Spinach is believed to have a Persian origin ( the area surrounding modern day Iran). It is not known by whom, or when, spinach was introduced to India, but the plant was subsequently introduced to ancient China, where it was known as “Persian vegetable”. It became popular very quickly as it was introduced in early spring when other vegetables were infrequent.
Spinach is a green, leafy vegetable that is cheap and affordable for everyone. It is a rich source of minerals, vitamins, pigments and phytonutrients. All of these together make spinach very beneficial for a number of vital processes. Due to the vast range of benefits from this vegetable, it is advisable to consume spinach on a regular basis. Spinach is a member of the Aramanthaceae family and its scientific name is Spinacia oleracea. One of the biggest reasons why spinach is so important and valued around the world is that it is very durable. It can even survive through the winter and be just as healthy in the spring.
Some of the health benefits f spinach include:
- Weight Loss: Spinach leaves benefits in weight reduction as it is low in calories and fat. It is very nutritious and has a good quality of fat-soluble dietary fibre. This fibre aids in digestion prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar and curbs overeating. Thus, this leafy vegetable is often recommended to dieters because, in dieting, it is important to avoid repetitive eating.
- Lowers the risk of Hypertension: Hypertension or high blood pressure is responsible for causing kidney disease, heart ailments and stroke. Consuming spinach is beneficial in lowering hypertension as some of its constituents help to reduce stress and anxiety. The nutrients in spinach play a critical role in keeping the balance of Na- K pump by lowering the K (potassium) in your body. Vitamin C also plays an important role in lowering hypertension.
- Prevents Anaemia: Regular consumption of spinach can prevent anaemia as it is an excellent source of iron. This mineral is particularly important for menstruating women and growing children and adolescents. Moreover, it is much better than red meat as it provides a lot fewer calories and is fat and cholesterol free. Iron is also needed for good energy as it is a component of haemoglobin which carries oxygen to all cells of the body.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): AMD or Retinitis pigmentosa is responsible for causing blindness. It is due to the degeneration of lutein and xanthene which form a central part of the retina. According to research conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the consumption of spinach can result in regaining two vital pigments and effectively preventing AMD. Spinach also contains a wealth of antioxidants that reduce the harmful effects of free radicals, which are known to negatively impact vision and cause age-related conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration as well.
- Healthy skin and hair: Spinach is high in vitamin A, which is necessary for sebum production to keep hair moisturised. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair. Spinach and other leafy greens high in vitamin C are imperative for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.
Water – g 91.4
Energy – kcal 23
Protein – g 2.86
Total lipid (fat) – g 0.39
Carbohydrate, by difference – g 3.63
Fibre, total dietary – g 2.2
Sugars, total – g 0.42
Calcium, Ca – mg 99
Iron, Fe – mg 2.71
Magnesium, Mg – mg 79
Phosphorus, P – mg 49
Potassium, K – mg 558
Sodium, Na – mg 79
Zinc, Zn – mg 0.53
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid – mg 28.1
Thiamin – mg 0.078
Riboflavin – mg 0.189
Niacin – mg 0.724
Vitamin B-6 – mg 0.195
Folate, DFE – µg 194
Vitamin B-12 – µg 0
Vitamin A, RAE – µg 469
Vitamin A, IU – IU 9377
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) – mg 2.03
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) – µg 0
Vitamin D – IU 0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) – µg 482.9
Fatty acids, total saturated – g 0.063
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated – g 0.01
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated – g 0.165
Fatty acids, total trans – g 0
Cholesterol – mg 0
Caffeine – mg 0