Spinach – Nutritional Information
Spinach is part of the Amaranthaceae family and is an edible flowering plant with origin from the central and the western parts of Asia. The leaves of the spinach are often consumed as a vegetable and they can be used fresh or frozen, chopped, dehydrated or canned. It can grow up to 30 cm.
The top producers of commercially grown spinach are China (it’s the biggest producer), USA, Turkey, Japan and several others.
You should trim off the roots, separate the leaves and wash them very well before consuming the spinach. Usually the leaves should be washed about 2-3 times to remove all the dirt from them.
Avoid spinach if you have or have had oxalate containing kidney stones due to the high amount of oxalate in this food. If you take blood-thinners or have troubles with the clotting of the blood, avoid spinach or talk with your doctor if you can consume spinach because of its high vitamin K1 content.
The leaves have various health benefits including control of the glucose in diabetics, improving the health of the bones, lowering the risk of cancer, etc. We’ll discuss these below.
Per 100g raw
|Vitamin A||9376 IU|
Spinach has antioxidants. They are the compounds which fight off free radicals. And, as we know, the free radicals are side products of the metabolism which lead to oxidative stress – this not only accelerates the aging but also increases the chance of various illnesses. So spinach may provide protection against premature aging and different diseases. This is backed up by several researches.
Also, this plant contains MGDG and SQDG, two specific components, which have shown to be able to reduce the growth of the cancer. Several researches have shown that the consumption of spinach may help the prevention of breast cancer, decrease the size and slow the growth of cervical cancer and suppress the formation of cancer.
Spinach has nitrates, too. It has been shown that they can moderate the blood pressure and lower down the chance for developing heart disease. One trial has shown that the consummation of spinach can lower the level of blood pressure. There have been other studies which also show that the leaves of the plant can help with the control over the blood pressure and this effect leads too decreased chance for developing heart disease.
It contains carotenoids – lutein and zeaxantin – which are contained in the human eyes. These compounds protect the eyes against light-induced damage. Several studies have shown that they can prevent cataracts and macular damage. Even more, spinach may be capable to reverse already existing damage, although this requires more research.
Spinach can reduce the excessive inflammation because it has anti-inflammatory effect. This is due to the flavonoids and the carotenoids in this food. The reduction of the inflammation leads to lowered cancer risk and promotes the health of the digestive tract.
Some studies have shown that spinach delays the emptying of the stomach, decreases the hormones which are related to the hunger and increases the levels of the hormones which are responsible for the feeling of satiety. This means that that food can help with the regulation of hunger. It also regulates the levels of sugar in the blood.
Spinach also promotes healthy skin for it contains plenty of vitamin A. That vitamin moderates the oil production in the follicles of the hair and the pores of the skin to moisturize your hair and skin. It also has vitamin C which is vital for the production of collagen – the support structure of the skin.
The adequate level of vitamin K also helps promote the health of the bones for it improves the absorption of calcium and modifies the proteins which have to do with the structure and the health of the bones.
With what foods can we eat spinach?
You can add spinach to lasagna, eat it in a salad or mix with pine nuts. Also, spinach can be consumed with lentils, tuna, mushrooms, poached eggs, walnuts, figs, potatoes.
Or you may combine it with chicken meat. Also, spinach makes for a delicious soup. Or you can add it to curry. It may be put into pasta, as well. And you can make yourself some sandwiches with spinach. One can also make themselves various types of smoothies with spinach and other fruits or vegetables – like orange, berries, avocados, etc.