Alugbati or Red vine spinach

2013-09-03 18.27.44

Freshly picked from backyard vegetable garden

Basella alba, or Malabar spinachMalabar nightshadeAlugbati or Alabati in Philippines, (also Phooi leafRed vine spinachCreeping spinachClimbing spinachIndian spinachPhilippine SpinachAsian Spinach) is a perennial vine found in the tropics where it is widely used as a leaf vegetable.


Basella alba is a fast-growing, soft-stemmed vine, reaching 10 metres (33 ft) in length. Its thick, semi-succulent, heart-shaped leaves have a mild flavour and mucilaginous texture. The stem of the cultivar Basella alba ‘Rubra’ is reddish-purple.


Alugbati is known by many names including malabar, vine spinach, arogbati, dundul and grana. It is a vegetable found in the Philippines, Asia, Africa and Malaya, and has medicinal purposes that includes it being used as treatment for headaches, constipation, inflammation and ulcers. Alugbati also offers many health benefits with the nutrients it contains. Try alugbati in place of traditional spinach in salads or on sandwiches instead of lettuce.

Fat and Calories

Eating foods that are low in fat and calories help you to control your weight; vegetables are a good option because they fill you up, but don’t contain a lot of either. Incorporating vegetables, alugbati included, into your diet can help you lose weight. A cup of alugbati has just 10 calories and less than .5 g of fat.

Vitamin A

The daily intake recommendations for vitamin A are 2,310 IU for women and 3,000 IU for men. With 510 IU per cup, eating alugbati is a good way to reach your RDI. Vitamin A is important for your immune system, creating white blood cells which battle bacteria and viruses. Your reproductive system, vision and bone health also rely on an adequate intake of vitamin A.


Many leafy green vegetables contain calcium and make a healthy alternative source of this mineral for people who cannot tolerate dairy products. Alugbati has 55 mg of calcium per cup. Calcium keeps your bones and teeth strong and is involved in muscle, nerve and hormone function. A deficiency increases your risk of developing osteoporosis; most adults should get 1,000 to 1,200 mg per day.


The daily intake recommendation for potassium is 2,000 mg. One cup of alugbati contains 113 mg. Potassium helps regulate your blood pressure, aids in muscle and bone contraction and plays a role in digestion. A deficiency can result in muscle cramps, weakness and an irregular heartbeat.

Folic Acid

Folic acid, also called folate, is one of the B vitamins and is critical for women of childbearing age because it helps to prevent neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida. It is also involved in the creation of new cells, heart health and cancer prevention. The daily intake recommendations are 400 mcg for men and women, but many doctors recommend more during pregnancy and breastfeeding. One cup of alugbati contains 50 mcg of folic acid.


Love to put it in Ensaladas. Blanch a batch of Alugbati leaves then drain, dice tomatoes, shallots, chili peppers and toss everything in a bowl. Add in a tablespoon of Apple Cider vinegar and some shrimp paste. Mix it together. You’ve got your Alugbati Ensalada 🙂 it goes well with fried fish. Happy Eating!



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