Surprisingly nutritious kangkung

Kangkung is one of those vegetables on a Malaysian menu that most of us take for granted…not anymore!

Kangkung (Ipomoea aquatic) or water spinach as it’s known in the Western world is a plant that is grown and cultivated widely in East, South and Southeast Asia. A staple vegetable in South East Asian cooking, kangkung packs a surprisingly nutritious punch!

  • 39 percent of our recommended daily requirement of Vitamin A can be found in just 100 grams of raw kangkung.
  • In Sri Lanka’s wetlands, kangkung stems tangle together and form mats which block water flow and prevent boats from passing through.
  • Kangkung is not confined to growing in the tropics. As long as it has enough water and lots of sunshine, it’ll easily grow roots from cuttings.
  • 1/5 of our daily intake of magnesium can be found in 100 grams of raw kangkung.
  • There are many ways to enjoy kangkung:
    • Stir fry with garlic (popular in Chinese cooking), deep fry with batter (crispy kangkong in the Philippines eaten as an appetiser), boil in soup (with fish or chicken in Cambodia), or finely chopped and mixed with grated coconut (Keralan dish).
  • Remember to cook kangkung thoroughly because it might harbour Fasciolopsis buski, a parasitic intestinal fluke that could cause indigestion, allergic reactions and abdominal pain.
  • 100 grams of raw kangkung contains 66 percent of our recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.
  • Lab studies on pregnant, diabetes-induced rats showed that kangkung lowered blood sugar by inhibiting the intestine from absorbing the glucose. More research in this field is needed to ensure its efficacy for humans.

Reference: The Star Online; USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

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