Spinach, a leafy vegetable that contains high amounts of vitamin C, iron and calcium.
It is considered a superfood. For what reason?
What positives does it have for your health?
You will learn all this in the following article!
Spinach, today’s superfood
Spinach, in Latin Spinacia oleracea is a leafy vegetable originating from Persia. It belongs to the amaranth family, so it is related to, for example, beets and quinoa.
It is an annual plant whose leaves grow up to 30 cm long. It has inconspicuous, yellow-green flowers.
Spinach is considered a superfood due to its high nutrient, antioxidant and low calorie content.
Why consume spinach?
Spinach is very rich in nutrients. It contains high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, folic acid, iron and calcium.
It is low in carbohydrates but high in insoluble fiber. This type of fiber can contribute to proper digestion.
It also boasts a number of plant compounds such as lutein, kaempferol, nitrates, quercetin and zeaxanthin.
How often to consume spinach? You can eat it every day, roughly around 100 g.
People who are prone to kidney stones should be careful, because spinach has a high potassium content.
Spinach and health
Eating spinach can benefit eye health, help prevent cancer and lower blood pressure. Spinach also has positive effects on your skin, hair and bones.
Thanks to the content of two components, MGDG and SQDG , it can slow down the growth of tumors. This is also proven by studies where these compounds helped reduce the size of cervical tumors.
Spinach is also high in nitrates, which have been shown to help lower blood pressure levels and prevent the risk of heart disease.
If you have problems with your skin or hair quality, vitamin C, which spinach contains in large quantities, can help you. This is because this vitamin is the basis for building and maintaining collagen.
Spinach is an excellent source of calcium, potassium, vitamin C and E. Additional nutritional values, minerals and vitamins can be seen in the following table:
|Nutritional values||Raw spinach 100 g|
|Vitamin E||2.03 mg|
|Vitamin C||28.1 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.724 mg|
Types of spinach
Spinach has many varieties, we will introduce the most famous ones.
Baby spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is one of the most commonly consumed species. Its leaves have a sweeter taste and a crunchy texture.
It is usually eaten raw, for example in salads or smoothies. It has small, deep green leaves.
New Zealand spinach
New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides) is not true spinach, but like spinach, its leaves are eaten.
It offers a high salt content.
It is also extremely rich in vitamin A and B.
Called Amaranthus Dubius in Latin.
Red spinach has thick and round leaves that are deep green in color with a red center.
This type of spinach contains high amounts of vitamin C, iron and antioxidants. It can thus stimulate your immunity.
Latin Basella album. This type of spinach is dark green, growing medium in size. Imperial spinach leaves are slightly wavy.
Emperor spinach uses its leaves to store water. This then creates a good source of slime. This mucus is used in medicine, for example in Nepal it is used to treat nasal and throat infections.
Indian summer spinach
Indian summer spinach can be grown in all three seasons – spring, autumn, summer. It is very rich in nutrients and tastes great.
You can distinguish it from other species by its longer stem.
You can grow spinach all year round, but the best time is from April to September.
It requires cooler and well-fertilized soil for rapid growth. Before planting your spinach seeds, mix the soil with compost.
Seeds can be sown every two weeks from early spring to late summer. The distance between the seeds in the rows should be approximately 30 cm. Plant them directly in the soil, transplanting the seedlings is not recommended.
When to plant spinach? As mentioned, spinach requires cooler soil. Therefore, plant it at the beginning of spring.
Spinach needs to be watered sufficiently, the soil must be constantly moist.
Spinach is usually eaten cooked, but you can also eat it raw. It has a bittersweet taste.
Fresh, raw spinach is most often used in vegetable juices or smoothies. If you also want to prepare a nutrient-rich drink, be inspired by recipes for smoothies with spinach .
When cooking spinach, there are three ways you can prepare it:
- by steaming,
- by blanching,
- and stewing.
This is a quick process. Spinach takes approximately 2-3 minutes to steam. Just season the cooked spinach with salt and pepper. You can also add lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
If you are hearing this term for the first time, it is a cooking method where vegetables are boiled in hot salted water and then cooled in cold water. This preserves its freshness and nutrients.
- Wash the spinach leaves thoroughly.
- Pour water into a large pot, add salt and bring to a boil.
- Add the spinach leaves to the boiling water.
- Cook for 2 minutes.
- While the spinach is cooking, prepare a bowl of cold water and ice.
- Quickly remove the pot of spinach leaves from the heat and place the leaves in a bowl of cold water.
- Squeeze the excess water from the cooled leaves.
Thanks to this method of preparation, the spinach retains its color and fresh taste.
When stewing, the procedure is as follows:
- Heat the oil (preferably olive) in a pan.
- Add washed spinach by handfuls.
- Stir constantly.
- Cook for about 4 minutes.
- You can season the steamed spinach with salt and spices such as minced garlic, dried onion or chili.
What can you bake with spinach, for example cakes. Its color will color the body and you will create an unusual dessert. Read recipes for spinach cakes and make your baking special!
As for storing spinach, the best option is in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. Or you can also freeze it.
Spinach juice – provides the same nutritional value as fresh spinach. It is full of micronutrients, vitamins A and C.
Spinach powder – dried spinach in powder form. It is a good source of protein, fiber, antioxidants and minerals. You can use it to prepare meals or add it to smoothies.
Spinach has positive effects on our health, as proven by a number of studies. For example, in one of them, it was found that eating spinach effectively lowers blood pressure levels. Include this superfood in your diet, your body will thank you.