The salad is enriched with a new tasty ingredient, purslane, scientific name Portulaca oleracea. Purslane is gaining more and more fame and it is easy to find it nowadays on supermarket shelves and at the greengrocer's. But what are the properties of this plant? Yes, in fact, purslane is not only delicious but also brings important benefits. It is not for nothing that purslane is called the global panacea! So let's try to deepen this topic on the basis of the most interesting scientific research.
Portulaca for heart health
Purslane is the vegetable with the highest content in omega three fatty acids, especially alpha linolenic acid with anti-cholesterol and antithrombotic action, while it is completely cholesterol-free (Rahimi et al, J Pharmacopuncture, 2019 ). Purslane also provides fiber that, as scientific studies have shown, supports the health of the intestinal microbiota and, as a consequence, helps reduce triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol (Fu et al, Front Nutr, 2022). Finally, this vegetable is also a source of potassium and magnesium, two mineral salts that have been shown to be protective for the health of the cardiovascular system, reducing the risk of arrhythmias and heart attack (D'Elia et al, J Am Coll Cardiol, 2011 - Sheehan et al, Magnesium, 1984).
Purslane for respiratory health
Purslane shows important anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune system regulating properties, thanks to its content in vitamin C and beta carotene, which is useful in combating diseases such as asthma (Rahimi et al, J Pharmacopuncture , 2019). Not only that, the intake of purslane extracts has been shown to reduce inflammation of the lungs (Rahimi et al, J Pharmacopuncture, 2019).
Purslane for the liver
Purslane protects the liver. In fact, portulaca extracts have been shown to counteract the formation of tumors in the liver, as well as reduce ALT and AST values, two indicators that, if elevated, indicate a suffering affecting this organ (Guoyin et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2017). Not only that, purslane reduces inflammation and related liver damage caused by excessive alcohol consumption (Qiao et al, Molecules, 2019). This is not to say that you can drink a large amount of alcohol, because purslane protects the liver. The results are only reported to show the potency of this vegetable.
Purslane for intestinal health
Purslane has also been shown to reduce the severity of colitis by regulating the inflammation and immune response underlying this condition (Lin et al, Foods, 2022). Not only that, this plant also has a prebiotic action, since it promotes the growth of good bacteria in the intestinal microbiota, which is the set of all the bacteria that live in our intestine. A healthy microbiota also means a healthy body, since substances are produced in the microbiota that help reduce chronic inflammation levels (Fu et al, Front Microbiol, 2022).
Portulaca, how to eat it and warnings
You can add raw purslane to your salads. In any case, even if purslane is beneficial, as we have seen, never overdo the doses and include this vegetable as part of a varied and balanced diet. In fact, purslane contains oxalates, which, in the long term and in predisposed people, can increase the risk of kidney stone formation (Massey et al, J Am Diet Assoc, 1993).