“I’m strong to the finish, ’cause I eats me Spinach”. Thanks, Popeye the Sailor Man!!! Lesson learned, watching cartoons is a good thing!
Spinach is a powerhouse of vegetables…A true Superfood! And oh so versatile. You can eat it raw and fresh, boil, steam, sautee, bake, cream, can and freeze it. It can be used for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner…and used in every way imaginable, from the easiest to the most complex of recipes! Spinach makes them all so tasty, yet packed with health benefits.
One cup of spinach has only about 30-40 calories, yet it provides 987 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K, 104 percent of vitamin A, and 65 percent of folate, not to mention high levels of magnesium and manganese, iron, and vitamins B1, B2, B6, C and E. Also, a cup of spinach also provides you with loads of fiber (2 g), protein (3 g) and even omega-3 fats!
Spinach has always been regarded as a plant with remarkable qualities to restore energy, increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood. The primary reason for this is that Spinach is high in iron. Iron plays a central role in the function on blood cells which help to transport oxygen around your body, in energy production and DNA synthesis.
Dark leafy greens are a vital part of any diet and among the top-ranked of the greens is spinach. Spinach is chock-full of nutrients, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin and more than a dozen different flavonoids that all contribute to antioxidant and anti-cancer protection for your body.
Spinach, like most plants, contain glycoglycerolipids, which are vital to the photosynthesis process. It also turns out that glycoglycerolipids help protect the lining of the digestive tract from damage such as inflammation. Thanks to its potassium content, spinach helps reduce the amount of oxidative stress that takes place in the body, including in our blood vessels, which helps reduce the risk of illnesses such as high blood pressure.
Spinach also helps maintain bone health thanks to that high level of vitamin K; in fact, of all the leafy greens, only kale has more vitamin K than spinach. And because of the high vitamin A content, spinach can give our skin and hair a boost by maintaining the collagen needed for healthy skin and hair.
The dark green colour of spinach leaves indicates they contain high levels of chlorophyll and health promoting carotenoids (beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin). These phyto chemicals have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties and are especially important for healthy eye-sight, helping to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
One new category of health-supportive nutrients found in spinach is called “glycoglycerolipids.” Glycoglycerolipids are the main fat-related molecules in the membranes of light-sensitive organs in most plants. They’re indispensable for the process of photosynthesis carried out by plants. However, recent lab research in laboratory animals has shown that glycoglycerolipids from spinach can help protect the lining of the digestive tract from damage — especially damage related to unwanted inflammation.
In a recent study on the relationship between risk of prostate cancer and vegetable intake — including the vegetables spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, turnip greens, collards, and kale — only spinach showed evidence of significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer. (“Aggressive prostate cancer” was defined as stage III or IV prostate cancer with a Gleason score of at least 7. Gleason scores are based on lab studies of prostate tissue and common tumor-related patterns.) The study authors did not speculate about specific substances in spinach that may have been involved in decreased prostate cancer risk. However, we know that certain unique anti-cancer carotenoids—called epoxyxanthophylls — are plentiful in spinach, even though they may not be as effectively absorbed as other carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein.
Nutrients/% DVA from the USDA guidelines for 1 cup of fresh spinach are
vitamin K987%, vitamin A105%, manganese84%, folate66%, magnesium39%, iron36%, copper34%, vitamin B232%, vitamin B626%, vitamin E25%, calcium24%, vitamin C24%, potassium24%, fiber17%, vitamin B114%, phosphorus14%, zinc12%, protein11%, choline8%, omega-3 fats7%, vitamin B36%, selenium5%, pantothenic acid5%.
So, that being said…are you ready to delve into some spinach? I certainly hope so, and I have complied a list of my favorite spinach recipes below, that would have Popeye singing and saying Toot! Toot!
Easy Side Easy Sautéed Spinach
Smoothie Mustard Greens Smoothie
Store pre-washed and spun greens in a ziplock bag or plastic container lined with a dry paper towel in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks (spinach has a long shelf life if stored properly). Excess moisture causes rot. Cut greens perish more quickly if stored wet in a plastic bag.
Blanch pre-washed (and chopped, if desired) greens in boiling water for 1 minute. Plunge into an ice water bath to cool. Drain and wring out as much water as possible. Form into convenient serving-size balls. Wrap balls in plastic wrap and freeze in quart or gallon-size freezer bags.
Fill a large bowl or dishpan with cold water. Add greens and swirl around vigorously. All the dirt and sand will sink to the bottom. Lift greens out of basin and into a salad spinner or colander. Spin greens to dry or drain as best you can and dry on towels.
Enjoy! Ephesians 4:7
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This blog post by Tisha Johnson Matthews, of Sweet Basil Farm & Gardens. The information in this blog is not meant to replace any medical advice, or any medication! It is merely meant as an informative post for information about spinach and how we can use it, and how and why our body uses the nutrients it provides. Photos courtesy of Special thanks to J. David Matthews, of Barnesville, Georgia for support and patience with all that I try and test.