Spinach: The ultimate way to boost health with this green superfood!


What is Spinach?

Spinach is a green leafy nutritious vegetable which finds its origin in Persia. It is considered as a superfood since it’s very rich in many valuable nutrients like proteins, fibres, vitamins, iron as well as antioxidants within a very-low-calorie package. Spinach has several health benefits and finds its use mainly in the improvement of the eye health, reduction of oxidative stress and reduction of blood pressure. Spinach is an essential requirement for the prevention of various kinds of cancers. Spinach can be consumed both cooked as well as raw. 

What are the nutritional values of Spinach?

The nutritional values of spinach per 100 grams are elaborated in the table given below:

Vitamin A: Spinach has a high content of carotenoids which can be converted into vitamin A inside the body of an individual.

Vitamin  C: Vitamin C with its antioxidant qualities. These antioxidants also play a significant role in regulating and improving the functioning of the immune system.

Vitamin K1: Vitamin K1 is highly essential as a blood clotting factor in the human body. The spinach leaves are rich in the Vitamin K1 nutrient. Hence spinach is highly recommended to be consumed in your regular diet. 

Folic acid: Folate which is also known as Vitamin B9 is an essential nutrient since it helps in the normal functioning of the cells and tissues. Folate helps in the normal growth of cells and tissues. Hence it is highly recommended for pregnant women to consume spinach as a part of their regular diet.

IronIron helps in the production and the development of haemoglobin which helps in carrying oxygen to all the tissues of the body. Spinach is a perfect source of this essential mineral called iron.

CalciumCalcium finds its functions as a mineral which is essential in maintaining bone health. It is also also very important as a signalling molecule in the nervous system as well as in the cardiac system and muscles to such and formation and maturation of neurological pathways, gene transcription in the cardiac cells and the contraction and the relaxation of the cardiac muscles are also regulated in the same way.

Magnesium: Magnesium is highly important for the metabolism of energy in your body. It also helps in the functioning of the muscles and nervous system too. Spinach is a great source of Magnesium have a lot of health benefits. Magnesium helps in maintaining a regular heartbeat, healthy immunity and healthy blood pressure in an individual. Spinach is rich in magnesium and hence is highly recommended as a part of your regular diet.

What are the Plant compounds which are present in Spinach?

There are various plant components which are present in Spinach. Some of the most common plant compounds which are present in the spinach are as follows:

Lutein: It helps in maintaining the health of the eyes.

Kaemferol: It is an antioxidant which plays a significant role in decreasing the chances of getting cancer. It also helps in preventing several other chronic diseases.

Nitrates: they are very helpful in improving the health condition of the heart. Spinach his rich in Nitrates and hence helps in the prevention of various cardiac diseases.

Quercetin: This is an antioxidant which is very helpful for doing away with various infections. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which are extremely essential for preventing any inflammations due to infections.

Zeaxanthin: just like lutein, Zeaxanthin also helps in improving eye health.

What are the health benefits of spinach?

There are various health benefits of Spinach. Some of the most important health  benefits are as follows:

Regulation and management of Diabetes

Spinach has a high content of antioxidants called alpha-lipoic acid which is very helpful in reducing the levels of glucose in the blood of an individual. It also increases insulin sensitivity and helps in the prevention of oxidative, stress-induced changes which are very common in diabetic patients.

Prevention of  cancer

Spinach is a green leafy vegetable which has a high chlorophyll content. The chlorophyll content of spinach helps in blocking the carcinogenic effects of the compounds which are produced especially during grilling food at high temperatures. These compounds are known as heterolytic amines and are metabolized easily by the chlorophyll present in spinach.

Prevention of asthma 

Spinach is rich in Beta- carotenoid content which is highly essential for the prevention of asthma. Hence it is suggested for the people suffering from asthma to add spinach to their regular diet.

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure

Spinach is a good source of potassium which helps in maintaining a healthy level of blood pressure. The content of potassium also regulates the sodium content in the body of an individual. An increase in the potassium level helps in reducing the sodium level in the body of an individual and hence a low blood pressure is maintained. Hence spinach consumption is really necessary for maintaining low blood pressure.

Bone health

Spinach has a good amount of calcium which is highly necessary for maintaining healthy bones. With the balanced and regulated amount of calcium consumptions via spinach, a person can develop and maintain strong and healthy bones.

Enhances the digestive functions 

Spinach has a high content of fibre as well as water. It increases the roughage and helps in the prevention of any kind of complications regarding bowel passing such as constipation. Hence, the consumption of spinach helps in promoting a healthier digestive tract.

 

What are the side effects of the consumption of spinach?

Besides its  various nutritional values, the overconsumption of spinach also has a lot of adverse side effects:
 
Allergies: There are certain people who are sensitive to some moulds or latex. This kind of people have chances of showing allergic responses after the consumption of spinach.
 
Too low blood sugar level: In case a person is taking the medications for diabetes as well as consuming spinach, there are high chances that the blood sugar level of the person will fall below the clinical range of it. 
 
Kidney stones formation: Overconsumption of spinach can also lead to various acid and mineral salt build up in the body of an individual. The most common mineral which gets accumulated is calcium. Hence calcium stones are formed generally and it contains calcium oxalate.
 
Clotting of  blood: Spinach is rich in Vitamin K1 which is the most essential factor for blood clotting. Vitamin k1 can easily interfere with the functioning of the blood thinner medications. It is always suggested for the people who have a regular intake of blood thinner medications. Hence, the people who have to take the blood thinner medications should always consult their heathcare provider before the intake of spinach.
 

What are the ways of eating Spinach?

Spinach can be eaten cooked as well as raw. It is available in various forms such as canned, frozen and fresh too. Spinach can be easily added as a part of your regular diet. Some of the most common ways of eating spinach are the following:

  • Spinach can be added to various other dishes. You can add this green veggie in pasta, noodles, soups and casseroles.
  • You can also use spinach while making wraps, sandwiches and flatbreads. Adding spinach makes your food even healthier.
  • Take a small amount of virgin olive oil and saute the spinach in it. It should be seasoned with black pepper which is freshly ground. You should also ass freshly grated Parmesan cheese too since it adds a better taste as well as is a portion of healthy food.
  • Spinach and artichoke dip or spinach and goat cheese dip can also be prepared. This is another way of consuming spinach.
  • Scramble an egg and add some spinach in it. Spinach omelette is a very healthy food which can easily be preferred for a healthy as well as tasty breakfast.
  • You can also make a smoothie with spinach. Spinach can be easily added to other smoothies also.

Does spinach help in losing weight?

Spinach is very rich in minerals and many nutrients. Spinach has high fibre and it helps in keeping you full for a very long time. Since spinach consumption helps in controlling the level of hunger in an individual, the consumption of the snacks and sugary drinks which has high calories is decreased to a very large extent. This automatically helps an individual in losing weight. 

Recipies of a few healthy Spinach dishes

Italian Style Mushroom and Spinach 

Ingredients required:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 14 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 ounces clean fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Steps

  • You have to heat the olive oil first in medium heat.
  • Saute some onion and garlic in the oil until they start  becoming soft and tender
  • Add some mushrooms and start frying until they start shrinking. Fry them for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Put the spinach also now and keep stirring constantly unless it is properly absorbed. 
  • Keep stirring and pour a bit vinegar in it.
  • Later add white wine in it and keep stirring for some more time. Turn the heat down from medium to low.
  • Sprinkle some salt and pepper for adding to the taste of it. You can also add some parsley.

Creamy Spinach Dip

Ingredients required:

  • Spinach
  • Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Dried minced onion and garlic
  • Salt 
  • Pepper 
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Sour cream 
  • Cream cheese.

Procedure:

  • Take a large bowl and start mixing cream cheese and sour cream in it. Keep mixing it till it  becomes smooth and creamy
  • You have to mix all the other ingredients like spinach, Monterrey Jack cheese, Parmesan cheese, dried minced onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes into the same bowl. Use a spatula for wrapping and mixing up all the ingredients in the bowl.
  • Transfer this whole mixture of the dip in a baking bowl and bake the whole mixture.
  •  You can use this spinach dip with pieces of bread and breadsticks.

Spinach salad with warm bacon dressing

Ingredients required are:

  • 1/4 cup of red minced onion
  • 5 to 6 very thinly sliced radishes
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs 
  • 2 to 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 to 1and1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:

  • Use the prepared spinach for the making of the Spinach salad.
  • Add onions and garlic grated nicely into the already prepared spinach.
  • Put this in a refrigerator and cover it completely
  • Microwave the bacon or fry it until and unless it gets crispy completely
  • Add  sugar, vinegar, water, salt, and pepper to the bacon drippings
  • Refrigerate the complete thing until serving it. Before serving, the topping mixture made has to be microwaved or heated at the highest for 40 to 45 seconds
  • Place the chopped eggs on top of the greens and then add the mixture on the top of it
  • Then add the crumbled  bacon too

 

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