A Leaf of Spinach History Health Benefits Of Spinach
Spinach originated in Persia (now Iran) where it was known as aspanakh. It made its way to China in the 7th century when the king of Nepal sent it as a gift. Spinach arrived in Europe in the 11th century when it was brought to Spain by the Moors (Muslims).
In fact, spinach was known as “the Spanish vegetable” in England. In the 16th century, spinach became the favorite vegetable of Catherine de Medici of the famous Medici family of the Italian Renaissance.
When she left her home in Florence, to marry King Henry II of France, she brought along her own cooks to prepare spinach in the many different ways she liked. Since then, dishes prepared on a bed of spinach are referred to as à la Florentine. North Americans began growing spinach in the early 19th century. In the 20th century, spinach was popularized by the cartoon character, Popeye, who gained amazing strength whenever he ate a can of spinach.
Health Benefits of Spinach:
- Spinach provides a low calorie, nutrient dense option to add to many different recipes, or to use in a simple salad.
- Spinach is a good to excellent source of vitamins A, C, and folate, as well as minerals such as manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron. It is also a good source of fiber and even contributes a small amount of protein to the diet.
- Spinach also contains many lesser known antioxidant compounds such as flavonoids. Antioxidants are crucial to our body’s natural defenses, helping reduce the risk of cancer. Not enough? Spinach may play a role in the slowdown of the aging process, and help to maintain brain function.
- These potential health benefits, along with the proven nutritional benefits of spinach make it a must-have in your diet.
- High in Vitamins and Minerals Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K.
What is Vitamin K? How it helps for Health
- Vitamin K helps stop cuts and scrapes from bleeding too much and starts the healing process. n Together with calcium, vitamin K helps build strong bones. Vitamin K may also help keep blood vessels healthy.
- It helps your body make proteins for your blood, bones, and kidneys. n Vitamin K deficiency is uncommon in healthy adults because it is widely available in foods. Bacteria in the large intestine also synthesize a form of vitamin K
- Vitamin K is needed for blood clotting. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Spinach is a good source of folate. Like most vegetables, spinach is low in calories, fat free, and a good source of fiber
How Much Do I Need?
One cup of fresh spinach is about two cupped handfuls. When cooked, this makes about a ¼ cup of cooked spinach. The amount of fruits and vegetables you need depends on your age, gender, and physical activity level. Spinach is available fresh, frozen, and canned – and all forms count toward your daily amount.