There is a reason that Popeye the Sailor man relied on spinach so heavily, almost like a drug. Spinach is crammed with an endless stream of vitamins and minerals that could make even our biceps ripple and pop out of our sleeves, were we to eat it regularly.
The widely held belief that spinach is a rich source of iron is not entirely true. In 1870, Dr. E. Von Wolf made the mistake of displacing one decimal point and for the next century, spinach was known for all the wrong reasons. Spinach contains about 3.5mg of iron per 100g of spinach, ten times less than was originally proposed.
Yet, dieticians recommend that spinach be on your table, atleast twice a week, irrespective of your age. Why is that? Well, it could be because spinach contains Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E and K. Or because it is a source of calcium, iron, potassium, folate, magnesium, manganese, cooper, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, dietary fiber, tryptophan, folic acid, beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acid, antioxidants, flavonoids, not to mention, its high water content.
Packed with all these goodies, spinach can have all of these positive effects on your body:
- Including spinach in your diet can boost our mental acumen, motor skills and learning skills.
- Iron is a source of energy so eating spinach brings vitality.
- The calcium in spinach makes the bones stronger and reduces the risk of osteoporosis, arthritis and the like.
- The vitamins in spinach are cardio-protective and promote good cholesterol, lowering the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
- Vitamin E postpones age-induced cognitive decline.
- Folates are good for eye ailments.
- Fiber is good for the proper functioning of the bowels and colon. Fibrous food reduces the risk of chronic stomach ailment, and cancerous diseases.
- The peptides in spinach are good for controlling one’s blood pressure.
- Regular intake of spinach initiates an anti-ageing process by generating natural resistance of macular regeneration.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that spinach is cooling in nature. It suppresses the imbalance in the Rakta and Pitta. Spinach is a good laxative. It improves our skin and complexion, and helps reduce suppression of urine. In older texts, it is mentioned as Sukkra Janaka, which indicates that it was used as an aphrodisiac. Spinach is one of the basic medicines that were given to cure insomnia and insanity in olden times.
According to Ayurvedic texts, eating spinach can lead to better rest at night. If you are suffering from a severe headache, you can lay some spinach leaves on your forehead for relief. It is a good remedy for eczema and can be applied on the skin. It is sometimes used as infant food to get rid of worms in the stomach. Eating spinach improves circulation which makes it a must-eat for anaemics.
The great thing about spinach is that it is cheap and easily available. You could even grow spinach in your own backyard, or, if you don’t have a garden, you can grow it in pots indoors. When buying spinach, make sure that you pick the crisper leaves. Also, be careful not to overcook it heat causes it to lose much of its nutritional value. For better absorption of the nutrients, pair it with orange juice, tomato juice, or other citrus juices.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and get some spinach!
Spinach – An Overview