Spinach - The Invincible Vegetable
For a plant that appeared relatively late on our plates, spinach was quickly adapted into recipes.
Although in real life their nutritional effects are not something as quick and immediate as with Popeye and his can of spinach, the truth is that this character was partly right from the start. Spinach is considered a superfood because of its nutritional value, that is, a food that is low in calories and full of nutrients that improve your skin, your hair, and your bones!
But why was spinach so important to Popeye and why is it so important to you?
When we investigated why the Popeye story revolved so much around spinach we discovered that in 1870 a German chemist, Erich von Wolf, reported the correct amount of iron in spinach, 3.5mg per 100g. But in his notes he made the mistake of transcribing 35mg per 100g, and thus was born a myth that was perpetuated for 70 years.
This gaffe created the perfect environment to make spinach the superfood Popeye needed to become strong and unstoppable! And despite the hyperbole, this narrative was figuratively correct!
What are the nutritional properties of spinach?
They are a plant with different nutritional benefits besides their high levels of iron. Iron is important because it enhances the formation of hemoglobin, the blood cells that carry oxygen throughout our bodies.
In addition, they are extremely rich in carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, and calcium.
But beware, not only spinach is rich in iron, lettuce or kale is too, for example, but the 2.7mg of iron per 100g that this superfood offers is a higher value than lettuce or kale.
And what makes the iron offered by spinach even more interesting is the fact that this superfood is also rich in vitamin C. This is because the iron that is found in vegetables is more complicated to absorb than that found in meats, for example. However, vitamin C significantly increases the absorption of iron in our body.
Their carbohydrates are mainly made up of fiber. Which makes them a super healthy superfood! They contain small doses of sugars, namely glucose and fructose.
But fiber is definitely a strong trait of their personality. Since they are rich in insoluble fiber, they have an easy time preventing constipation.
What are the benefits of spinach?
Given their nutritional properties, they can boast different beneficial effects for our bodies.
Like our blueberries, they facilitate the fight against free radicals, which cause so-called oxidative stress, the dynamics of which we have already explained here. Excessive free radicals accelerate aging, and increase the possibility of cancer or diabetes.
In addition, spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin, important in maintaining good eye health, preventing degenerations or cataracts, which can lead to cases of blindness.
In addition, spinach contains a high level of nitrates that moderate blood pressure and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Even though spinach is considered a superfood, full of benefits for our health, we always advise that it be eaten in moderation, and of course, in conjunction with other foods that will allow you to feed your diet in a healthy way.
How should they be consumed?
These green leaves are super versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked, in salads, in soups, in stews or in natural juices. Natural juices are always an easy, inexpensive, and low-calorie option for enriching your diet with vitamins and minerals. To get the best benefits from spinach, you should consume about 90g, 5 times a week.
It is best to eat spinach in the main courses, since the absorption of its antioxidants increases when digested together with the fats in the meals, usually found in meat or in the oils and oils used to prepare the food.
Now that you know more about their properties, do you also want to know more about the life cycle of these delicious green leaves?
Spinach is a very fast growing plant (approximately 40 days) that can be planted twice a year when the seasons change.
There are two major enemies in your crop that our growers often face: the black aphid and frost. They can be avoided if the plant is sown at the right time.
There are two favorable times to sow spinach: either between March and April, to harvest between September and October; or in August, to harvest in the fall.
Today we recommend you a recipe for Spinach and Pea Risotto!
Risotto is a dish of Italian origin, which has rice as the main ingredient. A specific rice is used in its preparation, which when cooked slowly releases its starch and absorbs the liquids in which it is being cooked, providing an extremely creamy and comforting dish, full of flavor.
This dish is super nutritious, since it brings together peas (rich in protein) and spinach (rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus)!
And how did spinach historically appear in gastronomic culture?
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea), a close relative of quinoa and beets, is thought to have originated in Persia, where it was known as aspanakh, about 2,000 years ago. More than 600 years later, the King of Nepal introduced the"Persian herb" as a gift to the Chinese empire.
By the 16th century, it was widely featured in Mediterranean cuisine and had achieved a remarkable status for a vegetable. In Florence, where the Renaissance was in full development, Catherine de Medici, heir to the powerful patron family, chose spinach as her favorite food. When she moved to France to become queen, she took her Italian cooks with her to ensure that her favorite recipes from them were not left behind. This is the reason why French dishes are prepared on a bed of spinach, referred to as à la Florentine.
Interestingly enough, they are a type of leafy green that has always existed around the world, and quickly fell in love with all those who have tasted them.