If you saw Popeye as a child, you probably know that spinach was his favorite food. Know its properties and benefits and also when its consumption is safe, not being advised in babies and young children.
With this busy life we have, spinach has undoubtedly become one of those vegetables that we can prepare anytime, anywhere in the blink of an eye. In fact, it is one of the foods that is most found in a frozen state in any supermarket in the world.
Likewise, ‘spinacia oleracea’ is usually grown in all regions of the world and another of the advantages they offer is that it can be consumed without problems at any time of the year, fresh, cooked or fried.
It is estimated that the first spinach crops were grown in Persia, hence its name from the beginning was ’spinach’. A century later, the Arabs who settled in the Iberian Peninsula brought spinach crops until in the 15th century, the consumption of this vegetable spread throughout Europe.
What are the nutritional values of spinach?
Surely many of you have been most surprised after reading some curiosities about spinach. Do you want to know more about this plant of the amaranth family? Well, pay close attention because next we are going to talk about its most important nutritional values:
An inexhaustible source of vitamins C, E and K
Spinach has been shown to contain vitamin E, a natural nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant throughout our bodies. It also helps to block free radicals, a very toxic enzyme that is usually very present after consuming cigarettes or drinking large amounts of alcohol.
For its part, vitamin K is the most beneficial to prevent blood clotting and in fact many newborns receive a dose of this vitamin during the first months of life.
Very rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium
As with any fruit or vegetable, spinach is also a powerhouse of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. All these elements are essential to strengthen our body and ultimately enjoy a better quality of life.
For example, calcium also strengthens our entire skeletal system and prevents injuries to any of our extremities. For its part, iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin and magnesium promotes cell regeneration.
It is composed of almost 90% water and Q-10 enzymes
It should be noted that spinach is also composed entirely of water. We do not have to tell you that H20 is essential to keep our entire body hydrated while at the same time preventing fluid retention. For this reason, it is a vegetable to take into account for all those who want to lose weight.
Finally, spinach is also very rich in Q-10, a natural enzyme that is capable of treating fatigue and giving us a boost of extra energy to face the day with well-charged batteries.
Spinach Nutrition Facts
100 grams of spinach provide:
- 27 calories.
- Carbohydrates: 1 gram.
- Proteins: 2 grams.
- Fat: 0 grams.
- Fiber: 2 grams.
- Vitamins: A, C, E, B6 and folic acid.
- Minerals: iron, calcium and magnesium.
Main benefits of spinach for our health
And among all of them, the following should be highlighted:
- They improve our vision. Spinach favors the production of what is known as ‘rhodopsin’, an element that accumulates in the retinal rods and promotes the production of receptor cells throughout our eyes. This will cause us to enjoy a better long-term vision in the long run.
- Very beneficial for intestinal transit. These vegetables are also the richest in fiber, a natural component that is very present in kiwis and pears and that will help us enjoy better intestinal health. And for that reason it is most beneficial to avoid diarrhea and constipation.
- Increase muscle strength and endurance. You can also find all kinds of nitrates in spinach that help considerably to strengthen our muscles. Hence, it is a food to take into account if we are very assiduous to do sports on a daily basis.
How much spinach is safe to eat? And in babies and children?
As you surely know, some time ago the Spanish Ministry of Health warned about the consumption of spinach (especially in large quantities and especially in certain population groups), due to its high content of mercury and cadmium.
For this reason, its consumption is not recommended in young children or in pregnant or lactating women.
Thus, the AECOSAN itself (Spanish Agency for Consumption, Food Safety and Nutrition), taking into account the conclusions of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), about the presence of nitrates in vegetables, has made the following recommendations:
- Babies: Do not include spinach, chard or borage in baby purees before the first year of life. And if they are included, their spinach or chard content should not be greater than 20% of the total content of the puree.
- Children 1 to 3 years: Do not consume more than one serving of spinach and / or chard to children of these ages.
- Other useful tips: It is not advisable to give spinach and / or chard to children with gastrointestinal bacterial infections, in addition to always keeping them in the refrigerator if they are to be consumed the same day, or freezing them if they are to be consumed later.
However, it is possible to consume it in a moderate way in young people and in adulthood, but as long as we do not abuse it. Only in this way can we enjoy the various properties of spinach.