Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a green leafy vegetable which belongs to the family in which there are beet, turnips and chard. It is grown as a cash crop and in the market is always given in the form of fresh green leaves. The largest producers of spinach are America and China, although spinach grown as well in other countries of the world.
What is the nutritional composition of spinach?
The water makes the largest share of spinach, while the rest belongs to nutrients – largely proteins, while carbohydrates and lipids underrepresented in spinach.
The mineral composition of spinach is consist of - calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium.
Vitamins that are present in spinach are vitamin B group (B1, B2, B6, and folic acid), vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and E as well as beta carotene which have in abundance.
A very important feature of spinach, which makes him a strong green antioxidant, is the presence of unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, which established antioxidant and anticancer activity.
A very important component of spinach is oxalic acid, which can be said to be undesirable ingredient, as in combination with important minerals, such as iron, magnesium, potassium form salts - oxalates, which are deposited in the kidneys and lead to the formation of kidney stones and sand. For this reason, spinach is not recommended for people who have these problems.
Another important mineral present in spinach is calcium. Calcium has a lot more in spinach than in the milk, but the presence of oxalate in spinach disturbs the absorption of calcium. In order to increase the absorption of calcium, it is recommended to thermally processed spinach (boiled or lightly fry in olive oil). Also, consumption of foods rich in vitamin C, such as tomatoes or citrus fruits, can increase the ability of our body to absorb calcium and iron.
What are the Health Benefits of Spinach?
1. Reduces levels of bad cholesterol
Vitamin A, potassium, lutein, vitamin C and beta carotene in spinach build strong defense in the fight against bad cholesterol. The presence of fibers in spinach, reduces the absorption of fats from food in intestines, and prevents deposition of bad cholesterol on the walls of blood vessels. Also, it should not be excluded important mineral - potassium, which regulates blood pressure and potassium, is equally important in maintaining heart rate and prevent the occurrence of heart attack.
2. Spinach in the fight against cancer
The antioxidant power of spinach is very high, because spinach as well as other green vegetables increases the alkalinity of the body, which reduces the acidic products that are produced during the digestion of food. Creating an alkaline environment in the body, spinach contributes to the preservation of the general health of the organism, the prevention of cancer, allergies and autoimmune diseases.
3. Spinach is very useful for women
The presence of manganese in spinach provides better adoption of calcium in the bones, and the presence of calcium and magnesium in spinach prevents the onset of osteoporosis during the menopause in women.
4. Eat spinach and you will not have anemia
All the kids do not like spinach, but when you persuade them that the spinach is very healthy, certainly they will eat him. Except for children and for adults is important inclusion spinach in diet, mainly due to the high content of iron, which is necessary for the construction of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to every cell in the body.
5. Pregnant women should be sure to eat spinach
Folic acid is present in spinach and it has a very important role for pregnant women, for maintaining a normal pregnancy and birth of a healthy baby. Pregnant women have an increased need for folic acid, so that spinach is an ideal natural source of folic acid.
6. Spinach in diets for weight loss
Spinach is low-calorie and healthy food which includes the diets. It contains lots of water, no fat, and lot of important vitamins and minerals.
7. Spinach provides strength and enhances muscle tone
Due to the content of nitrate and magnesium, spinach should consume all who are engaged in heavy physical work, because it force and back invigorates to the body.
8. Spinach protects eyes
Beta carotene in spinach is very important in the preservation of vision and prevention of all diseases that occur mainly in older age - cataract, glaucoma, and increased eye pressure.
9. Spinach improves mood
Spinach significantly improves mood, because it increases the level of serotonin in the brain. Drastic mood improvement is especially pronounced in people prone to melancholy and depression. Eating spinach facilitates the treatment of depression.
10. When not to use spinach in the diet?
People with impaired renal and bladder function should avoid spinach because of oxalate, which, if present in higher concentrations in body fluids can lead to other health issues. Individuals with impaired thyroid operation are also recommended not to eat spinach, because it contains so-called goitrogens, ingredients that interfere with work of thyroid gland.
How to properly prepare spinach?
Spinach is best eaten fresh, or prepares it just before a meal as mild frying or cooking. Spinach should be eaten immediately after preparing, and it mustn’t be heated again because it will free harmful materials, to which can harm the body.
The rest of the cooked spinach is required to be discarded because the nitrates are converted by fermentation in a refrigerator in a dangerous nitrite (which is a poison for the body). The water where spinach was cooked is rich in nitrates and should not be left for further use.