By Wasim Mohideen
30th July 2012 12:00 AM
People usually associate spinach with Popeye, the sailor, or with the expression, ‘Yuck, it's not tasty!’ Unfortunately, both associations are flawed. Yes, Popeye made spinach famous, but did you know that the scientist who discovered the nutritional aspects of spinach mistakenly misplaced a decimal point when it came to iron content, so everyone thought it was 10 times more iron-rich than it actually was! The flaw was discovered only in the 1930s. As for the taste, chefs around the world have made delicious dishes with spinach and it is now respected not just for its nutrient value, but also for its ability to blend with exotic dishes.
Spinach has a very high oxalate content that prevents absorption of iron, so even though the iron content is high in spinach (not as high as it was thought), the oxalates prevent the absorption of iron not just from spinach, but also from other dishes had with spinach. However, it was found that boiling spinach for one minute seems to substantially reduce the oxalate content and turn it into a very high iron rich greens — 6.5g/180g serving of spinach to be exact.
If we move away from iron, we will find that spinach is very high in Vitamin k, Vitamin A, manganese, folates and other good stuff. It has only about two per cent of calories, so it is a great super food that packs a punch with nutrients.
Research has found that spinach acts actively even on advanced bladder cancers, the only one
found to have that property. Its role in other advanced cancers are being studied.
That is not all, spinach has a lot of fat called glycoglyercerolipids, which are very important for cell repair and are now proven to protect the lining of the stomach and other gastrointestinal organs.
Do note that fresh spinach is more nutritious and research has shown the vitamin content of bright spinach is twice as much as pale spinach. Also, spinach should be boiled for one minute to remove the oxalate content, but any more boiling will reduce the benefit of the nutrients. You can add this super food to your diet as well.
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