If you see this invasive ‘miracle weed’, don’t step on it, eat it

Photo by Eat Happy

Purslane is medicine, not a menace. It’s also a culinary delight making its way into farmer’s markets and fancy restaurants.

Purslane is one of many weeds in your garden that you might not want to kill. The super-food beloved by Ghandi, is now making a comeback in farmer’s markets and fancy restaurants.

It “sprouts from sidewalk cracks, invades gardens and earns contempt from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which classifies it as a “noxious weed,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

It’s also “a miracle plant,” Dr. Artemis Simopoulos told the Times.

President of the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, Simopoulos discovered while working at the National Institutes of Health that the plant had the highest level of Omega-3 fatty acids of any other green plant.

The tear-shaped leaves of this succulent plant are also packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Plus, they’re delicious.

The cucumber-crisp leaves have a tart,  lemony tang, with a peppery kick, according to the chef-owner of Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano in Chicago Sergio Vitale.

Vitale grew up eating the weed in in southern Italy.”When you bite into it, it bursts,” he says.Purslane apparently tastes great in salads, stir-fries or straight out of the ground.If it’s not in your garden already, you can buy some seeds, toss them around, and watch them grow, like crazy.

Here are 8 reasons to include purslane in your diet:

1. Omega-3 fatty acids

Purslane is a great source of the omega-3 fatty acids that are so scarce in the American diet, but so essential for brain and heart health. If you’re a vegan, this is one of the best sources you’ll find.

2. Antioxidants

Purslane is loaded with antioxidants, such as glutathione which protect cells from damage and slow aging.

3. Minerals

Purslane is a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, copper, folate and selenium, all lacking in the Standard American Diet and essential to good health.

4. Vitamin C

Great source of this immune-boosting vitamin.

5. Beta-carotene

Purslane is rich in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which most of us are seriously lacking in.

6. Melatonin

Purslane is a rare plant-source of melatonin, a hormone essential to regulating sleep.

7. Lowers cholesterol

Purslane contains betalain, an antioxidant that prevents cholesterol from damaging blood vessels and has a positive effect on LDL cholesterol levels.

8. Tryptophan

Purslane contains this important amino acid that regulates mood and fights depression.

Source: Return to Now

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