in several ways such as:
Enhances cognitive ability
Regular consumption of this vegetable has a good effect on the cognitive ability because of the presence of certain constituents, which helps to improve cerebral blood flow and cognitive function.
And due to its ability to improve the flow of blood, it helps the brain to function adequately by supplying it with adequate oxygen as well in order to prevent/improve cerebral hypoperfusion, schizophrenia, as well as death of the brain tissues.
The presence of iron, which is a micronutrient found in waterleaf helps also in the strengthening of the brain muscles and tissues which helps in the improvement of the human brain, thereby improving the cognitive reasoning as well.
Improves the blood cells
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 functions when it comes to blood cells in the body can’t be overemphasized. It is believed to help in the adequate pumping of blood and its supply and as such is used in many cases such as in the treatment of anaemia.
It generally helps in improving the blood cells which includes both the white and red blood cells, and with the content of iron as well helps in this case.
Promotes heart health
Waterleaves, when consumed on daily basis, perform a key role in the maintaining of the cardiovascular system.
They help 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.
Eliminates infections, diseases
It contains certain properties such as antibacterial properties, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that help to suppress the growth of bacteria, fungi and inflammatory diseases in the body.
It has been proven effective for the treatment of some diseases like atherosclerosis which results as the arteries in the body is been accumulated with fats and cholesterols thereby making the walls of the artery to be narrow.
This makes the blood flow to be interrupted and can even cause a total blockage in the artery thereby leading to many health conditions like stroke, heart attack and more.
Waterleaf consumption has been locally used in the treatment and prevention of this health condition, for more effective results, the leaf should be washed and properly squeezed to extract the juice which has to be taken orally.
There is no measurement for the quantity of waterleaf juice to be taken but it should be moderate.
Repairs body tissues
They are a good source of vitamins such as A and C which helps to repair the body tissues and promote good eye vision.
One of the main functions of vitamins C is to help in the normal body tissues repair and growth, it acts as antioxidant as it prevents oxidative stress which is caused by the free radicals from damaging the body cells and tissues.
It makes the skin smoother and prevent dryness, as well as helps in the formation and improvement of the skin pigment.
For strong bones and teeth
The presence of calcium in this vegetable helps in maintaining strong bones and teeth, in general, gives support to the body skeletal structure and improve skeletal function.
Calcium is very vital in the formation of bones in the body, and the content of this mineral in waterleaf makes it one of the foods suitable for those who have bone conditions such as osteoporosis, fracture, and more, as it can help in its improvement.
Helps in digestion
Waterleaves are an excellent vegetable that is 100 per cent healthy for the body even when consumed together with the stem which helps to reduce constipation and aid in proper digestion of food.
Problems with indigestion seem to alleviate when waterleaf in eaten and helps to soften the stool as well but when eaten in excess can cause a little stomach discomfort.
Good for weight loss
It serves as a weight loss diet due to the amount of fibre content in it. But 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 makes it one of the vegetables to be added to our daily meal for proper weight management.
In as much as it helps to improve weight, we have to also eat healthy at all times for the effectiveness of this nutrient.
Improves Blood Clotting
Waterleaf has a great effect on the blood which makes it one of the vegetables which have to be incorporated into our daily meal due to its effectiveness.
It helps in the improvement of blood clotting and prevent new ones from forming just like thrombus which might be formed in ones of the blood vessels interfering with the flow of blood.
Though thrombus can be termed healthy when it functions to stop bleeding on injuries by making the blood to form a clot but can be termed unhealthy when the clot formation tends to block the blood vessels.
Therefore, the intake of waterleaf in whatever form can help prevent such occurrences and even help improve existing ones due to its anti-inflammatory properties and others.
Pomotes Eye Health
Vegetables are essential for the overall health which includes the eye as well, as they mostly contain the vitamin A which function to improve the eye health.
Waterleaf contains vitamin A which helps to enhance vision in poor light and as well helps in the improvement of the skeletal tissue and the skin due to its content of vitamin A1 as known as retinol.
Vitamin A can help in providing the eye with the necessary nutrients which it needs to prevent some of the eye-related conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration and more. Therefore, the intake of waterleaf in the right amount will result in a healthy eye.
Waterleaf also contains the vitamin C which helps to maintain a healthy eye by preventing the retina from damages which might be caused by free radicals and other health conditions that affect the eyes like dry eyes, conjunctiva haemorrhages and even cataracts.