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Spinach: Vitamins, nutrients and much more

It is no coincidence that the feeble Popeye needed a can of spinach every time he wanted to defend poor Olivia form harassment of Brutus. In fact, the fame that this vegetable has is fully deserved, though it must end some exaggerated myths about the iron intake. However, its nutritious properties are many, as not only provides energy and strength, but it is also light and does not have an ounce of fat.

The origin of wild spinach is unknown, but you can locate the first crops in the Caucasus and some parts of Persia. A thousand years ago spinach came to Europe through the Arab invasions. Around 11th century, Muslims introduced in the medieval diet of the Iberian Peninsula this vegetable, but it also reached other parts of the Old Continent, thanks to the incursions in the Middle East by the Crusaders.

Assimilated in the European agriculture and cultivation in the 16nth and 17th centuries, it came to America with the Spanish conquerors. During the First World War, the French soldiers who suffered bleeding were given wine with juice of spinach, as it was believed that the high chlorophyll content of this plant would serve to speed their recovery.

Today spinach has already entered the diet worldwide and is cultivated in most countries of the world, although higher levels of production are in France, Italy, Germany, USA, Netherlands and Japan.

Very healthy properties

 Very healthy properties

Very healthy properties

Its bright green and dark leaves hide lots of vitamins and minerals. The content of vitamins A and C is high in this plant, but the best way to take advantage of these nutrients is by eating the leaves raw in salads for example. There are a several varieties of spinach, all classified by the type of leaves.

Spinach is not only nutritious and delicious, but it also contributes to improving our health: it helps with digestion and relieves constipation due to the fiber, and also lowers blood pressure. People suffering from hypertension can take advantage of the healthy qualities of this vegetable taking three tablespoons of spinach juice.

This plant has great medicinal properties, but also can solve some problems of the dermis. If you have irritated skin, might use an ointment made from spinach leaves cooked with gauze to apply directly to the affected area.

Cultivation and consumption

Spinach is considered greens in the world of gastronomy, but from the botanical point of view it’s a vegetable. It is grown in soft soil with plenty of manure and nutrients.

You can buy it at the market from late autumn and winter until spring, so you can enjoy the taste for most of the year.

When choosing the best variety in the market, we look at the specimens with bright leaves. They should be bright green, discarding the stalks with wilted leaves, because spinach is very delicate and can rot quickly. Once cooked, it must be used within 24 hours.

Nutritional Information

 Nutritional Information

Nutritional Information

The caloric intake of spinach is minimal: 100 grams of this vegetable provide only 16 calories. Neither it has cholesterol, nor fat, which becomes essential ingredient for diets.

Spinach is considered a powerful source of minerals, especially iron. Although it is a myth that spinach has large amounts of iron. This vegetable has much more magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium, hence it’s vital in the diet of children and adolescents.

The leaves have plenty of folic acid, essential for blood formation. But, in turn, it provides substantial amounts of uric acid and oxalic acid, therefore, those suffering from gout, kidney stones or arthritis should consult their specialist for recommendations on the most appropriate use of spinach.

As for vitamins, spinach has lots of beta carotene, vitamin A precursors, which have an important anticancer function. Spinach also contains vitamin C, but it gets lost when cooking, so in vitamin deficiency states, it is best to take this vegetable in salads. It is also rich in vitamin B9.

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