Longevity spinach is a leafy vegetable relatively unknown in the United States until recently. The health benefits and hardy growth characteristics make longevity spinach an easy go-to addition to salads, tea, or simply a quick healthy snack.
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is just as important as ever, and the leafy green vegetable plays a vital role in the pursuit of a healthy life.
What is Longevity Spinach
Longevity Spinach, also called Gynura Procumbens, Moluccan spinach, Daun dewa, and Sambung nyawa, is a semi-succulent leaf vegetable that originated in China, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
A few other common names for longevity spinach is Sabungai or Sambung Nyawa. It’s also referred to as the all-green cousin of the Okinawa spinach.
The plant grows in the wild but can also make a great houseplant. The leaves of longevity spinach include incredible medicinal value, tons of nutrients and flavonoids, and have gained popularity in recent years.
Longevity spinach is a tender plant that can be eaten with fresh salads, soups, stir-fries, smoothies, and tea. When cooked, the leaves are viscous and will thicken sauces and stews, much like okra.
The taste is similar to normal spinach, but the leaves are slightly fuzzy, smooth, and fleshy, with a greenish upper side and purplish underneath. The width of the leaves are commonly 3 to 8 centimeters in diameter.
Longevity spinach, or, longevity greens, is also known by its scientific name Gynura Procumbens. It comes from the asteraceae plant family and falls under the Gynura genus.
The leafy superfood has almost as many names as it does health benefits. In Asian countries around China, Gynura Procumbens is called Bai Bing Cao, meaning “100 ailments.” In Malay, it’s called Sambung Nyawa, or “prolongation of life.”
Longevity Spinach Benefits
Some people refer to longevity spinach as Leaves of the Gods, and there’s a good reason. Research shows longevity spinach lowers blood sugar levels and fights high cholesterol in the body.
Its ethanol extract in the leaves contributes to anti-hyperlipidemic effects and lowers high blood pressure. In Asia, it’s been one of the most popular medicinal plants for generations for the treatment of infections, inflammation, and rheumatism.
The strong anti-inflammatory properties of the longevity spinach plant are well known, and its ability to reduce type 2 diabetes has been documented by scientific research.
More Benefits of Longevity Spinach
A few more important benefits to longevity spinach are its many bioactive constituents, steroids, and alkaloids.
The plant is autotrophic, manufacturing both nutritious and organic complex compounds, including carbon dioxide and nitrates.
By helping to dilate the blood vessels from an increase in nitric oxide production, the longevity spinach leaves can prevent hypertension, and promote profound heart and vascular health.
It’s also known to boost the immune system and its anti-cancer effects promote long-term wellness.
With no severe side effects unless you are allergic to a particular vegetable, the longevity spinach benefits make it a power food you don’t want to forget.
Longevity Spinach Uses
- Reduce inflammation and rheumatism
- A cure for kidney discomfort
- Treatment for fever
- Treatment for uterine cancer and chronic skin ulcers
- Treatment for heart and liver disease
- Used to increase blood flow, and fight off harmful cancer cells
- Used in tea, candy, chewing gum, chocolate, and coffee powder
- Used in hand sanitizer, skin creams, facial masks, and hand-washing solution
- Prevention of renal disease
- Used as a natural antioxidant
- Served in salads and soups to reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure
- Used to promote wound healing
- Used as a fertility enhancement
- Regulates blood sugar levels in diabetics
How to Grow Longevity Spinach
The longevity spinach plant is simple to grow and makes a great addition to any garden or greenhouse.
Planting and growing longevity spinach is possible in the shade, partial shade, or full sun. The low-growing plant does especially well in warm climates during the summer months.
If planted in winter climates, growth slows and will stop completely from a hard freeze. But in the early spring, new growth at the root system of the plant is quickly regenerated.
The plant is usually less than one foot high, but the width can be several feet as the vines spread along the ground. Healthy, rooted 8 to 10-inch Longevity plants can be purchased on Amazon for around $15 to $20 each.
During the spring season, the plant goes through a flowering cycle when the young leaves begin to sprout, and the plant is covered in orange blooms.
Caring for Your Longevity Spinach Plant
To care for your growing longevity spinach plant, simply harvest the leaves when they are ready, and the plant will not spread beyond its contained area. If you notice the leaves turning yellow, it’s a sign of nitrogen deficiency.
Just add nitrogen-rich fertilizer such as blood meal or fish fertilizer or a quality organic fertilizer. As your plant begins to perk up, fertilize every 3 to 4 months. With a soil type that’s fertilized, your plant will continue to grow healthy and strong.
There are a few pests attracted to the longevity spinach plant including slugs, spider mites, and aphids. Check the leaves for traces of these intruders, and remove them as soon as possible.
Should I Try Longevity Spinach?
I don’t have much diet advice, but if I were to start somewhere, it would be to make healthy food super accessible, quick, and easy to consume daily.
Junk food and snacks all have one thing in common. They are available immediately and require zero preparation.
In today’s busy world, we often reach for what’s quickly available to eat rather than what’s the healthiest option.
There’s also something burned in many people’s brains that healthy eating requires too much work. Who wants to spend every weekend driving across town to the local farmer’s market for dozens of fresh veggie ingredients?
The compounding effects of good decision-making regarding your personal health and well-being cannot be understated.
Exercise, quality sleep, yoga, breathwork, and weights will get you a long way, but a solid diet is also vital. I would highly recommend adding leafy longevity greens such as longevity spinach to your daily routine.
The Ultimate Snack
I wouldn’t feel very good about making spinach my favorite daily on-the-go snack unless it had profound health benefits.
Let’s compare a handful of cool spinach to a bag of chips. If you can imagine, this is a choice many people make almost every day.
Over the long-term, one single choice each day between chips or a handful of spinach has the potential to create a snowball effect of positive health benefits.
I try to focus on finding a powerful combination between fresh, healthy vegetables and readily available, grab-on-the-go snacks. For some reason, spinach has risen to the top as my go-to favorite.
It’s pretty amazing to stack this choice side-by-side. A decision that’s made in a split second can compound every day and develop into a valuable health habit.
It’s these small habits that really create our life over the long term. (Check out the great book ‘Atomic Habits’ if you haven’t already)
What’s Your Favorite Snack?
One of my favorite all-time snacks is spinach. I love spinach. People think I’m crazy when I tell them, but it’s true.
Perhaps you develop a taste and a preference for spinach the more you eat, but it’s delicious.
There are so many ways to enjoy spinach. The typical assumption is that a salad is required, but that can’t be further from the truth.
Most days, I’m eating regular spinach while I’m simply passing through my kitchen. I’ll grab a handful right out of the refrigerator and keep moving with my day.
The fact that spinach contains essential nutrients and is super simple to consume makes it a great go-to snack.
Eating leafy greens may be considered a hassle because people think they need to prepare a salad, but if you make healthy food quickly accessible and hassle-free, then the odds increase of making it a daily habit.
Whether it’s the health perks and medicinal qualities, or just the taste of a great snack, spinach is one of the best foods out there.