Purslane contains two types of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The former is common in herbal sources, but research shows that Purslane is exceptionally high in ALA. "Purslane has the highest levels of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for human nutrition, compared to leafy green vegetables," said a report with five to seven times more ALA than spinach leaves.
Perhaps more notably, however, purslane's trace levels of EPA are: this fatty acid is more bioavailable in the body, but it is not as common in plants grown on land (usually found in fatty cold water fish or algae).
Aside from omega-3s, Purslane is also packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C and B, as well as potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. It also contains beta-carotene and glutathione – two phytochemicals with incredible anti-inflammatory properties. Purslane can grow in harsher conditions (like very salty, stripped soils, one study shows), which may explain its exposure to antioxidants – as experts say, plants that survive under stress produce prime defense phytochemicals (i.e., bright colors) for longevity .
OK, so you're sold on Purslane. But how do you incorporate it into your meals? The weed has an earthy, slightly sour taste – similar to watercress, as many find. It's thin and leafy – great for garnishing salads and soups for a touch of flavor, or you can even top it on tacos for a few extra greens. You can sauté the weeds, but be careful not to cook the thin stems for too long as they will wither pretty quickly.