Spinach Nutrition: The Real Reasons Why This Veggie is Popeye’s Favorite Food
Spinach nutrition is pretty impressive! Most popularly as the source of Popeye’s strength – there is much lore regarding this vegetable. When faced with some trouble, Popeye, the pipe-smoking sailor man, would burst open a tin of spinach. One eaten, his biceps would bulge and Popeye’s new found strength would see him overwhelmed all the enemies.
Spinach (or Spinacia oleracea) is a green flowering plant that belongs to the familyAmaranthaceae, which is native to western and central Asia. It has a bright and vibrant-looking leaves that aren’t just more appealing to the eye, but more nourishing, too. Some recent research has proven that spinach leaves that look vital and fully alive have greater concentrations of Vitamin C than spinach leaves which are quite pale in color.
30 milligrams calcium
24 milligrams magnesium
81 grams’ iron
86 grams’ protein
167 milligrams potassium
58 milligrams folate
2813 IUs of Vitamin A
Most of the calories in this green vegetable come from protein.
Furthermore, spinach is one of the greatest sources of dietary potassium: evaluating in at 839 mg per 1 cup (cooked). Just to compare: 1 cup of banana has around 539 mg potassium.
Spinach is an amazing non-heme source of iron, along with eggs, tuna, and lentils.
A lack of iron in your diet can affect how capably your body uses energy. This leafy veggie contains about 250 mg calcium per cup (cooked), though, it’s less easily absorbed than calcium from some sources as dairy products. Plus, spinach has an impressive oxalate content that binds to calcium deeming it unattainable for usage in the body.
When it is all said and done, the body can only absorb around 5% (around 12.5 mg per cup) of the calcium in spinach whereas the absorption amount from calcium in milk is around 28% (or 300mg of calcium in 1 cup of milk at bioavailability levels of 28% could provide 84 mg per cup).
Moreover, spinach contains fiber, vitamin K, thiamine, and phosphorus. It’s also one of the greatest sources of dietary magnesium that is necessary for energy metabolism, maintaining heart rhythm, blood pressure, nerve, and muscle function, and a healthy immune system. Magnesium also plays an essential role in hundreds more biochemical reactions which occur in our bodies.
People with digestive disorders, older adults, alcoholic, and those taking medications such as diuretics and antibiotics are more likely to have a magnesium deficiency and must eat more spinach and other leafy greens.
Health benefits of Spinach
Spinach is a superfood loaded with numerous nutrients in a low calorie package. Spinach nutrition, as well as the nutritional value of the other dark leafy greens, is significant for bone, hair, and skin health, and provide iron, protein, minerals, and vitamins. Here are some of the best spinach health benefits:
All green leafy vegetables have chlorophyll that has shown to be excellent at blocking the carcinogenic effect of heterocyclic amines that are produced when grilling foods at a high temperature.
Spinach contain alpha-lipoic acid, a potent antioxidant, which have been proven to boost insulin sensitivity, reduce glucose levels, and prevent oxidative stress-induced alterations in people with diabetes. Research on this antioxidant have also proven decreases in autonomic neuropathy and/or peripheral neuropathy in diabetics.
Worth mentioning, most research has used intra-venous alpha-lipoic acid and it’s uncertain whether oral supplementation could elicit the exact same benefit.
The risk of developing asthma is lower in individuals who consume high amounts of certain nutrients. Beta-carotene is one of those nutrients of which spinach is a great source. Carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, apricots, and cantaloupe are also rich sources of beta-carotene.
Spinach nutrition is truly amazing because of its high water and fiber content, both of which help to prevent many digestive issues, such as constipation and leaky gut, and promote a healthy digestive system.
5. Blood pressure
Due to its high content of potassium, spinach is usually recommended to people with high blood pressure in order to negate the effect of sodium in the body. A low potassium consumption could be just as big of a risk factor in increasing blood pressure as a high intake of sodium.
Other high potassium foods include tomatoes, oranges, potatoes, and lima beans.
6. Healthy hair and skin
High in Vitamin A, spinach can help in the production of sebum in order to keep hair moisturized. Moreover, Vitamin A is significant for the growth of all bodily problems, including hair and skin. Spinach and many other leafy vegetables high in Vitamin C are vital for the producing and preservation of collagen that provides structure to hair and skin.
One of the most common causes of hair loss is iron-deficiency, which can be prevented by a suitable intake of iron-rich foods, as spinach.
7. Bone Health
Vitamin K deficiency have been linked to a higher risk for bone fracture. Sufficient Vitamin K consumption is essential for good health, as it acts as a convertor of bone matrix proteins, increase absorption of calcium, and can decrease urinary excretion of calcium.
How to select spinach?
This leafy green vegetable is available all over the year, but is in season during the spring, usually from March till June. It the groceries, purchase fresh leaves with dark-green color, crispiness and vitality. Avoid spinach with sunken/dull leaves, spots, and yellow discoloration.
How to store spinach?
Wash the spinach leaves thoroughly in running water and rinse in salt water for around 30 minutes in order to remove dirt, and potential insecticide residues.
Even though it could be stored in the fridge for up to one week, fresh spinach leaves should be consumed at the earliest so you can get most of the spinach nutrition benefits.
How to use spinach?
In order to get maximum spinach nutrition benefits when cooking, steam it or cook lightly in some small amount of water.
Preparation and Serving Methods
After washing the spinach leaves, gently pat them dry with soft cloth or tissue. Raw leaves could be either chopped, or used as they are in various recipes.
Baby spinach can be consumed raw either in vegetable burgers and salads or as smoothie or juice. Antioxidant properties might reduce significantly on frying, boiling, and steaming for longer periods.
Along with some other vegetables, spinach leaves are used in the preparation of pie, noodles, soups, and pasta as well as in the preparation of many baby-foods.