Health Benefits of Spinach or Palak
Latin Name: Spinacea Oleracea.
Every one of us knows about Popeye, the cartoon character, who was famous for reaching for a can of spinach, whenever he needed strength. That spinach improves muscle power has been confirmed by researchers, at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. This strength increasing property is due to the inorganic nitrate in it and not its iron content, as was originally believed.
Spinach is digestive and cooling. Cooking spinach does not destroy its beneficial properties. Spinach with crisp and fresh-looking leaves have a higher concentration of vitamin C than the one with pale leaves.
Spinach is grown in Europe, USA and Asia. In India, it has been grown since ancient times. It can be grown in all soils except sandy soil. The plant is about 1 foot in height. The stem is conical and soft with smooth, thick and dark green leaves. In moderate climates, spinach can be grown year-round.
General Information About Spinach
It is always better to dip spinach in hot water before using to remove any soil, dirt or bugs that might be clinging to the leaves. Spinach has oxalic acid in it. Boil spinach for 1 minute to let the oxalic acid run into the water. Spinach is wind causing when cooked. Hence do not eat it cooked in the rainy season.
Spinach contains vitamins A, B, C, E and K. It also contains protein, sodium, calcium, phosphorus and iron. It has a long list of amino acids which it contains and 1 cup of spinach provides 6 gms of protein. It has a good amount of vitamin A and K.
Because of the amino acid profile of spinach, it should be mixed with lentils to compensate the amino acid deficiency of lentils.
Spinach has a unique mixture of phytonutrients, flavonoids like methylene dioxyflavonol, glucuronides and carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin as well as neoxanthin and violaxanthin.
How To Consume Spinach
Spinach can be consumed in various ways. As a juice or smoothie, stir-fried, made into a flatbread, chips or cooked as a
In India, we usually use it as a stuffing in parathas or cook it as a vegetable to make various dishes as shown in the videos here.
You may be surprised to know that cooked spinach is better than raw spinach in two ways.
- The oxalic in spinach is broken down upon heating making it safer for people who have to avoid spinach because of stone problems.
- The breaking down of oxalic acid increases the absorption of calcium and iron by our body as it is not bound by it. Other vitamins and minerals like Vit A and E, protein, fibre, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron become more absorbable as also beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Some Amazing Nutrition Facts
- Low in saturated fat
- No cholesterol
- Very high in calcium
- Very high in dietary fibre
- Very high in iron
- Very high in manganese
- Very high in magnesium
- High in niacin
- Very high in phosphorus
- Very high in potassium
- Very high in riboflavin
- Very high in thiamin
- Very high in vitamin A
- Very high in vitamin B6
- Very high in vitamin C
- High in zinc
High in sodium. Just one...
Nutritional Levels In Spinach
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea), raw,
Nutritive value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Health Benefits of Spinach
Spinach acts as a cleanser and nutrient source for the entire digestive tract- the stomach and the small and large intestines.
Raw spinach juice contains all types of cleansing ingredients. Spinach seeds are cooling and are beneficial in liver diseases, jaundice and remove heat from the body. They are beneficial in cough and respiratory diseases too. When the seeds are crushed a thick oil is got. This oil is beneficial in worms and urinary diseases.
Spinach boosts the immune system because of the high levels of vitamins and antioxidants in it. The phytonutrients in spinach give it an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefit.
Spinach is helpful in preventing heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems because of the niacin and selenium, the heart-friendly minerals in it.
It is beneficial in Alzheimer's disease, senile dementia and memory loss due to ageing.
Practical Applications of Spinach in Disease
Spinach can be used in a variety of health issues, some of which are:
In Swelling of Lungs, Cough and Burning Sensation in Throat
Gargle with spinach juice to get relief.
In Blood Disorders and Dry Skin
Eat cooked spinach.
In Low Hemoglobin Levels
Add 2 tsp honey to 1/2 glass of spinach juice and take for 2 months to raise haemoglobin levels.
Spinach is very helpful to combat anaemia. Drinking 125 ml spinach juice(1/2 a glass) three times a day removes all blood disorders and gives energy and strength to the body. It also brings a glow to the face and improves complexion if taken regularly since it purifies the blood.
Spinach juice strengthens the teeth and gums. Those suffering from pyorrhoea should chew raw spinach leaves before eating them.
Drinking spinach juice on empty stomach in the morning relieves pyorrhoea too.
If carrot juice is added to spinach juice it stops bleeding from the gums.
Diseases of The Digestive System
Drinking 1/2 a glass of spinach juice corrects constipation in a few days. In intestinal disturbances, eating cooked spinach is beneficial.
Eating cooked spinach in good quantity for a few days, every day is beneficial in diseases of the stomach. Spinach juice is beneficial in intestinal wounds too.
The fibre in spinach is digestion supportive.
In Increased Frequency of Urination
Eating cooked spinach in the evening reduces the frequency of going to the bathroom at night.
In Throat Pain
Boil spinach leaves. Remove the water and squeeze the leaves too. Gargle with this hot water for relieving throat pain.
Spinach might cause some unwanted allergic reactions like stomach upsets, itching or hives. Watch out for allergic reactions and if you are allergic to spinach stop eating it immediately to stay safe.
People with gout should not eat spinach as the purines in spinach could increase uric acid in the body.
People with kidney and gall bladder problems should not eat spinach as it might aggravate their conditions as spinach contains good amounts of oxalates which could crystallise when their concentration is high in the body.
More Informative Links
Some of my other hubs on Healthy Foods
- Lemon And Lemon Juice - Health Benefits In High Uric Acid
Read about some of the amazing properties of lemons and lemon juice in giving good health.
- Health Benefits Of Ajwain Or Carom Seeds
Ajwain or carom seed is a hot and bitter tasting pungent spice with a wide range of health benefits. Want to know more? Keep reading.....
- The Health Benefits Of Dates
Dates are one of the sweetest and most nourishing of fruits. They act not only as a quick energy fix but also as a source of high medicinal and nutritional value. To know more about the health benefits of dates, read on...
- Health Benefits Of Celery, Celery Seeds, Celery Juice And Celery Oil
All parts of the Celery plant are consumable and have exceptional medicinal properties. To know more about the benefits of celery, celery seeds, celery juice and celery oil, read on...
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or embarking on a new health regime.
Dal Palak Recipe
Spinach (Palak) Raita
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2011 Rajan Singh Jolly