Kangkong Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts
What is Kangkong?
Kangkong is the Asian-originated name for what in English is known as water spinach, a leafy green water vegetable.
There are various names for kangkong, which is the name common in the Asia-Pacific region. Other names of kangkong are water morning glory, swamp cabbage, river spinach, Chinese spinach and water convolvulus. The scientific name for kangkong is ipomoea Acquatica and the plant is believed to have originated from Asia.
Kangkong or water spinach is a soft-stemmed aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial plant found in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The leaves are flat and vary in shape depending on variety, from heart-shaped to long, narrow and arrow-shaped. The two common varieties of kangkong we grow are the one with green stem that bears white flowers and the one with white stem that bears pink flowers. If the leaves are not harvested early and it flowers, it produces seeds, which can be planted.
In Papua New Guinea, kangkong naturally grows along riverbanks and in swampy areas and lakes. There is not much work or maintenance required in growing kangkong. Kangkong grows roots from the stem's nodes when planted so we don’t grow them from the seeds. It does not have any season and grows all year round, thriving where there is plenty of water and moist soil. It is weather-resistant.
Kangkong can also be a best vegetable to grow at home, provided that its growing conditions are met. Watch the video below about the best tips on growing your own kangkong at home.
How To Grow Kangkong or Water Spinach at Home
Water Spinach Health Benefits
Water spinach (kangkong) leaves are very nutritious, being rich in vitamins and minerals. It is naturally rich in dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C as indicated in the table below.
Young water spinach leaves has been and an excellent leafy green vegetable for people with anaemia and pregnant women who need iron in their diets.
I have not heard of any harmful effects of kangkong apart from its mild laxative effect when eaten a lot on empty stomach. Because of this laxative effect, kangkong is excellent for people suffering from constipation.
Because of its high nutritional value and weather-resistant nature, kangkong or water spinach is a plant that can be grown for food and nutrition for both man and animals. It may be a solution for world hunger and nutrition deficit.
Water Spinach (Kangkong) Nutritional Value
Per 100 g Servince
Other Uses of Kangkong
All parts of the young water spinach plant is edible with the shoot tips and young leaves being the best. Kangkong can be eaten raw or cooked. It is best stir-fried, with the stems being cooked a bit longer than the leaves.
The white-stemmed kangkong is more softer and better than the green-stemmed one. The leaves have a pleasant, mild and sweet flavour and has a slippery feel.
Apart from human consumption, kangkong leaves and stems also serve as food for domesticated animals and fish when grown in lakes.
Delicious Asian Kangkong Recipe Video
Kangkong is a very popular vegetable throughout South-East Asia. If you're in Asia, don't forget to try a kangkong dish. It's a delicacy! There are many varieties of kangkong dishes. My favourite ones are the simple garlic kangkong and garlic kangkong with chili stir-fried.
Raw kangkong preserves most of the nutritional values. The 'baby varieties' of water spinach is nice being eaten raw. Kangkong tastes better when it is not over-cooked.
If you want to try cooking kangkong yourself, I've here's two videos of kangkong recipes. Abodong kangkong recipe originated from the Philippines. There are many varieties of abodong kangkong recipes. You can learn to cook abodong kangkong with ease.
The South-East Asian local delight sambal kangkong is cooked with sambal chilli. There are many varieties of sambal kangkong dishes, too.
Video 2: Sambal Kangkong Recipe
Video 1: Adobong Kangkong Recipe
More Kangkong Recipes
If you want to learn how to cook a delicious Asian kangkong dish, whether it be a simple stir fry kangkong, sambal kangkong or you want to learn how to cook abodong kangkong, here are some links you may wish to check out.
Cooking is a skill. There are no wrong or right way. Once you know the basics, you can improvise. The important thing to note is that kangkong leaves are very soft whilst the stem will need a bit more cooking.
Enjoy your kangkong!
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Do you love kangkong?
The health information on kangkong does not replace or advise medical advice. Seek professional medical advice or a nutritionist for your nutrition needs.
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© 2012 Kejanny