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Red Vine Spinach: Nutritional Benefits

Red Vine Spinach (Basella alba) is a fast-growing, soft-stemmed plant. The leaves are heart shaped, thick and succulent. The mucilaginous plant is very similar to the regular spinach when it comes to taste and grows upto 10 m in length. The reason why it is called “Red Vine Spinach" is because of the reddish purple stem (cultivar Basella alba 'Rubra').

The easy growing plant can be a part of your edible garden, in a region that gets good sunlight and has an organic well drained soil (pH ranging 5 to 8). Take a look at the nutritional benefits of red vine spinach.

Nutritional Benefits Of Red Vine Spinach :

1. The green leafy vegetable is a rich source of vitamins like vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron and Calcium. They are great for salads as they are low in calories and rich in protein.

2. The so called Malabar Spinach is widely used in the southern coast of India as they grow well in humid climatic conditions. The semi succulent plant is high in fiber that helps in fastening digestion process.

3. Since the Red Vine Spinach is fibrous it is used to thicken soups and raitas. The spinach, garlic and chili is a common combination in all the recipes of the Malabar region.

4. Even in the north east part of India (Bengal), the malabar spinach is particularly used while cooking Hilsa fish and in the Bangladesh cuisine, the mucilaginous plant plays an important role while preparing some tasty fish delicacies.

5. In Orissa, the spinach is used to make Curries and Saaga and in Maharashtra it is reserved for making delicious bhajis.

6. In Andhra Pradesh, tasty Kanda Bachali Koora (the Yam and Basella curry) is very popular and spicy. While the Kannadigas prepare tasty rasams, sambars and yogurt salads with special spinach variety (Basale soppu in kannada). Just simply chewing the leaves is also said to give a quick relief from mouth ulcer.

7. Not just India, but many other Asian countries widely use the spinach variety in their culinary. It's popularly called the flowing water vegetable and is an all time available vegetable in many Chinese/Vietnamese/Korean grocery stores, as well as markets. In Vietnam, particularly in the north, basella leaves is cooked with crab meat, luffa and jute for soups. Many African countries also use the spinach shoots in their cooking.

Story first published: Tuesday, June 21, 2011, 12:30 [IST]
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