Kangkong benefits for pregnant moms and children
We list down how kangkong benefits the health to prove why it should be a staple in your home.
Stock up on this vegetable now. Kangkong benefits for the health for pregnant moms are just too many to ignore. But, what are the benefits of kangkong during pregnancy?
What is Kangkong?
Kangkong, or water spinach, is a semi-aquatic tropical plant usually harvested as a leaf vegetable. It features in many Filipino dishes, from the simple adobong kangkong (kangkong leaves cooked in some soy sauce, vinegar and chopped garlic) to the spicy gising-gising (chopped kangkong stalks and green finger pepper cooked in coconut milk).
However, most homes probably enjoy it with pork sinigang (a stew of meat and various vegetables made sour with the use of guava, calamansi or tamarind).
Kangkong is known as the “poor man’s vegetable” but there is nothing poor about its numerous health benefits.
How Kangkong Benefits the Health
Kangkong benefits the health in many ways. Here are some medicinal uses that are in place today:
- A poultice (soft, moist paste usually made of plants that is applied to the body to help treat inflammation or soreness) made from kangkong buds is used for treating skin diseases such as athlete’s foot and ringworm.
- Kangkong juice mixed with water is used as a cold compress to during fevers. Water boiled with kangkong helps loosen stool during constipation.
- Kangkong treats intestinal worms.
- Kangkong treats liver problems. A study showed that kangkong benefits the health by helping treat jaundice and protecting against cell necrosis (cell destruction), liver lesions and inflammation
- The leaves treat diabetes.
- Kangkong can be used as a sedative to promote relaxation and sleep, especially for those who suffer from insomnia.
- Kangkong treats ulcer. It has flavonoids responsible for increasing production of protective mucus which covers body organs and protects from lesions such as in ulcer
Benefits of kangkong during pregnancy
Kangkong is a great vegetable to be regularly eaten by pregnant women because of its benefits that can be used to treat different conditions and illnesses mentioned above without resorting to the use of medication.
The juice from boiling the leaves or the fiber from eating the leaves help relieve constipation, a common pregnancy symptom.
A steady diet of kangkong during pregnancy may also potentially protect both mother and child from diabetes. This is a wonderful kangkong benefit for those at risk of gestational diabetes.
Superstitions Surrounding Kangkong
There are whispers that kangkong will cause certain conditions, like weak legs or varicose veins. Apparently, there are cultures that believe pregnant woman will imbibe the hollow quality of kangkong stalks. However, there is no scientific evidence linking kangkong consumption to having weak or tired legs.
The truth is, varicose veins usually become part and parcel of a woman’s pregnancy. The growth of the uterus puts pressure on the inferior vena cava which then results in more pressure on leg veins.
The more weight a woman puts on during pregnancy, the more pregnancies she has, or the more babies she carries (multiple births) can all aggravate this condition. Standing for long periods of time will also not help.
Thanks to its calcium content, kangkong benefits pregnant women by keeping their bones strong and their teeth intact during pregnancy, when baby’s tap their mothers’ resources.
Side Effects, Cautions and Warnings
Kangkong is generally considered safe for consumption by anyone, pregnant and child. However, there is always that issue of how and where it was grown.
Some health buffs encourage consumption of upland kangkong, a variety of water spinach with narrow and more veiny leaves, over the more aquatic lowland variety (with broader leaves) due to possible contamination from floods inherent in the country.
To also rid them of possible pesticides, kangkong, just like other vegetables, can be soaked in either a water-salt or water-baking soda solution for around 30 minutes.
Of course, those grown in and sold by organic farms or ones you grow yourself will certainly require less care. Kangkong, when eaten raw, may also transmit an intestinal fluke parasite (Fasciolopsis buski).
As an extra precaution, everyone must wash aquatic plants carefully and cook them thoroughly. Lastly, as water spinach may also lower blood sugar levels. Consultation with one’s doctor may be necessary for those taking diabetic drugs.
Thankfully, kangkong is a hardy plant that is easy to cultivate, making it readily available for home cooking.
Combined and rotated with other vegetables, it should provide a mother with all the calcium and iron stores she needs to grow her fetus. Those who are not fond of chomping on leafy vegetables can freely combine this with other vegetables and fruits in season in a slow-masticating juicer to provide potent nutrition daily.
FNRI (Food and Nutrition Research Institute) recommends the consumption of two to three servings of vegetables daily. At least one from either green leafy vegetables or yellow vegetables.
A serving is 1/2 cup cooked kangkong or 45 grams. It provides: proteins, calcium, phosphorus, iron, beta-carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid.
Other Names for Kangkong
- Kangkung (Vietnam)
- Kankun,Water spinach (English)
- River spinach
- Water morning glory
- Water convolvulus,
- Chinese spinach
- Swamp cabbage
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