Saluyot, Mouloukhieh or Molokhia (scientific name Corchorus olitorius), is a plant that you may or may not know of, depending on where you come from, and which has several health benefits.
It also goes by several other different names such as Ewedu (Nigeria), Mrenda (Kenya), Egyptian Spinach, jute mallow or Jew's mallow in English, Gemüsejudenpappel or Muskraut in German and many more. These green leaves are commonly used in Middle Eastern as well as African cuisines.
Apart from featuring in many delicious recipes like my Lebanese Molokhia with Chicken recipe, Molokhia leaves have many health benefits. I feature some of these benefits in this article, based on current knowledge and research.
Molokhia leaves contain vitamins A, C, E, and many more. On top of that, they are rich in minerals like iron magnesium, potassium, calcium among others. Additionally, the leaves contain antioxidants and a lot of dietary fibre.
These health benefits have been published in scientific studies as conducted by their Department of Human Development and Family Studies.
Because of all the dietary fiber that Molokhia (Mouloukhieh) contains, it aids in relieving bloating and constipation. It also increases efficiency in the absorption of nutrients. In other words, it makes your digestion run smoothly.
Heart and cardiovascular system
The potassium in Molokhia (Saluyot) leaves relaxes blood vessels and therefore assists in reducing blood pressure levels. In addition to helping with digestive issues, the dietary fibre in them also aids in reducing LDL cholesterol. This, in turn, reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Since the leaves also contain iron they help in the production of red blood cells, which therefore improves the transport of oxygen throughout the body. The increase in circulation will make you feel more energetic. Due to its iron-rich nature, Molokhia also helps combat anaemia.
The minerals in the molokhia leaves assist in the growth of bones and keeping them healthy. Vitamine E is one of the antioxidant agents in Molokhia leaves, which also has anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it aids in preventing arthritic conditions or reduces their effects.
Additionally, the leaves contain vitamins A, C and E which assists to keep your body well protected. While vitamin C stimulates your immune system, vitamins A and E protect your skin and organs through their antioxidant properties. This keeps your body top fit and up for a fight against anything that might weaken it.
Sleep and other general health issues
Here are a few other Molokhia leaves nutritional facts:
- Rich in magnesium which helps fight insomnia and relieve constipation. Magnesium also helps reduce insulin resistance as well as prevent migraines.
- The antioxidant properties are said to lower the risk of cancer.
- Vitamin A is a great benefactor for your eyes' health.
- The leaves have a lot of dietary fiber, which is beneficial for feeling full for longer, without adding extra calories. This way, Molokhia aids in weight loss.
- Molokhia contains Vitamin E, which makes your skin blossom especially after exposure to the sun. - Still, you should not overdo your exposure to the sun.
- The many minerals and vitamins are all required when it comes to growing children. So Molokhia leaves are a favourite with parents who know about them.
Frequntly Asked Questions
The molokhia plant or leaf resembles a cross between mint and nettle leaves, is, however, not related. Stems and leaves range from dark red to dark green in color. It produces yellow flowers, its seeds are found in pods and it develops little or no branches while growing to a height that is approximately 6.6ft to 13ft.
100 g of Molokhia or Mouloukhieh contain:
* 109 kJ or 26 kcal
* 5.8 g carbs
- 2.8 g fibre
- 1.8 g sugar
* 0.1 g fat
* 1.9 g protein
* 2.5 mg iron
* 90.3 mg calcium
* 219 mg potassium
It tastes similar to spinach, but with a slightly bitter after-taste, that you may hardly notice. It also draws strings after cooking, due to its slimy texture.
Molokhia is mucilaginous. This mucilage is made of sugar residues (polysaccharides) and proteins (glycoproteins) which swell in water to create a gel-like mass. This mucilaginous property increases when heat is applied as is the case with cooking, and, the resultant gel is the substance that is mostly responsible for the gut-soothing properties of this vegetable.
Another healthy vegetable that has mucilaginous properties is okra.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article about the health benefits of Molokhia (aka Saluyot or Mouloukhieh)!