Spinach, scientific name, Spinacia oleracea is believed to have originated in Persia (modern day Iran) from where it spread to rest of Asia via Nepal and China. It became popular in Europe when introduced to the continent by Spanish Moors.
One of the best sources of dietary magnesium, which is needed for maintaining a healthy immune system, muscle and nerve functioning, maintaining blood pressure and for energy metabolism, this leafy green vegetable is also one of the best sources of dietary potassium and iron. Spinach also delivers a good amount of calcium, protein, thiamine, phosphorus, zinc, copper, vitamin K, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
Health Benefits of Spinach
Spinach is packed with nutrients that help keep the body in good shape. Regular consumption of spinach helps in maintaining optimum health as well as possible prevention from several medical conditions.
Spinach for Diabetes
People with type 2 diabetes are found to have low levels of magnesium in their bodies. Eating spinach can help them as it contains good amount of magnesium that helps in regulating blood sugar levels. Spinach also contains an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid that increases insulin sensitivity and lowers glucose levels.
Spinach for Eyes
This leafy vegetable is a great source of antioxidants that help slow macular degeneration, an age-related condition that causes loss of vision and in certain cases even blindness. To help matters more, spinach contains an antioxidant called lutein that has been found to reverse symptoms of macular degeneration and improve vision.
Spinach for Weight Loss
Spinach is a low-calorie food that fulfills most of our daily nutrient requirement. This makes it an excellent food source for weight management. One cup of spinach contains very little carbohydrate and all the goodness of vitamins and minerals. Eating spinach with at least one meal every day can be extremely beneficial in weight loss. It can be consumed in juice form, in salads, in soups and in a variety of low calorie dishes.
Spinach for Pregnancy
Being a good source of folates makes spinach a good food to eat during pregnancy as folates reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus. Spinach also provides good levels of Vitamins E and C, which reduce the risk of eclampsia. Eclampsia is a life-threatening complication that can occur during pregnancy. As it is packed with calcium, iron, many B-complex vitamins, magnesium, copper, zinc, and potassium, there is every reason to eat spinach during pregnancy and benefit from its nutritional properties.
Spinach for Muscle Building
Spinach provides a good source of nitrates to the body, which helps strengthen muscles. Nitrates work on two proteins found in human body that help in calcium regulation. This helps in muscle contraction and more so if the muscles are used to high-intensity exercise routines. This is not to say spinach only helps in body building. Its muscle-strengthening properties can help anyone who needs help with muscle toning.
Spinach for Healthy Skin and Hair
Being a good source of Vitamins A and C, spinach helps keep hair and skin healthy. Vitamin A produces sebum that helps hair with optimum moisture required for their growth, and Vitamin C helps in building collagen that is essential for good maintenance of skin as well as hair.
Spinach for Bones
Vitamin K found in spinach helps keep the bones healthy and reduces the instances of fractures.
Spinach can be used in making many delicious dishes both in raw form and cooked form.
• Spinach and Walnut Salad
Mix together in a big salad bowl washed and chopped spinach, one chopped tomato, few orange stems, half a beetroot, few black grapes, half a bowl of chopped walnuts, 2 tsp honey and salt to taste.
Squeeze in a lemon and sprinkle some rock salt and sesame seeds on top. Your nutritious salad is ready to relish.
• Spinach Omelet
You will need two eggs, chopped onion and lots of chopped spinach. Whisk them together and add salt to taste.
Also add chopped green chilies, red chili powder, black pepper powder and a pinch of turmeric powder.
Grate some cheese into the mix and whisk again. Heat some oil in a pan and pour your mixture over it.
Cook the eggs from both sides. Grate extra cheese on top if you like. Fold and eat with spicy tomato ketchup and some fresh garlic bread.
• Spinach Rolls
Steam some spinach, tomato, onion, garlic, ginger and a few green chilies and keep aside to cool. Once done blend them all together and add salt and black pepper powder to taste.
Mix this with some whole wheat flour or multigrain flour and make dough out of it.
Divide into equal parts and make them into balls. Roll them out and cook over a pan with some oil. Keep aside to cool a bit.
Make a mix of grated cottage cheese, chopped onion, sesame seeds, chopped coriander leaves and salt. Spread this in the middle of the flatbread and make them into rolls.
Cut them into smaller pieces or keep them whole. Enjoy these with fresh coconut chutney.
• Spinach Rice
Boil rice and keep aside.
Steam spinach, blend and keep aside.
Heat some oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, and turn the heat off when the seeds begin to splatter. Add one chopped onion, chopped green chilies, some red chili powder, a pinch of turmeric powder, few seeds of fenugreek, one cinnamon stick and some cardamom. Cook till the onions turn pink.
Add the spinach mix and salt and cook for a minute.
Add cooked rice and mix well. Spinach rice is ready to eat.
|Calcium, Ca||99 mg||9.9 %|
|Copper, Cu||0.13 mg||6.5 %|
|Iron, Fe||2.71 mg||15.06 %|
|Magnesium, Mg||79 mg||19.75 %|
|Manganese, Mn||0.9 mg||44.85 %|
|Phosphorus, P||49 mg||4.9 %|
|Potassium, K||558 mg||15.94 %|
|Selenium, Se||1 mcg||1.43 %|
|Sodium, Na||79 mg||3.29 %|
|Zinc, Zn||0.53 mg||3.53 %|
|Vitamin A||9377 IU||187.54 %|
|Vitamin C||28.1 mg||46.83 %|
|Vitamin B6||0.2 mg||9.75 %|
|Vitamin E||2.03 mg||6.77 %|
|Vitamin K||482.9 mcg||603.62 %|
|Riboflavin||0.19 mg||11.12 %|
|Thiamin||0.08 mg||5.2 %|
|Folate, DFE||194 mcg||48.5 %|
|Niacin||0.72 mg||3.62 %|
|Fiber||2.2 g||8.8 %|
|Cholesterol||0 mg||0 %|
|Carotene, alpha||0 mcg|
|Carotene, beta||5626 mcg|
|View all +|