History and origin of spinach
Spinacia oleracea is botanically name of spinach. Spinacia comes from the Latin word for spine and refers to the prickly seed coat. Oleracea, or the species name, refers to a plant that is edible. It is in the family of Amaranthaceae. Spinach is an original vegetable of the East. It is believed that spinach first have been included in the diets of ancient Persians. The diffusion of spinach into the Mediterranean was almost certainly the result of Arab.
There are two types of spinach seeds: round and prickly. The seed type does not dictate whether the spinach leaf will be crinkled or smooth. Crinkled spinach most often has smooth round seeds, while smooth-leaf varieties have prickly seeds.
Nutritional content of spinach
Spinach is a dark green, leafy vegetable well known for its great nutritional quality. Spinach truly does strength the body in a number of different ways. It is full of vitamins and minerals, while may not have the best taste. Spinach is great source of vitamin K for carboxylation and nervous system health, vitamin C for immune strength, vitamin A like strong antioxidant, vitamin E for healthy skin and folic acid. From minerals it contains manganese, magnesium and iron. It is a plant with remarkable abilities to restore energy, increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood. Spinach is rich in iron, and iron play the central role in the function of red blood cells which help in transporting oxygen through the body, in DNA synthesis and energy production.
Spinach contains a high amount of beta-carotene or the inactive stage of vitamin A. Beta-carotene contributes to good vision, healthy skin and a strong immune system. Important group of ingredients found in spinach is antioxidants. They reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and premature blindness. Lutein in the spinach helps to lower the risk of losing sight at a faster than normal rate.
Dark green color of spinach indicates they contain high levels of chlorophyll and health promoting carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. They have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties. They are also important for healthy eye-sight, helping to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
How to choose healthy spinach?
Always choose spinach that has vibrant deep green leaves and stems with no signs of yellowing. His leaves should look fresh and tender. Before storing do not wash spinach because water encourages spoilage. In a plastic bag in refrigerator spinach will keep fresh up to 5 days.
Health benefits of spinach
Lutein and zeaxanthin are potent antioxidants and have vital role in protecting macula and retina in general. Age related eye problems can be prevent with spinach. Other antioxidants found in spinach are vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium. Because of this antioxidant spinach helps lower risk of numerous health problems related to oxidative stress. For example, oxidative stress can damage our blood vessels. Intake of spinach is associated with decreased risk of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
The beta carotene and vitamin C work to protect the cells of colon from the harmful effects of free radicals. This antioxidants help to minimize DNA damage and lessen the risk of colon cancer.
Anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits
Medical studies show that spinach intake can decrease the incidence of breast cancer in woman. Flavonoid compounds in spinach are powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents. Spinach intake can decrease the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Many anti-inflammatory nutrients in spinach like neoxanthin and violaxanthin can have anti-cancer properties.
Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk for bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption is important for good health, as it acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins. Spinach contains 200% of the daily value of vitamin K, in just one cup of fresh spinach leaves.
Healthy skin and hair
Vitamin A is necessary for sebum production to keep hair moisturized and it is also necessary for the growth of all tissues, including and hair. Vitamin C is imperative for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair. Spinach is rich with both of those vitamins.
Antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid can lower glucose levels, can increase insulin sensitivity and can prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes. Spinach contains this antioxidant.
Except this spinach have many other health benefits like lowering blood pressure, asthma prevention, keeps our brain young, calcification and etc.. And medical science is still discovering more benefits of eating spinach.
Hope the next on your menu will be spinach! Soon we’ll give you some delicious spinach recipes!