Spinach is said to have originated in Persia, or the present day Iran. Also known then in ancient China as ‘Persian Green’, which was given as a gift to that country by the king of Nepal in the 7th century.
This vegetable is a flowering dioecious plant that belongs to the amaranthaceae family. It is an annual plant that grows well in temperate climate with sandy and moist soil. It has soft, thin stems that can grow to a height of 12 inches. They produce small yellow- green flowers which are pollinated by wind. The fruits it produces are dry, lumpy and are grouped in clusters containing few seeds. Its leaves are the most edible part, which are oval in shape and arranged alternately on the stem. Spinach is in season during spring and autumn.
Spinach like other leafy greens provide more nutrients than most food. This superfood is rich in nitrogenous substances, cholesterol and fat free, and with a low caloric value. It’s a powerhouse of essential vitamins like A, C, E, K and B- complex; minerals that includes iron, manganese, calcium, and magnesium; as well as phytonutrients, protein and dietary fiber.
Spinach is also an excellent source of antioxidants, betain and plant based omega -3 fatty acids. These are substances that have been proven to reduce inflammation in the body, lower the risk of heart disease, maintain good vision, and boost the immune system. The glycoglycerolipids in spinach can reduce the long term cancer development, particularly colon cancer by providing a special protective effect in the digestive tract against inflammation.
The antioxidant in spinach can keep cholesterol from oxidizing, its folate content helps you maintain a healthy cardiovascular system making it a true heart friendly food. Spinach also alkalizes the body, slows down are-related decline of brain function, remove excess fluid in the body, clears up acne, strengthen your bones, and ease up emptying of bowel.
For safety reasons, individuals with existing gallbladder and kidney concerns are to avoid eating spinach, which contain measurable amount of oxalates that can crystallize in the body fluid and cause health problems. May also cause gout.
Spinach is among the top pesticide laden food around which no amount of cleaning can totally remove. If you love eating them raw or in salad, buy them from your local organic farm market.
Spinach fun fact: In the 1930’s, the popularity and consumption of spinach in the U.S. increased to 30% when a cartoon character named Popeye was launched.
As we arrive in winter, boost your immune system by adding spinach in your diet.
Stay fit. Eat clean. Live life.
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