Mankai Duckweed: What Are Its Benefits?

Mankai duckweed has a high content in high-quality protein. Can it replace meat in a vegan diet? We'll take a look.
Mankai Duckweed: What Are Its Benefits?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 12 June, 2023

Duckweed is a group of aquatic plants that may have certain health benefits. They’re plant-based foods with a high protein content, which is why they have been nicknamed “vegetable meatballs”. On this occasion, we’ll talk about one variety in particular, which is the Mankai duckweed.

The consumption of sea vegetables or algae has increased a lot in recent years. It’s common to find people who frequently eat them on their own or incorporate them into their culinary preparations.

It’s an oriental custom that’s gradually spreading to Western countries as well. The variety we’re going to talk about today, Mankai duckweed, originates from Israel.

Nutritional properties of Mankai duckweed

From a nutritional point of view, Mankai duckweed stands out for its protein content. Despite not having digestibility values similar to those of animal proteins, these nutrients have all the essential amino acids, which differentiates them from other vegetable proteins. In fact, some scientific studies postulate it as a possible substitute for meat, as it also provides vitamin B12.

In addition, Mankai duckweed is also a source of micronutrients such as iron, iodine, and zinc. Adding it to some human diets improves red blood cell parameters, which could help to combat anemia.

Finally, special mention should be made of its fiber content. This substance isn’t digestible, although it is fermentable in the intestine. It stimulates peristalsis and is key to ensuring the proper functioning of the digestive tract.

This fiber is very useful for the intestinal microbiota. A 2021 in vitro study found that Mankai lentil modulates the bacteria present in the colon, which take advantage of the substance to produce beneficial compounds not only in the gut, but also in the overall metabolism of the body.

Benefits for the body

Next, let’s discuss the benefits of regular consumption of Mankai duckweed. What does the science say about it?

Mankai duckweed and diabetes.
In people with metabolic problems, such as diabetes mellitus, consumption of duckweed may be beneficial.

1. Improves glycemic control

According to research published in the journal Diabetes Care , duckweed is a useful food to help lower the glycemic index after meals. This proves to be an essential contribution when the goal is to improve diabetes control.

2. Increases satiety

People who used the seaweed preparation in the aforementioned research also reached postprandial fullness sooner. This is feeling full with less intake, which would reduce subsequent calorie consumption and contribute to the reduction of body weight.

Mankai duckweed has a significant amount of fiber, as mentioned above. This substance increases the feeling of satiety, as stated in the study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

This is why its regular consumption reduces the risk of snacking between meals.

3. Helps prevent thyroid problems

Like many other kinds of seafood, Mankai duckweed has a high iodine content. This nutrient has been shown to be key in regulating the functioning of the thyroid gland, preventing the development of associated pathologies.

Despite this fact, special care should be taken with the amount of seaweed ingested. An excess would lead to the opposite effect. According to clinical case reports, people who abuse sea vegetables may develop hyperthyroidism.

4. Reduces the risk of anemia

Mankai duckweed is a very suitable food to introduce in the context of a vegan diet, as it’s a source of vitamin B12 and iron. It would complement the diet and prevent a progression towards anemia. Even in people who already have the disease, the algae has been shown to be an adjuvant for treatment.

Commercial presentations and recipes for Mankai duckweed

This food is available in specialized stores, usually in powdered form. It can be used to make shakes, energy bars, or bread. You can also prepare infusions and add it to salads.

Mankai duckweed.
There are several preparations of Mankai duckweed that can be found on the market and that will help you to elaborate more recipes.


For the preparation of a smoothie with duckweed, it’s best to combine several green vegetables with water. It’s possible to include spirulina, spinach, carrots, and spinach in the recipe. Everything is beaten until obtaining a semi-liquid texture.


There are two ways of introducing duckweed into the dish. Either as an extra ingredient, in the same way as other vegetables, or by acquiring a paste which has been made from the powder of the food. However, there are few stores where such a paste is available.

Mankai duckweed is a food to incorporate

Mankai duckweed is a suitable food for a healthy diet; it’s perfect to introduce in the context of a balanced diet. However, it’s rarely consumed in Western countries, as it’s only available in specialized stores or on the Internet.

Even so, it’s a good option for those who follow a vegan diet, as it helps you to increase the daily intake of vitamin B12. With this strategy, the risk of anemia is significantly reduced.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.