Spinach is a leafy green vegetable. It came originally from south-western Asia. It is now grown in most parts of the world.
Spinach is a rich source of vitamins such as Vitamin C, A and vitamin E. It also contains minerals like magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium and folic acid. It is a good source of chlorophyll. This chlorophyll helps in digestion. It also contains carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein. It is a good source of the bioflavonoid quercetin with many other flavonoids which exhibits anti-oxidant, antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory antihistaminic, CNS depressant.
It also used to prevent the bone loss, which commonly osteoporosis. It has anti-inflammatory properties which cures the pain of arthritis. It is very good for heart and circulatory system as it has energy-boosting properties.
Spinach is an annual plant and it is native to central and southwestern Asia. It is commonly eaten in winter season by Indians.
The name spinach came from the Persian word ispanai which means green hand. It later became spanachia (latin). Now it is known as spinach. In ancient times it is known as prince of vegetables. This vegetable introduced in China as a gift from the King of Nepal. It come originally from northern Asia and is mentioned numerous times in the holy Bible. During the 16th, it was introduced into central Europe.
- Scientific name- Spincia oleracea Linn.
- Family– Chenopodiaceae.
- Ayurvedic: Paalankikaa
- Bangla: Palang
- English: Spinach
- Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi: Palak
- Sanskrit: Chhurika
- Siddha: Vasaiyila-keerai
- Tamil: Pasalai
- Telugu: Mathubucchali
- Unani: Paalak
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
- Superdivision: Spermatophyta
- Division: Magnoliophyta
- Class: Magnoliopsida
- Subclass: Caryophyllidae
- Order: Caryophyllales
- Family: Chenopodiaceae
- Genus: Spinacia L.
- Species: Spinacia oleracea L.
Description of plant
It is a leafy vegetable with broad, crisp, dark green leaves. It is quick maturing, cold season annual crop. It has stem which is erect from 30-60cm high, round, smooth, piped, succulent. It is sometimes reddish in color.
It has alternative leaves, the lower ones very long petioled, variously lobed with lobes of an acute triangular shape, smooth on both the side.
Male flowers have long terminal glomerate spikes and on shorter ones from the axial, very numerous, sessile, calyx 4-parted, stamen 4, anthers twin and are very large.
Females flowers are axillary, sessile, crowded, Calyx 2-tipped with a projection horn in each side, growing into spines when the seed in ripe.
Styles generally 4, white tapering.
The bottom of the leaf in shiny, with thick veins running across.
Its flowering time- is late spring to early autumn.
Nutrition (Values per 100 gms edible portion)
- Calorific Value: 17
- Carbohydrate: 2.9%
- Fat: 0.7%
- Fibre: 0.6%
- Minerals: 1.7%
- Moisture: 92.1%
- Protein: 2%
Minerals and Vitamins
- Calcium: 73 mg
- Folic acid: 127 mcg
- Iodine: 0.009 mg
- Iron: 10.9mg
- Niacin: 0.6mg
- Phosphorus: 21mg
- Potassium: 470mg
- Riboflavin: 0.20mg
- Vitamin A: 9420 I.U per 100 gm
- Vitamin C: 28mg
- Thiamine: 0.11mg
Amino acid (g per 100 g)
- Arginine: 6.4
- Histidine: 2.8
- Isoleucine: 5.4
- Leucine: 8.0
- Lysine: 7.6
- Methionine: 2.0
- Phenylalanine: 5.4
- Theronine: 3.4
- Tryptophen: 1.3
- Valine: 5.0
Health benefits of eating spinach
Spinach is very nutritious leafy vegetable. It offers numerous health benefits. In ancient times, the plant was used in diseases of blood and brain, asthma, leporsy, bilious disease, urine stones. It is also useful in controlling diabetes. The leaves of this plant have cooling effects and helps in controlling fever.
It acts as diuretic and laxative. It is useful in treatment of ring worm, scabies, leucoderma (white patches on skin.) burning in urine, flatulence, vomiting, inflammation of the lungs and the bowels, sore throat, pain in joints, thirst, lumbago, cold and sneezing, sore eye and worm diseases.
As we know from our school times, spinach rich in fibre which add bulk in stool to relieve from constipation. When fibre is consumed it can be fermented by the colonic microorganism to various gases like hydrogen and carbon dioxide. It may also pass through the large intestine and bind water, hence helps increasing stool weight.
It has rich source of vitamin A. It is seen that carotene of green leafy vegetables in better absorbed than that of yellow vegetables. It is rich source of iron and also contains copper.
As it contains rich amount of chlorophyll it is effective in treatment for various disease like blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, gastritis, ulcers, disease related to pancreas and liver, osteomyelitis, asthma, eczema, hemorrhoids, skin problems, fatigue, anemia, bad smell from mouth, correction body odor and constipation.
It is very useful in treatment of constipation as Spinach juice cleans the digestive tract by removing the accumulated waste products. It tones up the bowel movement. It is said that if any person has stubborn case of constipation, he must consume raw spinach juice, about one pint a day. It will cure his constipation.
Raw spinach helps cleansing, reconstruction and regeneration of the intestinal tract.
It helps in quickening the passage of stool.
It helps in treatment of anaemia, as it is source of high grade iron. It helps in formation of haemoglobin and red blood cells.
It is rich in Vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes growth and health of rods and cones found in eyes. So it is beneficial in treatment of night blindness.
Spinach is a rich source of calcium and other alkaline elements. It helps for keeping the tissues clean. It helps in preventing those chronic diseases which are due to formation of too much acid in the system. It helps in reducing gastric acidity.
Spinach is also considered as liver tonic. It helps in treatment of jaundice, general oedema of the body. It helps in toning of liver, gall bladder, blood and lymph circulation.
Spinach has a property of mucus clearing, so it helps in controlling respiratory diseases. When fresh leaves of spinach prepared with two teaspoonfuls of fenugreek seeds mixed with honey, it is useful in treatment of bronchitis, tuberculosis, asthma and dry cough. It also helps in treatment of respiratory infections.
It helps in lowering the body cholesterol level. It decreases the cases of cardiovascular disease. As spinach contains fibre, it absorbs and binds the cholesterol, hence prevents ot from dissolving in the bile acids.
It helps in preventing cancer, as it is rich source of antioxidants and anticancer compounds.
It helps in reducing type 2 diabetes as it has high magnesium content.
It helps in strengthening the gums. It prevents dental cavities. Chewing raw spinach leaves cures pyorrhoea. When a mixture of carrot juice and spinach juice, taken early in the morning. It can cure bleeding and ulcerated gums. As it contains rich amount of Vitamin C, it helps in curing scurvy. It helps in strengthening to the teeth and gums because of its high concentration of alkaline minerals.
As it is rich source of folic acid. It prevents megaloblastic anaemia in pregnancy. It is also good source of nutrition for nursing or lactating mothers and improves the quality of milk.
Leaves of spinach can be used as diuretic food (it increase the secretion and discharge of urine). It can be useful in treatment of cystitis, nephritis and scanty urination due to dehydration.
Spinach is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus. These all helps in bone formation. Green juice of spinach helps in making bones strong.
Spinach helps in reducing age related eye problems. It helps in lowering the risk of cataracts.
Seeds of spinach is useful in in following conditions:
- As laxative and cooling
- Diseases of brain and heart
- Inflammation of the liver and jaundice
- Urinary discharges
- Useful in treatment of difficulty in breathing
- Useful in urinary stones
- White discharge from vagina (known as leucorrhoea)
PRECAUTIONS AND ADVERSE REACTIONS
No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.
Due to relatively high nitrate content it is advisable to do not eat consuming spinach too often.
Spinach should not be left at room temperature for long duration to avoid nitrite formation.
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach (including parsley, green tea leaves, broccoli and cabbage) are well known to contain high levels of vitamin K. It may reduce the effectiveness of anticoagulants, increasing the risk of clotting. Intake of such foods should be limited, and the amount consumed daily should remain constant.
Oxalate content of spinach could reduce calcium resorption.