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Spinach! It is a leafy vegetable that looks like a green bouquet of ‘just leaves’. General population and today’s generation know it as an edible flowering plant, the leaves of which are eaten in meals, salads, et cetera. But let me tell you – the 90s kids got its first impression from the all-time spinach lover –Popeye, the Sailorman! Interesting, isn’t it?
But let us learn some more interesting facts about this annual growing plant – as tall as 30 cm, belonging to the scientifically biological family of Amaranthaceae which is also native to the bucolic Central and Western Asian regions!
As appropriately jettisoned into words by Bill Maher, “Someone has to stand up and say the answer isn’t another pill. The answer is SPINACH.”
Nutritional Value of Spinach
Spinach is not the only one of its kind. It has its variations also such as Kale and Lettuce. Since times immemorial, it has got its deserving place on different kinds of cuisine platters. Let us start its leafy journey from some need-to-know basics. Spinach is not something that will get you nice bulging bi and triceps but its nutritional make-over has some essential nutrients instilled in it, the likes of which are : Potassium, Magnesium, Iron and vitamin K that does the body bucket loads of good! Chlorophyll is the reason of its village green color which also heals up damaged tissues , patches up wounds and gives a clear path to the growing of natural muscles, bones and ligaments. The cynosure is that it is an all-time available edible food that grows an entire year round and also takes not much time to cook.
What does Spinach does to your body?
This healthy green food is abundant with vitamins and minerals. Full of antioxidants and with a high potential of nutritional value, it is an excellent source of vitamin A, B2, C and K along with containing a becoming amount of folate, manganese, iron, calcium and potassium as stated above. As per a botanical study by prolific researchers, it has been propounded that by accommodating about 300 grams of this vegetable in one’s daily dietary routine, the amount of life sustaining oxygen required to boost each and every cell in our bodies gets accelerated to a certain amount of good degree!
Also, a particular antioxidant titled ‘beta-carotene’ found in it helps cure cancer and diminishes the life availability of cancer causing toxic cells; as finely shown through a myriad number of thorough studies done across many continents! According to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, people consuming it daily reflect a nourished metabolic power all through an entire year!
Is it bad to eat a lot of Spinach?
Spinach is high in Oxalic acid, which is very helpful for our body as it is bound by strength enriching iron and calcium causing and providing a regular flow of essential nutrients in the body. But as it is an acid, thereby excess of it can also prove to be harmful in some ways. Eating foods rich in vitamin C such as tomatoes, capsicum and lemon juice might also aid the excessive consumption of oxalic acid which after flowing through all the way through our intestines get in touch with the hydrochloric acid (HCL) lined at our stomachs, thus creating an acid-acid fusion which in turn leads to problems like acidity and a basicity absorption.
Spinach is also high in fiber but eating too much of these green edible leaves have also proven detrimental in some ways akin to problems such as bloating of the gastro-vascular lining, gas and muscle cramping! Knowledgeable, isn’t it? Spinach is also unfortunately associated with the advanced risk of kidney stones BUT only in people who already are predisposed to such a condition. Therefore, the bottom line is – definitely eat spinach but know its requirement in your daily meals! Happy spinach shopping!
How about eating it RAW?
Having lower proportions of fats and cholesterol, spinach is also high in niacin and zinc. However, eating it raw would do tremendous amounts of good to your body. As stated correctly in the Vegetarian Times –eating raw spinach is ten times better than consuming it in its cooked form as raw spinach strongly consists of a healthy amount of vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium. Cooking it increases several types of useful vitamins and protein and fiber and so on but it also deteriorates the natural nutritional value of the same!
But there lies another fact that might sound hypocritical of what you just read above. Spinach when steamed or sautéed, do not result in the loss of oxalic acid and some other essential nutrients but still, it is way better to eat it in its raw form as it is immensely rich in many nutrients, some of which are available in a higher amount when eaten raw!
Good and bad Spinach
Well, with all the partial information above, you now know what spinach does to your bodies and its effects and side effects but there is one more important thing to be noted while handling spinach. How to differentiate good, healthy and fresh spinach from the stale and bad one?
Here is the answer. If the leaves seem slimy and contain a durable amount of water then it might have rotten for its own good! However, if the leaves seem wilted, then it indicates its farm freshness. Rather than discarding the green leaves you can make use of it in sautees or omelettes, soup, etc.
Also, factors such as when it was bought and for how much time it was stored in your refrigerator shelves say a lot about the spinach life! It can be bought either in a fresh or frozen manner! So let us see the appropriate requirements of how to store these leafy green food so that to prevent it from rotting and going stale. The shelf life of spinach depends upon its packaging – whether it has been opened or not! Unopened spinach remains covered in its sealed protective surroundings while a bag that has uncovered might get exposed to air and the external moisture, thereby making it go rot!
Hair Benefits from Spinach
This super green leafy food comprises mostly of omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins B, C and E as stated in the above points all of which are necessary for the proper growth of luscious hair! The iron present in it is much needed for hair revival. Also, this iron assists the red blood cells which carry the desired amount of oxygen to hair follicles essential for shiny hair growth and strong strands. But the question that arises is how to use spinach for hair growth? Hair growth is a slow and a gradual process that takes time in its nature and stature. The damage your hair has to deal with puts pressure on your mind which causes overthinking thus leading to excessive hair fall.
In order to curb this kind of situation, growth boosting eating habits like spinach provides nutritional antioxidants which make your hair glow. One can make spinach hair pack by adding 1 cup of spinach leaves, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon carrier/olive/coconut/castor oil into a bowl and blending them together. That done, now you need to apply this paste all over your scalp evenly through your entire hair length. Leave it for 30 minutes or so and then wash your hair with cool/lukewarm water along with a mild sulfate free and keratin induced shampoo! You can also look at alternative hair growth products.
Skin Benefits from Spinach
Spinach or Palak in Hindi is amazingly beneficial for our skins – the most sensitive organ of our body! Consumption of desirable spinach enhances our outer and internal skin appearance to a great extent. Heavily loaded with vitamins A, C , E and K, as well as various minerals, this vegetable plays a significant role in skincare.
- It cures acne and pimple explosion
- Removes dirty layers of oil and skin inflammatory substances
- Being rich in vitamin B it protects skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun
- Prevents skin cancer and the bane of premature ageing of the skin
- Destroys free radicals in the body thereby rejuvenating the skin for its longevity
- Improves complexion tremendously by minimizing acne, skin bruises and dark circles
- Harnesses skin repair and regrowth of skin cells
Getting two to three servings of daily consumption, whether in raw or cooked form seems simply boring. Also, children won’t understand its important health benefits and thus would not be ready to eat this enriching leafy food in its actual form. So here are some ways through which one can creatively cook this iron heaven for its consumption during meals and snacks.
- One of the easiest and most traditional ways to eat it in many regions is tossing these leaves in a spinach based salad bowl. It can also be replaced by kale/lettuce/broccoli. Just add a pinch of salt, finely ground black pepper and some other herbs and mild spices along with some cream and curd! Yum, isn’t it?
- Another way is to make an Indian Raita with spinach leaves (finely cut or just like that – your call)
- You can also eat them fresh by topping some baby spinach leaves with chopped and boiled veggies, grains, and a light/mild vinegar based dressing. Believe me, this simple method can turn your snack bowl into something truly and deliciously delightful!
- Spinach lasagnas
- Spinach soups and many more!
Now with all this information in your head, go take your shopping cart and buy some spinach!