Malavar (Malabar)

Malavar (Malabar)

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Botanical Name

Basella Alba

Common Name

Red Vine Spinach, Climbing Spinach, Creeping Spinach, Ceylon Spinach

What is Malavar?

This plant is a perennial vine which belongs to the Basellaceae family. It can be found growing well in continents like Asia and Africa where it is often consumed as a leaf vegetable. However, it can also be spotted growing in other places like Brazil, Colombia, in the West Indies and even in Fiji. Its dark green leaves can be found growing as a vine rather than as a bush and the texture is also slightly different in comparison with regular spinach. This leafy plant is often cooked before consumption and is renowned for its high medicinal properties.

Benefits of Malavar

So why does it make sense to add this leafy vegetable to your diet? Firstly, Malabar spinach is very low in calories and is very rich in fiber. It has an ample presence of Vitamin B9 or folate which aids in the proper functioning of the brain. This vitamin is actually extremely important in supporting a person’s mental and emotional health, is an important factor in the production of further DNA strands in the body and also helps in breaking down carbohydrates effectively. Malabar spinach is also an excellent source of Vitamin A and a single serving provides more than 80% of the RDA for an adult. So, Popeye may actually have been on to something by ensuring that he got his meal of spinach every day! Anemia is a cause of concern that often goes undetected but by including this form of spinach in your diet, you give your body a healthy dose of natural iron supplements every day. Iron doesn’t just make your cheeks flow with health, in fact it also helps the body make more red blood cells and these play the prime role of making sure that oxygen reaches every part of the body evenly. As with all green leafy vegetables, Malabar spinach too has plenty of antioxidants such as lutein and talinum which play an important role in reducing the chances of cell damage in the body due to toxins and free radicals.

How to consume Malavar

If you would like your cup of spinach to retain its original flavor and crunch, then we recommend lightly stir-frying it so that it doesn’t lose its texture. Spinach is such a versatile vegetable that it can be used in dishes that need to be baked and even added to a pasta made for the kids. In fact, pureed spinach can even be added to cake batter and then baked as cupcakes. We admit it’s rather sneaky but it’s also a clever way to get some iron into your child’s diet without much effort! Raw spinach leaves are best avoided although they can be used in combination with other ingredients to make an antioxidant rich smoothie which tastes good too. However, avoid overcooking the leaves as that could impact the water soluble vitamins found in spinach.