Dark green leafy vegetables are a super food all on their own with spinach providing more nutrients than any other food when you compare calorie for calorie. Have you got spinach on the menu for supper tonight? I have!
So what is all the fuss about?
One of the great things about spinach is that it is always available just about anywhere. It is easy to grow and it is affordable. Cooked as a vegetable, it should be lightly steamed or popped into a stir fry wok just before serving. Spinach can be eaten raw in a salad or used in a healthy green smoothie. You can even add spinach to soups.
And then there are all those health benefits
Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium and vitamin B6 while protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, copper, selenium, niacin, omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber are all to be found in this vegetable.
Spinach has plenty of flavonoids
– those antioxidants that protect your body from free radicals and disease. Spinach is a heart-healthy food – its nutrients work to keep cholesterol from oxidizing while helping to lower high blood pressure. Spinach has a high content of potassium and low content of sodium. This combination is very beneficial for high blood pressure as potassium lowers and sodium raises the blood pressure. The folate present in spinach contributes to reducing hypertension and relaxing blood vessels, maintaining proper blood flow.
Spinach takes care of your gastrointestinal health
too. The beta-crotene and vitamin C work to protect the cells of the body’s colon from the harmful effects of free radicals. Spinach and some other vegetables have the ability to protect the mucous membrane of stomach thereby decreasing the occurrence of gastric ulcers.
The anti-inflammatory properties
found in spinach may well help with conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, migraine headaches and asthma. Spinach has a good source of vitamin K, which in turn functions in retaining calcium in the bone matrix - leading to bone mineralization while other minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus also help in building up of strong bones and preventing osteoporosis of bones.
If you are getting older, eating spinach helps to keep your brain young and working as it should while the carotenoid known as lutein protects against eye diseases
such as age-related cataracts and macular degeneration. It is said that eating spinach with a little olive oil helps the lutein to be absorbed better.
is a particularly important mineral for menstruating women and growing children and adolescents. Spinach is an excellent source of iron but take it with a glass of fresh orange juice for maximum absorption.
found in spinach is needed by the growing fetus for proper development of a new nervous system. Defects like cleft palate or spina bifida may occur due to deficiency of folate. Mothers-to-be should also consume spinach for the vitamin A. This vitamin is required in lung development of the foetus as well as during breast feeding.
antioxidants are found in fresh spinach. More than a dozen individual flavonoid compounds work together by neutralizing free radicals in the body and helping to prevent cancer. One study of New England women showed less breast cancer cases among those who ate spinach on a regular basis. In addition, spinach extracts have reduced skin cancer in lab animals while showing promise at slowing stomach cancer as well.
How much spinach should you consume?
One cup of this leafy green vegetable contains far more than your daily requirements of so many nutrients and yet that same cup has only 40 calories. Spinach is an excellent choice for nutrition without high calories.
But one word of warning - spinach is one of the high pesticide-containing foods, so it’s important to eat organic spinach if you can or to grow your own.