There’s a reason why Popeye the Sailor Man was very fond of spinach, it is because of its powerful and amazing set of nutritional values. The spinach is often associated with strength thanks to how they were portrayed through the animated films of Popeye the Sailor Man.
However, don’t get too attached with the image of spinach for being the vegetable that can magically give you bulging muscles and outstanding stamina; instead, get to know what spinach can really do in which you will never get disappointed either.
The Green Leafy Spinach
The scientific name of spinach is Spinacia oleracea, and it is known to be a relative of beets and quinoa through their connection for being part of the same amaranthaceae family (or chenopodiaceae).
The origin of spinach is said to be from Persia, which is now named Iran. This was believed due to how the vegetable was introduced to China; and because they called these greens as “Persian vegetable”. The first ever publicity of spinach is when it was said to have been introduced from Nepal to China, which also marked the beginning of China’s effort in becoming a spinach powerhouse.
Soon then, spinach became a favorite among European countries. It started its reign as a delighted vegetable when it was introduced to a large city in Italy. During that time, the vegetable became widely used for Mediterranean cuisine, and as time went by it was slowly made known to other neighboring European countries such as Germany, Spain, England, and France. The European influence regarding spinach gave birth to a style of cooking called Florentine that emerged from Florence, Italy. The Florentine culinary method refers to anything that contains any form of spinach ingredient; whether canned, cooked, or added raw.
Spinach Nutrition Facts and Benefits
Spinach is rich in water content and contains a few carbohydrates and protein. There are also other nutrients available in spinach plus their beneficial help for nutritional purposes, and these are the following:
Calorie content refers to the energy we get from food. For spinach, a 100 grams serving can provide the body with 23 counts of calories.
Adequate amount of water intake is needed to avoid water deficiency or dehydration. Eating enough spinach can work as an additional content to the required water intake; since 100 grams of spinach contains an amazing amount of 91 percent water content.
Protein serves as a building block for the production and replacement of damaged body tissues and it also supplies the body with muscle strength and many more. 100 grams of spinach contains 2.9 grams of protein.
Carbohydrates, or simply carbs, are body nutrients that function as an energy source. They contain certain contents like sugar, starch, and fibers. A 100 gram serving of spinach has a 3.9 gram of carbohydrate content.
Aside from carbohydrates, the spinach also contains separate sugar content. 100 grams of spinach has 0.4 grams of sugar.
Another kind of carbohydrate is the fiber. Fibers are categorized into soluble and insoluble fibers; the soluble fibers help promote heart health and the insoluble ones are responsible fora healthy digestive system. Fiber also has the ability to keep hunger at bay, thus promoting loss of weight. The spinach vegetable is rich in insoluble fibers which focus on preventing digestive issues. 100 grams of spinach contains an amount of 2.2 grams fiber.
Fat is a part of the so called three main macronutrients group. Working together with carbohydrates and proteins, fats have specific functions in the body. It serves as an energy source of the body and also works in helping the protein do its functions. The fat content of 100 grams of spinach is 0.4 grams.
Though too much is bad, an adequate amount of saturated fat is need by the body for certain functions. It can serve as a guide for white blood cells to fight against foreign bodies and other functions such as promoting brain health, guiding nerve cells, providing stronger bones, helping to aim good cardiovascular health, promoting liver and lung health, and boostingthe immune system. 100 grams of spinach contains 0.06 grams of saturated fat.
Monounsaturated fat is considered as healthy dietary fats. These fats are also said to be capable of helping in weight loss and they have the possibility of reducing the risk of getting heart disease. A hundred gram spinach serving has 0.01 grams of monounsaturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats are also considered as healthy fats. They can be found in most fish, nuts, and seeds. They are also said to benefit heart health by reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in the body and they can also provide the body with some amounts of vitamin E. 100 grams of spinach contains 0.17 grams of polyunsaturated fats.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fats have always had its reputation as a very nutritious type of fat. They are commonly found in most seafoods such as salmon and other healthy fishes. These fatty acids promote improved cardiovascular health.
Omega-6 fatty acids
Omega-6 fats can be derived from different sources such as poultry, eggs, nuts, and cereals. These fats also work against certain heart diseases, and they also help reduce bad cholesterol levels while improving the levels of good cholesterol in the body. They are also said to be able to reduce the risk of getting cancer.
Spinach does not only contain the said nutrients, but also a lot of different vitamins and minerals as well. Here are the following vitamins in spinach and their benefits:
Spinach contains huge amounts of plant-based vitamin A convertibles which are called carotenoids. One well-known type of carotenoid is the lutein which is very helpful in the promotion of healthy eyesight.
The is vitamin is an essential vitamin for boosting the body’s immune system and it also works as a powerful antioxidant that can fight against free radicals in the body to prevent unnecessary damage.
The function of vitamin K1 is it supports the blood clotting process to avoid excessive bleeding in case of injuries. Even one leaf of spinach already contains half of the required daily intake of this vitamin.
Folic acid, or more known as folate of vitamin B9, is an important vita, in especially for pregnant women. Also, it contributes to the function of the cells and for the growth of body tissues.
Spinach is one of the most suggested source of iron minerals. Iron is very important since it is linked to the blood production, specifically the hemoglobin which carries oxygen in the tissues and throughout the body. Somehow, when one is deficient in iron, they develop conditions such as anemia.
Calcium promotes improved bone health. It also serves as a guide for the nerve cells in order for them to function and give appropriate signals throughout the nervous system.
Spinach contains amounts of antioxidants, one of them is the kaempferol. The health benefit of kaempferol is its contribution to reducing the risk of cancer and certain chronic diseases.