Do you remember Popeye the Sailor Man and the incredible transformation he experienced after eating spinach? Whenever he got into trouble, the pipe-smoking sailor opened and ate a can of spinach. He grew muscles and strength instantly, enough to defeat whatever enemy threatened him and his beloved Olive.
Obviously, eating a handful or spinach won’t have the same effect on you. However, there is some truth to Popeye’s story. Consuming the leafy green regularly could boost your health and well-being in ways you’ve never imagined. We will review its most important health benefits in the following lines, right after clarifying what spinach is, where it comes from, how it should be used, and what nutritional properties recommend it as a superfood.
By its scientific name, Spinacia oleracea, spinach is a member of the Chenopodiaceae family, along with quinoa and beets. Its origins have been traced back to Persia. It reached Europe around the 12th century and has been consumed as a food ever since. Nowadays, it is quite popular in the U.S., China, and Europe.
Although it grows year-round, spring is the most favorable season for it. There are three spinach varieties available: smooth leaf, savoy, and semi-savoy.
The leaves are medium-dark green in color. They have a fresh, slightly bitter and salty taste that makes them an excellent choice for salads and many other dishes. For best results, you should choose fresh leaves, with no signs of decay.
If you cannot buy spinach and cook it fresh, it will last around four days in the fridge, stored in sealed plastic bags. It is better not to wash it before storage, as the moisture may spoil it. Instead, wash it thoroughly before cooking, to get rid of any dust and chemicals.
To allow the spinach to preserve its properties during cookies, avoid frying and boiling. Steaming and sautéing are the healthier cooking options. To help your body absorb more nutrients, squeeze some lemon juice or add a splash of vinegar to your dish.
Spinach contains 91.4% water, 3.6% carbs, and 2.9% protein.
Its nutritional profile per 100g servings looks as follows:
- 23 calories
- 6g carbs
- 9g protein
- 2g fiber
- 4g fat