Historical Facts about Spinach.
Spinach was originally grown in Iran. It was introduced to China in the 7th century and to Europe around the 12th century.
The word ‘spinach’ is derived from ‘ispanai’ meaning green hand. In Latin, it became ‘spanachia’, which evolved into the present word.
Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as an ink or paint.
‘Florentine’ is a common part of names of recipes where spinach is the significant ingredient. This is because a 16th century Queen of France, Catherine de’ Medici, a lover of spinach, was a native of Florence.
During World War I, wine was reinforced with spinach juice and given to haemorrhaging French soldiers, in the belief that the high levels of vitamin K that it contains would thicken their blood and save them.
In the 1930s, U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye, a cartoon character, with a 33% increase in sales. Popeye’s creator, E.C. Segar was a vegetarian and as a way of promoting the benefits of vegetables, he boosted his character’s strength with a known iron-rich food.
A Crazy Fact About Spinach.
Spinach can neutralise explosives. In a study, The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that nitroreductase enzymes naturally found in it can eat, digest and transform explosives like TNT. These enzymes can turn explosives into low toxicity byproducts that can be reduced further to harmless products like carbon dioxide and water!
Health Benefits of Spinach
Promotes hair growth.
Spinach contains a good amount of iron; approximately 3.57 mg. Iron carries red blood cells around your body. One of its functions is to help to prevent hair loss.
Helps to improve eye health.
It contains lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that have been found to benefit cataracts and age-related blindness.
Can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
If you eat approximately 128g of spinach every day, your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is reduced by 14%.
May help to reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Spinach contains two components known as MGDG and SQDG which may slow down cancer growth. In 1 study, these compounds helped slow tumour growth in a woman’s cervix and decreased the size of the tumour.
Also, several human studies link spinach consumption to a reduced risk of prostate cancer and one study noted that spinach might suppress cancer cells forming.
Helps to decrease your risk of heart disease.
Spinach contains high amounts of nitrates which have been shown to help moderate blood pressure levels. In one study, the blood pressure of 27 people was lowered after eating spinach.
Promotes immune health.
Spinach is high in antioxidants which are known to help to protect your immune system.
Helps to strengthen your bones.
Spinach is high in vitamin K. Low intakes of this vitamin have been associated with an increased risk of bone fractures.
Helps with weight loss.
The ‘thylakoids’ in the spinach cells which give spinach its green colour, satiate appetites, therefore helping you lose weight. Also, there is only about 23 calories in 100g of spinach.
Can help to prevent constipation.
Spinach is high in fibre and water.
The high content of vitamin K in spinach can cause blood clotting and could interfere with the effects of medications like Warfarin.
I mainly eat spinach leaves. I eat them in curries and in pasta dishes. I also eat them raw in sandwiches and salads but cooking spinach intensifies their health benefits.
When I was little, I remember being told that if I eat spinach, I’d be really strong, like Popeye!
Sources: mobile-cuisine.com, thefactsite.com, justfunfacts.com, Amazingfacts4u.com, mensjournal.com, fillyourplate.org, bbcgoodfood.com, healthline.com, medicalnewstoday.com, womenshealthmag.com, livescience.com