Duckweed Nutrition Facts

Duckweed Nutrition Facts and Everything You Need to Know

Plant-based nutrients are attracting the attention of experts and consumers alike.

Remembering its extremely high protein and iron content and the fact that it can provide essential nutrients for humans, Duckweed has been of interest to many researchers who are still trying to find out the application of Duckweed in human life.

Let's understand duckweed nutrition to see the benefits it will bring to us.

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What is Duckweed and Its Key Benefits?

duckweed and its key benefits

Duckweed originates from South and Central America. The scientific name is Lemnoideae.

It is in the same family as the Japanese water hyacinth, strawberry flower, etc. It is a small aquatic plant, 5 - 10mm in size, and floats on the water surface.

There are many benefits of using Duckweed in the food industry, as outlined in the article:

  • Antioxidant Effect: Both duckweed extracts demonstrated strong antioxidant properties in inhibiting lipid peroxidation and scavenging free radicals. [1]
  • Immunomodulatory Effect: Apiogalacturonanic pectin of Duckweed and flavonoids extracted from Duckweed showed immunomodulatory effects in animal and human studies. [1]

Nutritional Value of Duckweed

nutrition fact of duckweed

Protein Content

Research on Duckweed has demonstrated that it contains a significant amount of protein. The protein concentration ranges from 16% to 41.7% on a dry-weight basis. Such high levels of protein make it an important protein source.

Additionally, concentrated protein extracted from Duckweed can have a high crude protein content of up to 64.6%, making it a valuable protein source in diets.[2]

Good Source of Essential Amino Acids

Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins in the body. Duckweed can provide all the essential amino acids required by our bodies.

According to research, it contains all nine essential amino acids and various non-essential amino acids, meeting the WHO recommendations. Moreover, the amino acid composition of Duckweed is well-balanced and highly beneficial for human health.[2]

Fat Content

Providing a beneficial fat content is another good characteristic of Duckweed. It can supply our bodies with polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.

Each of us needs polyunsaturated fatty acids for bodily functions, muscle movement, and supporting the blood process. Thus, Duckweed can help protect against coronary heart disease, promoting a healthy heart. [2]

Carbohydrate Content

Regarding carbohydrate content, Duckweed also contains various types of carbohydrates such as starch, cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin.

Carbohydrates are an essential component for humans to generate energy for activities. Adequate intake of Duckweed can help you stay healthy and energized to start your day effectively. [2]

Minerals and Vitamins

Not mentioning Duckweed as a source of beneficial minerals and vitamins would be a miss. Duckweed contains numerous minerals, such as potassium, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Minerals play a role in cell structure, maintaining the function of teeth, bones, and muscles, as well as nervous system development. [2]

It also contains vitamins such as vitamin B12, E, and carotenoids. These vitamins help provide energy for the body, contributing to overall health. [2]

Starch, Carotenoids and Polyphenols

Duckweed also contains various carbohydrates such as starch, cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin, providing functional properties and nutrients for food. [3]

Aquatic plants, like Duckweed, adapt to freshwater environments with rapid growth and high productivity, accumulating essential human micronutrients like carotenoids. [4]

Polyphenols come in many types, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, stilbenes, and lignans. They are known for their anti-pollution and antibacterial properties and are often considered healthy.

For example, flavonoids, common polyphenols, have been found in Duckweed. These flavonoids, especially luteolin and its derivatives, show potential health benefits with significant antioxidant and anticancer potential. [5]

How Long Does It Take for Duckweed to Work On Human Health?

how long does duckweed take to work

Duckweed can provide a range of health benefits depending on the dosage and duration of consumption.

Studies have shown that consuming Duckweed for 10 days can improve overall health, including increased protein levels, improved blood circulation, and increased energy levels.

However, more research is needed to determine the long-term effects of regular duckweed consumption on human health. [6]

The timeframe for experiencing health benefits from consuming Duckweed can vary depending on individual factors such as diet, overall health, and lifestyle.

Incorporating Duckweed into a balanced diet can improve nutrition and overall well-being over time.

Is Duckweed the Future of Food?

Given its high nutritional value, sustainability, and versatility, Duckweed has the potential to play a significant role in addressing global food security challenges.

Duckweed species, commonly found in the wild, need more nutrition. However, analyzing their metabolite content is essential for potential food development.

Ice cream formulated with dried Duckweed exhibited increased protein, fiber, and ash content with low bacterial levels. These findings suggest that Duckweed could be a valuable future food source. [7]

How to Use Duckweed for Human Health and How Much Is Enough?

Duckweed offers versatility in consumption - fresh, dried, or as a powder. Incorporate it into smoothies, salads, soups, or as a protein supplement.

Fresh Duckweed enhances salads, soups, smoothies, or stir-fries, while dried Duckweed can be powdered for a nutrient boost in recipes.

The typical daily dosage for internal use is 3.10 grams of herb when prepared as a decoction. Alternatively, when consumed as a powder, the recommended daily dosage for internal use ranges from 1 to 2 grams. [1]

Is There Anything You Need To Consider When Using Duckweed?
Duckweed is generally considered a safe herb, with no known serious side effects when used in therapeutic doses. [1]

However, it's vital to be aware that Duckweed contains relatively high levels of calcium oxalate, which could lead to kidney stone formation if consumed excessively. [1]

Moreover, Duckweed has the potential to accumulate toxins from water, so it's crucial to avoid harvesting it from heavily polluted sources. [1]

Additionally, individuals with allergies to aquatic plants should exercise caution when consuming Duckweed.

Conclusion

Duckweed is a nutritious plant with various health benefits, including immunomodulatory effects and potential toxicity at higher concentrations.

Duckweed nutrition facts are rich in protein, essential amino acids, beneficial fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins, starch, carotenoids and polyphenols.

With those benefits, Duckweed promises to be a food source for the future.

References

[1] Ali Esmail Al-Snafi. (2019, August 9). Lemna minor: Traditional Uses, Chemical Constituents and Pharmacological Effects-A Review. ResearchGate; unknown. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335082849_Lemna_minor_Traditional_Uses_Chemical_Constituents_and_Pharmacological_Effects-A_Review
[2] xu, J., Shen, Y., Zheng, Y., & Li, Y. (2021, December 22). Duckweed (Lemnaceae) for potentially nutritious human food: A review. ResearchGate; Taylor & Francis. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/357261606_Duckweed_Lemnaceae_for_potentially_nutritious_human_food_A_review
[3] Duckweed (Lemnaceae) for potentially nutritious human food: A review. (2023). Food Reviews International. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/87559129.2021.2012800
[4] Demmig-Adams, B., López-Pozo, M., Polutchko, S. K., Fourounjian, P., Stewart, J. J., Zenir, M. C., & Adams, W. W. (2022). Growth and Nutritional Quality of Lemnaceae Viewed Comparatively in an Ecological and Evolutionary Context. Plants, 11(2), 145–145. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11020145
[5] Pagliuso, D., Eusebia, C., Grandis, A., Lam, E., José, M., & Marcos Silveira Buckeridge. (2020). Flavonoids from duckweeds: potential applications in the human diet. RSC Advances, 10(73), 44981–44988. https://doi.org/10.1039/d0ra06741e
[6] Guo, L., Fang, Y., Jin, Y., He, K., & Zhao, H. (2023). High starch duckweed biomass production and its highly efficient conversion to bioethanol. Environmental Technology & Innovation, 32, 103296–103296. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eti.2023.103296
[7] Nazariyah Yahaya, Nabila Huda Hamdan, Atiqah Ruqayyah Zabidi, Ammar Mirza Mohamad, Luqman, M., Muhammad, Hanis Nadia Yahya, & Yahya, H. (2022). Duckweed as a future food: Evidence from metabolite profile, nutritional and microbial analyses. Future Foods, 5, 100128–100128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fufo.2022.100128
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Author

Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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