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Spinach: It’s so healthy!

by Josephine Andrews
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Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is considered very healthy because of its ingredients. You can find out here to what extent spinach consumption actually affects well-being, why this is so and how best to store and prepare spinach.

How healthy is spinach?

Spinach is healthy. Due to its ingredients, it is said to have various positive effects on the body. This includes:

eye health

The carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein are found in spinach. The body converts these two natural pigments into vitamin A – it is important for good vision and it protects against diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), in which deposits form in the middle of the retina (macula).

In addition, lutein and zeaxanthin are said to filter harmful UV rays and thus protect the eyes.

Good for blood pressure

The nitrates contained in spinach are said to help regulate or lower blood pressure. This is because these nitrogen compounds dilate the blood vessels in the human body.

When blood pressure is within the normal range, the risk of cardiovascular disease decreases and heart health improves.

Rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants , such as those found in spinach, help prevent too many free radicals from forming in the body. These are aggressive oxygen molecules that cause so-called oxidative stress, which in turn causes the skin to age faster, promotes cardiovascular diseases and is even said to make cancer more likely.

cancer protection

Spinach contains MGDG and SQDG. These are lipids, i.e. fats, which may help to slow down the growth of cancer. In one study, for example, this was found in cervical cancer.

Other studies have shown a reduced risk of prostate and breast cancer when participants ate spinach. In addition, the antioxidants contained in spinach are said to protect against cancer.

Spinach has these nutrients!

Spinach has long been considered an excellent source of iron. The trace element is actually in spinach, but by no means in the amount that was once propagated. It was a comma error.

However, the green leafy vegetables are a small nutrient bomb – 100 grams of fresh spinach contain just 16 kilocalories (kcal) and 0.3 grams of fat. So you can always lose weight with it. No wonder with a good 90 percent water content. The remaining ten percent are tough, too.

  • Fiber : Fresh spinach provides 2.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams. These are plant fibers that the body cannot use. Such soluble fiber swells in the stomach, keeps you full longer and increases the volume of the stool, so that the bowel movements work better.
  • Protein : Fresh spinach provides 2.7 grams of protein per 100 grams and is therefore quite rich in protein for a vegetable. The body needs protein to build muscle and for regeneration, among other things.
  • Carbohydrates : Fresh spinach contains 0.6 grams of usable carbohydratesper 100 grams, including a small amount of sugar in the form of fructose and glucose. The body needs carbohydrates as a source of energy.
  • Iron : Spinach provides iron (4.1 milligrams). The mineral is important for oxygen transport in the body and blood formation.
  • Calcium : Spinach contains 117 milligrams of the mineral calcium, which is important for bone health, among other things.
  • Magnesium (58 milligrams) is also found in spinach. It plays a role in stimulus transmission.
  • Potassium is also a nutrient found in spinach, at 554 milligrams. It is an important part of signal extension between cells.
  • Sodium (65 milligrams) ensures, among other things, the regulation of water balance and blood pressure.
  • Phosphorus (55 milligrams) is important for energy production.
  • Plant components: quercetin has an anti-inflammatory effect, camphor oil is said to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and especially cancer. Nitrates regulate blood pressure.
  • Vitamin A : Spinach provides vitamin A or the precursor carotenoids (795 micrograms).
  • Spinach contains 221 micrograms of vitamin B6 and is important for various metabolic processes
  • Spinach contains 141 micrograms of vitamin B12 (folic acid) and is crucial for normal cell function, for example.
  • Vitamin C (51 milligrams) ensures a strong immune system.
  • Vitamin E (1.4 milligrams) is important for cell protection.
  • Vitamin K1 (305 milligrams) supports blood clotting.

Spinach: You should pay attention to this

Basically, it makes sense to include spinach in your diet regularly. However, there are a few things to keep in mind, for example:

Spinach as raw food

You can also eat spinach raw. The younger the spinach leaves, the milder they taste. However, raw spinach is harder to digest than cooked. If you’re not used to raw food, eating too much raw spinach is more likely to cause gas, stomach pain, or diarrhea than cooked spinach. Such symptoms are also possible with cooked spinach.

spinach during pregnancy

The folic acid and iron contained in spinach are important nutrients for expectant mothers. They ensure that the unborn child can develop properly. However, pregnant women should neither eat nor reheat spinach every day.

The problem is the nitrite. This substance forms if you store the spinach incorrectly or if you have left the spinach warm for a long time and then reheat it. Nitrite slows down the oxygen transport in the body – and that could be dangerous for the development of the growing child.

Spinach in case of intolerance

Spinach itself is not one of the vegetables that often trigger allergies. However, an allergic reaction is still possible. People with a histamine intolerance should also be careful with spinach. It contains precisely this messenger substance that some people cannot tolerate.

You then risk symptoms such as a rash, gastrointestinal problems, difficulty breathing or a stuffy nose.

Spinach for blood clotting disorders

The green leafy vegetables contain vitamin K1, which is particularly important for blood clotting. As such, it’s possible that large amounts of spinach may decrease the effectiveness of certain blood-thinning medications.

If you’re taking blood thinners and want to eat a lot of spinach, talk to your health care provider to see if there could be any problems.

Spinach with a tendency to kidney stones

If you are prone to kidney stones, you should moderate your spinach consumption. This is because spinach contains oxalic acid and calcium – which makes up around 75 percent of kidney stones, the so-called calcium oxalate stones.

Spinach also contains purines. This group of substances turn into uric acid when there is too much circulating in the body. Kidney stones form when their concentration is so high that the uric acid salts can no longer dissolve in the urine.

Spines bei Gastritis

If you have an inflammation of the gastric mucosa, you should eat stomach-friendly and well-tolerated foods so that the stomach is not additionally strained and can recover. In addition to oatmeal , poultry or low-acid fruit, vegetables such as broccoli, potatoes or spinach are also suitable for gastritis.

preparation and storage

There is a lot of water in fresh spinach . This keeps it fresh for about a week, then it wilts. You should therefore consume it as soon as possible after purchase or harvest. Frozen spinach, on the other hand, which is not much inferior to fresh spinach in terms of ingredients, will keep for around six months.

Storage of spinach

Fresh spinach should be kept cool and dark. The vegetable compartment in the fridge is ideal for this. Leaves should be as dry as possible, pat dry if necessary, remove pre-wrapped spinach from plastic wrap if moisture has built up inside and wrap in a thin hand towel or kitchen towel.

If you want to freeze fresh spinach, first wash the leaves and discard any wilted, broken ones. Then briefly blanch the spinach in hot water and then put it in cold water to keep its colour.

Drain the spinach in a colander, then form balls about the size of your fist, place in an airtight plastic bag or other container, and place in the freezer.

Preparation of spinach

You can puree fresh spinach into a smoothie, eat it raw in a salad , or heat it up and serve it as a main course or side dish. There are several ways to cook spinach, for example:

  • Blanching : Place the spinach leaves in hot, salted water for about a minute. Remove and place in cold water or rinse with cold water to preserve color and stop cooking.
  • Steaming : Take a colander, place it over a saucepan with some water and place the spinach in it. Put the lid on, heat the water and steam the spinach for about two minutes.
  • Sautéing : This is a form of pan frying. Put some fat in a pan and, when it is warm enough, some of the spinach leaves. Let these collapse and add the next batch to the pan.

Tip : Mix some balsamic vinegar or lemon juice into the spinach to make it taste less bitter.

You should not thaw frozen spinach before preparing it, but heat it up with a little water in a saucepan, pan or microwave. If you let it thaw slowly, germs could form.

Can spinach be reheated?

Whether you can reheat spinach depends on how it was previously stored and who will be eating it. In principle, there is nothing wrong with reheating spinach a second time if you have quickly chilled it, covered it and kept it in the refrigerator for no more than two days.

At least that’s true for adults. Babies and children should not be given warmed spinach, because they do not have enough of the enzyme that breaks down nitrite in the body. The result can be a life-threatening lack of oxygen.

Nitrite is formed from nitrate – when special bacteria are added. They are present in the human mouth and stomach, but also in the spinach itself. As long as the environment is cool, everything is fine. However, at room temperature, they multiply and convert nitrate into nitrite.

Therefore, do not keep spinach left over warm, but cool it down in cold water, for example, and then briefly heat it up again.

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