Mankai Duckweed: The Next Superfood?

Mankai Duckweed: The Next Superfood?

A few years back the latest superfood had the ability to cannibalise our lives. Remember a few years back when kale was enjoying its moment and popped up at juice bars as the way to start your morning, or when it was deep-fried and disguised as chips or even when beauty brands added it to your face cream? While most of us are more attuned to the benefits and limitations of so-called superfoods these days, celery farmers are definitely doing higher than average trade this year after celery juice was dubbed the latest health trend for 2019. 

While kale, blueberries and celery are well known and relatively easy to get hold of, it’s unlikely that you’ve heard of the newest superfood: mankai duckweed. It’s not the most elegant of names, but according to Israeli researchers it has impressive benefits.

So, what is mankai duckweed? Mankai is a protein-rich, aquatic plant strain of duckweed, which has been served up on dinner tables in Southeast Asia for centuries where it is commonly known as the ‘vegetable meatball’. Duckweed has the same protein profile as eggs and contains the nine essential amino acids. The mankai strain is particularly rich in iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B complex and vitamin B12.

The small study by Ben Gurion University of the Negev, compared the benefits of slurping on a mankai duckweed shake to a yoghurt shake and found that the former helps to lower your glucose levels. Previous research published in Clinical Nutrition found that mankai duckweed has the same amount of high quality protein as soft cheese and peas and pinpointed the plant as a unique source of vitamin B12. 

Perhaps what gives mankai the edge over kale and celery is that it is virtually tasteless and odourless,so you can reap the rewards and it is pretty much undetectable. And, it’s relatively sustainable as you only need a small amount of mankai duckweed compared to soy, kale and spinach, and it can be grown year round.

It’s not surprising that the cafeteria at Harvard University is already serving up mankai shakes. Until the superfood comes to your local juice bar, you could add a spoonful of Aduna’s Moringa Green Superleaf Powder to your morning coffee or smoothie. If you’d rather slather a superfood onto your skin, it’s worth exploring PHB Ethical Beauty’s dedicated Superfood range, which includes some of the buzziest ingredients in the dreamiest textures, including the cult hero, Superfood Brightening Serum.