Discover the benefits of Spinach

Popeye – the Sailor man takes you to nostalgia when your momma must have convinced you to eat the green leafy spinach so that you can become as strong as Popeye. Though the adventure of how the lean sailorman after eating spinach becomes stronger than his double sized villain to save Olive was a cartoon depiction, but the benefits of spinach cannot be denied.

Let’s know more about the leafy vegetable

Spinach comes from the Amaranthaceous family where Swiss chard and beets also found. The green leafy spinach is full of nutrients and hence it is also sometimes known super food.

You can find spinach leaves in different sizes and they can vary from being triangle to ovate and also simple to alternate at times. Spinach is a flowering plant but its yellow green colored flowers become dry and hard when they mature.

Mainly three types of spinach are available namely flat, savoy and semi-savoy. Flat spinach is mainly popular in the name of smooth-leaf spinach as its leaves are smooth and broad so that you can clean them easily. You can get this spinach quite often and they are also available in frozen or canned form. This form of spinach makes a great food for babies.

Very commonly available dark green leaved spinach in the US super market is the savoy spinach. The leaves of this spinach are curly and crinkly. Bloomsdale is another variety in this form that tends to change its flavor.

Similar to the savoy spinach, semi-savoy also has crinkly leaves but they are much easier to clean. Semi-savoy is not only available in fresh markets but also is used in processing.

The history of Spinach

Basically, Spinach is from the southwestern and Central Asia, but it expanded soon when the king of Nepal gifted the leaves to China. After this the whole world welcomed the goodness of spinach and at present Netherlands and US is known to be the highest producers of leaves.

There are a lot of interesting stories related to Spinach. One of them can be dates as old as in the 16th century when the wife of Henry II, Catherine de Medici from Florence brought Italian chefs to France. The French chefs offered Catherine spinach in the same way that they learnt from the Italians. The dish prepared was called ‘a la Florentine’.

The benefits of Spinach were known even during the World War I. This was the reason why the soldiers were provided wine infused with spinach juice to make them recover from hemorrhage.

The benefits of spinach were by now already known by the grownups, but the difficult task was with the kids. This was also solved out when Popeye the sailor man came up with his canned spinach to gain muscle power to crush the villains and save Olive.

Again there is a story about how the concept of Popeye came up. The German scientist Emil Von Wolff in the year 1870 somehow misplaces a few decimals here and there and the iron value of spinach was shown 10 times more than its originality. The correction was made in the year 1930 and then it was revealed that Popeye gained vitamin A from spinach and not irons.

No matter what the confusion was, but the good news was that children started eating spinach and this was noticed in the 2010 research. As per a study, the Popeye show has increased the sale of spinach much than before.

The nutritional values of Spinach

Spinach is said to be super food because it is said to have almost all the nutrients that you need such as vitamin A, B, C and E. It has been measured that one cup of spinach contains 200% of vitamin K that can still remains till 100% if the spinach is boiled.

Not only vitamins, spinach is also rich in carotenoids and flavonoids that have antioxidant benefits to reduce health issues such as stress. It also benefits as an anti-inflammatory agent. The green leaves are also a powerhouse of other nutrients such as iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium, copper, folic acid, protein, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, omega 3 and niacin.

In a recent study, it has been found that peptide rubiscolin is also an important element in spinach. As per the researchers, rubiscolin hold on you opioid receptors that make spinach an antidepressant. The leaves are also rich in Glycoglycerolipids that helps in protecting the digestive tract from various problems.

In a study it was found that among as many as 9 green vegetables, spinach is the most beneficial in protecting someone against prostate cancer. May be this is because spinach provides much more nutrient values that any other green vegetables available.

Nutrition list available in Spinach

As mentioned above, spinach is a powerhouse of almost all the nutrients together. Here is a list of nutrients that one can find in spinach.

  • Omega 3
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Niacin
  • Folate
  • Zinc
  • Betaine
  • Phosphorus
  • Iron
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Folic acid
  • Potassium
  • Copper

Cultivating Spinach

Though Spinach makes Popeye strong, but the leafy vegetables are extremely sensitive when it is about planting them. They can be grown in winter season but only in the temperate areas. Again if it is cultivated in higher temperature, the leaves may start bolting. Thus, the best time to cultivate spinach is during the spring season. But apart from this, cultivating spinach is easy and very affordable.

While selecting spinach, one should make sure that the green leaves and the stems do not have any yellow patches. Also you need to make sure that the leaves are not too much slimy. These are the signs of decaying. Also the spinach should not be washed before storing as this may spoil the leaves much earlier. Also cooked spinach should not be stored for many days.

While storing, the spinach leaves has to be kept inside a plastic bag. All the air from the bag needs to be taken out and the bag should be wrapped around tightly to keep the spinach fresh for around 4-5 days. But it is better to use the spinach in first 2-3 days only because as the time passes, some of the nutrients such as carotenoids and Folate may start losing.

How to eat Spinach?

Spinach can be eaten boiled as boiling cleanses the acid from the leaves and provides it a sweeter taste.

If you are not sure about how to eat spinach, they can be easily consumed raw in the form of salad. One of the most common ways that many people use spinach is in the form of green smoothie. If you are not comfortable in drinking it, then spinach leaves can provide you great option in snacks, meal replacements or even in between sandwiches and burgers. Making a bowl of salad with the leaves along with some fruits can provide you a great nutritional diet.

Apart from salads, the leaves can be also used in the form of soups, lasagna and omelets. Also sometimes the leaves are consumed by stir-frying it. Spinach can be bought in any form such as canned, frozen or fresh straight from the market.

Conclusion

Though spinach comes with a lot of nutritional values, but it is also termed as ‘dirty dozen’ by EWG or Environmental Working Group. This is because the vegetable is highly exposed to the pesticides while cultivation. So, it is important to but spinach in its organic form so that the nutrients are safe in the leaves and you are not affected by any kind of pesticide.

If proper care is taken in buying spinach and storing it properly, then of course Spinach can do wonders for you also as it does for Popeye the sailor man.

Source: Just Naturally Healthy