Spinach is a type of plant variety having large-sized dark green leaves that can be used as a vegetable for daily consumption in our kitchens.
The delicious taste of the young dark green leaves makes it a good dish either consumed in raw condition or in cooked state. One has to ensure that before consuming this spinach in either condition, it has to be adequately and thoroughly washed and any damaged leaves should be discarded.
It is a myth nowadays to believe that spinach has rich iron content. A second analysis of the green vegetable in the lab revealed that there was a minor decimal error in recording the readings. However, one need not worry about the fact that spinach does not have iron content. In fact, spinach has much more invaluable nutrients that help in block such substances such as bioflavonoids and antioxidants that might lead to cancer if not arrested in the early stages.
Spinach contains plant pigment called carotenoids which provide the greenish color to the leaves. These plant pigments include antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein that are useful in preventing macular degeneration, which is the primary cause for blindness, especially in the older people.
According to nutritionists, a half-cup of cooked spinach provides enough Vitamin A that is equivalent to one day’s requirement. In addition, that cup of cooked spinach contains as much as 105 micrograms of folate, which is more than 25% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) per day. It has been found that consumption of folate is very essential and useful for women who are either pregnant or planning to have pregnancy, because folate is helpful in preventing congenital neurological defects.
In addition to Vitamin A and folate content, the half-cup of spinach also contains Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, riboflavin and 419 milligrams of potassium.
Spinach also contains Phylloquinone, the most common form of Vitamin K. This phylloquinone is essential for blot clotting and as such, plays an important role in preserving the health of the bones. According to some research studies, phylloquinone helps in increasing the bone density and at the same reduce the reduce fracture rates in the bones.
However, there is one disadvantage in spinach. Spinach contains a high concentration of oxalic acid, as the oxalates in the acid are responsible for formation of stones in the kidney and the bladder. In order to nullify the negative impact of oxylic acid, it is advisable that spinach is combined with other foods that are rich in vitamin C such as citrus slices and consumed as a combination of the two.
One has to ensure, while cooking spinach, that the flavor and texture of the vegetable is preserved and minimize the loss of many nutrients and water-soluble vitamins that are present in spinach. It is better to try steaming and stir frying and avoid over-cooking. It is always advisable to cook the spinach than consuming raw spinach.