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A bowl of tinola made with ginger, malunggay leaves, and chayote

The Miracle Vegetable: 6 Malunggay Benefits for Your Health

If you’re used to thinking of these tiny leaves as just a secondary ingredient, you may be surprised to learn about the numerous malunggay benefits for the body. The ubiquitous tree does more than add color to your soups and stews. It helps take care of your skin, eyes, and even heart.

Keep scrolling to find out what these benefits are. Plus, fun suggestions on ways that you can add malunggay to your meals.

Increase Antioxidant Levels

An Asian family playing in the sun together at the park

When you are exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation, you produce more free radicals. While these compounds occur naturally and are therefore unavoidable, too much can play a role in heart diseases, cancer, and other illnesses.

Antioxidants are molecules that help protect your cells against free radical damage. While your body produces antioxidants on its own, it doesn't hurt to consume a little more.

Malunggay is rich in antioxidant-laden nutrients, like Vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin, and chlorogenic acid.

May Help Lower Blood Sugar

Science is still making breakthroughs on the malunggay benefits on human blood sugar levels. However, the results have been promising so far.

According to the paper "Roles of Chlorogenic Acid on Regulating Glucose and Lipids Metabolism: A Review," chlorogenic acid, which is present in malunggay, could help stabilize blood sugar levels. It also encourages better sugar processing and affects how the body releases insulin.

May Help Reduce Inflammation

When you get hurt or have an infection, your body gets inflamed as part of its response to deal with the issue. While this is natural, there are many side effects to long periods of inflammation, including heart disease and cancer.

The isothiocyanates found in the leaves, seeds, and pods of malunggay may inhibit inflammation, reducing your risk of related illnesses.   

May Help Lower Bad Cholesterol Levels

Having some amount of cholesterol in the body is perfectly fine. After all, your body uses it to build cells and produce vitamins. However, too much can clog your arteries, making it difficult for your blood to flow freely.

One of the many malunggay benefits is that it can help reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood, lowering your risk of developing heart diseases.

Good for Liver Health

Another great benefit of malunggay is that it can protect against liver damage, and it may even be able to reduce existing damage. These leaves have a high concentration of polyphenols, which increase the protein levels in the liver.

Malunggay can also restore the enzymes that allow the liver to fulfill its functions of blood detoxification, bile production, fat metabolism, and nutrient processing.

Better Nutrition for Your Family

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Malunggay leaves are tasty and also packed with nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B6, and folate. They also have a lot of amino acids, which are necessary to help your body function properly.

Nutrition is a very vital aspect of your well-being and your family's. When you have proper nutrition and a balanced diet, you help your body stay healthy. Adding natural ingredients such as malunggay is an easy way to do that, as well as getting enough exercise.

According to the DOST-FNRI Expanded National Nutrition Survey of 2020, undernourishment is prevalent for children under five. A lack of proper nutrition keeps kids from reaching their full potential, making your responsibility as parents and caregivers to focus on balanced meals crucial.

Knorr recognizes this problem and has two flagship nutrition education programs in its fight against malnutrition. They aim to educate moms and kids so they can eat and live better.

How to Prepare Malunggay

A bowl of clear soup filled with carrots, malunggay, tomatoes, and lettuce

While tinola is a dish that's become iconic with malunggay, you can also add this leafy vegetable to other soups, including meatless monggo. It can also serve as stuffing for certain dishes, like relleno or dumplings, or maybe as part of a side salad. It helps that malunggay doesn’t have a very bold flavor, making it pair well with many other ingredients.

If you don’t mind the mild bitterness of malunggay, you can turn it into a healthy, earthy tea or mix it in your morning smoothie or shake.

If you need an easy way to get malunggay benefits into your meals, mix it with kalabasa, ground pork, string beans, and Knorr Ginataang Gulay Recipe Mix fortified with calcium to support healthy bones and teeth. It's a delicious and nutritious dish that could be the centerpiece of your Sunday lunch.

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