The multivitamin industry is huge. As you age multivitamins are preferably suggested by doctors. However, that is a synthetic way to consume the essential nutrients. Like me if you too are a believer that synthetic vitamins do not perform the same functions in your body as vitamins found naturally in whole food. Well then ! nature has a wholesome plant enrich in various vitamins and minerals that can offer a lot more benefits. The lucky seven, in our series #SacredIndianHerbs is Basella, the natural multivitamin supplement.
Scientific name: Basella Alba / Basella Rubra
English name: Malabar Spinach
Common name: Poi, Upodika
Basella is a fast-growing plant and a soft-stemmed creeping vine of 10 feet length. The oval to heart-shaped leaves are thick that prefers hot and humid climate to flourish. It bears deep purple fruit with black and spherical seeds. It prefers warm climate and well-drained soils. Two varieties of Basella has been discovered, Basella alba with green stems and deep green leaves, and Basella rubra with purple stems and green leaves with pink veins. Basella alba is the most common one but both have similar health benefits. Being an annual plant, it grows during the summers and die out in winters. The leaves can be dried or preserved in refrigerator to derive the benefits whole year from Basella.
Basella: A low calorie and high nutrient rich diet
Vitamins and minerals are the essential building blocks of the body to keep us in a good health. We were mostly dependent on our staple food to gain them. But now for most people, we don’t get enough nutrients from diet alone as our food has become less nutritious. It has been found that the deterioration in our food quality is because of the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers that has the limit the action of plants to draw in nutrients. Also we refine and process our food to make it taste better and last longer. In this process we destroy the vital nutrients in them. And reasons like illness, pregnancy, poor digestion may further add to vitamins deficiency. Therefore supplementing vitamins becomes crucial.
So we start taking synthetic vitamins to compensate the daily required value of nutrients for the body. But, according to some studies, synthetic nutrients are not effective as that of natural ones and may have side effects such as liver damage, bloating, nausea, and stomach upset when used in long term therapeutic dosages. For instance, Vitamin E naturally present in vegetable oils or other sources is in d-form. While the synthetic one constitute in dl-form. The interesting fact is that our body uses only the d-form and the l-form is normally excreted by the body. So, when we take synthetic vitamin E, we are actually gaining the half the dosage than it is labelled on it.
Nature has provided us with a balanced and complexed bioavailability unlike synthetic vitamins. Basella is one of them which is rich in vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B-complex, Vitamin C and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper, sodium, calcium etc; compounds necessary for healthy functioning of the body. It supports the normal functioning of the body. As they provide natural source of vitamins and minerals, they have a better idea what to do with the body and are easily recognized by the body as whole foods. Hence, Basella is a great source for curing malnutrition and various illness caused by deficiency of any of these essential nutrients. Let us take a quick glance what these nutrients do to our body.
Vitamin A - Responsible for maintaining eyesight, growth, immunity, and maintenance of healthy skin and hair.
Vitamin B - Promotes tissue growth and repair of the cells and processes foods to the energy.
Vitamin C - Makes the skin, bones, cartilage, gums, blood vessels healthy, promotes production of collagen and fights against infections.
Vitamin E - Protects the body tissues from oxidative damage by keeping the membranes around cells healthy. Hence, a natural antioxidant that also aids in healing scarred skin tissues.
Vitamin K - Responsible for blood clotting and hence stops bleeding when necessary.
Calcium - Helps to make the bones strong.
Magnesium - Aids in muscle and nerve function
Iodine - Aids in thyroid gland and brain function.
Iron - Promotes red blood cell function.
Zinc - Promotes wound healing and eliminates cholesterol deposits.
Potassium - Maintains the body’s fluid balance, blood pressure, heartbeat and nerve impulses.
Copper - Facilitates iron absorption and promotes protein metabolism.
How to consume basella
The green leaves of basella can be eaten raw or in the form of salad with a tinge of salt and lemon over it. Moreover, you can also steam or boil them like cooked spinach and can also be added to soups.
Making basella leaves pakora: Everyone likes to munch in the evening either with tea or alone. Here’s the best recipe for you for your everyday evening snack with high nutritive value - Basella Leaves Pakora. You can make these pakoras by mixing the leaves with gram flour and then deep frying them in mustard/sesame oil. It is a more prevalent dish of Bengal which can also be made by adding potatoes to these poi leaves.
Stay healthy and try to make your health better by exercising the use of basella leaves. In this way natural sources will turn into a blessing for us !