Spinach leaves have anti-cancer properties and protect against atherosclerosis. The healing properties of spinach are due to beta-carotene, vitamin C and lutein – known antioxidants. In addition, spinach is rich in potassium, iron and folic acid.
Spinach – anti-cancer properties
Studies have confirmed that spinach leaves have anti-cancer properties and protect against atherosclerosis. This is due to beta-carotene, vitamin C and lutein – known antioxidants, which are abundant in spinach.
Spinach should be eaten by stressed people, because it is a source of magnesium. This element has a great impact on the functioning of the nervous system, significantly reduces the susceptibility to stress and has calming properties. It also prevents headaches and dizziness.
Spinach for anemia?
Spinach is considered a treasure trove of iron that is recommended for the treatment of anemia. Meanwhile, plant products (including spinach) as a source of iron do not work at all. A similar amount of iron as in spinach is found in beef, but only 1% of the former and 20% of beef.
Spinach lowers blood pressure
Spinach leaves contain a lot of pressure-lowering potassium, so people with hypertension should eat them. In addition, potassium works with magnesium to regulate the work of the heart.
Spinach – slimming properties
Be sure to include spinach in your diet if you stay fit. It is low in calories: 100 g is 23 kcal. In addition, the potassium and B vitamins contained in it participate in the burning of carbohydrates and fats and accelerate metabolism.
Scientists from the University of Louisiana (USA) found that it is helpful in weight loss also for another reason. In the journal of the American College of Nutrition, they argue that spinach extract contains thylakoids – substances that prolong the feeling of fullness (up to 2 hours after a meal). These compounds promote the secretion of satiety hormones, which slow down the digestion process of fat and reduce the desire to reach for a snack .²
Spinach and pregnancy
Green leaves are especially recommended for pregnant women. The folic acid contained in them prevents the defects of the fetal nervous system. In addition, it protects against cardiovascular diseases.
Spinach is also rich in vitamin K, which plays an important role in blood clotting, B vitamins that lower cholesterol, and anti-aging vitamin E.
Spinach – contraindications
The value of spinach is reduced by oxalic acid in the leaves. Oxalates have a decalcifying effect on the body and are harmful to some people.
Spinach should not be consumed by people suffering from kidney stones, because – formed by the binding of calcium by oxalic acid – calcium oxalate is the building block of kidney stones.
Spinach – use in the kitchen. How to prepare spinach?
As with most vegetables, fresh spinach is best. Therefore, in the season it is better to give up frozen foods. Raw spinach is great for salads.
Combine it with cheeses – blue cheese, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese or oscypek cheese. Fruits go well with it – pears, grapes, strawberries, citrus. Pour olive oil over the salad – this will increase the absorption of beta-carotene and lutein.
Spinach in combination with cheese (e.g. blue cheese) is also great for pasta (spaghetti or penne). To make a sauce, do not boil the leaves! They will lose their value and taste, let alone their appearance. Stew them in olive oil with garlic and nutmeg.
If you sprinkle the leaves with lemon juice, they will keep their vibrant green color. Remember that spinach significantly reduces its volume when stewing, so if you cook for several people, buy 1.5-2 kg.
Spinach leaves are also great stuffing for dumplings, pancakes and shortbread tarts. In the off-season, buy frozen spinach – shredded or better whole.
Good to know
Spinach – selection and storage
The spinach must be fresh. During transport and storage in a warm place, most of the nutrients are lost. If it is withered, it is better not to buy it
The spinach stalks should not be yellowed and the leaves must be bright green in color.
Unwashed spinach should be stored in the refrigerator, loosely packed in a foil bag – this way it will not lose its nutritional value and will stay fresh for about 4 days.
Cooked spinach should be consumed within 24 hours.
Frozen spinach retains most of the nutrients.
Spinach – preparation and serving
Spinach needs to be washed thoroughly as leaves and stalks accumulate dirt and sand.
To cook the spinach evenly, remove excessively thickened stems.
Spinach leaves can be patted dry with a paper towel or dried in a lettuce dryer.
The best way to prepare spinach is to steam it. The process itself should be short, exposure to water, light and temperature can destroy vitamin C and B.
Boiling spinach in plenty of water is a waste of its vitamins and minerals that dissolve in water.
You can also stew it briefly, covered, in your own juice (spinach secretes it abundantly – this is also the water left on the leaves after washing), do not pour the broth, rather thicken the spinach with a little roux.
Nutmeg and white pepper are perfect for seasoning spinach. If it seems too tart to you, you can add a little cream.
Due to the fact that spinach contains oxalic acid, it is advisable to add sour milk or eggs to the dish to compensate for calcium losses
If you soak the leaves in ice water after washing, they will keep their nice color. Then you have to drain them thoroughly. Remember that the spinach must dry well before being added to the salad.
Iceberg lettuce can be replaced with spinach.
Spinach is a great addition to lasagne, spaghetti and pizza.