He is strong to the finish because he eats Spinach. He is Popeye, the sailor man.
We are all familiar with this song from the famous cartoon character on television, Popeye the sailorman.
When faced with threats or challenges, mainly from his nemesis Bluto,
Popeye would pop open a can of spinach and gulp it down his throat to get superhuman strength.
Though the effect is exaggerated, spinach is no less a wonder vegetable. It is good for maintaining bone health and maintaining strength and vitality.
Interestingly, spinach is also considered a super food because it is loaded with nutrients and low in calories.
What is Spinach?
Spinach is a dark green leafy vegetable native to Central and Western Asia. It is believed to have originated from Persia.
There are mainly three spinach types, namely, flat spinach, savoy spinach, and semi- savoy spinach.
Spinach can be eaten fresh or processed with preservatives to be stored for later consumption.
By the 12th century, it found its way across Europe and quickly gained a reputation as a vegetable good for health.
An unverified account states that the Italian wife of France’s Henry II, Catherine de Medici, introduced Spinach to the court of France.
Also, to honor her Italian ancestry, any dish that had Spinach was referred to as a ‘Florentine’ dish.
What Does Spinach Taste Like? Does Spinach Taste Good?
A raw and fresh spinach leaf has a light taste. It is not bitter like some other leafy vegetables.
When raw, it is leafy and tastes like another leafy vegetable arugula. It is also easier to chew as it is softer.
But if it has lost its firmness, it can taste bitter. Baby spinach, however, does not taste bitter when wilted.
To overcome the bitterness of wilted Spinach, you would need to add seasoning. Wilted Spinach is denser and requires more chewing.
Because it tastes like other leafy vegetables, it goes along with other vegetables in a stew.
When you talk of Spinach’s health benefits, they are great for skin, hair, and bone health. No other vegetables can give you the benefits that Spinach provides.
The other significant health benefits of Spinach are:
- It has antioxidants like kaempferol, which fights oxidative stress to slow aging and prevent diseases like cancer and diabetes. It has two components, MGDG and SQDG, which can slow prostate and breast cancer growth.
- The lutein, zeaxanthin components in it makes it good for eye health
- The nitrate present in Spinach helps control blood pressure, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease.
3.5 ounces or 100 grams of raw Spinach has the following amount of nutrition:
- Water: 91%
- Calories: 23
- Protein: 2.9 grams
- Carbs: 3.6 grams
- Fiber: 2.2 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
- Sugar: 0.4 grams
How to Cook with Spinach?
Interestingly, most people seem to Spinach eaten raw because it has that slight tinge of bitterness and tastes great.
As such, it is the best vegetable for garnishing in many other dishes.
While raw spinach is commonly used in sandwiches, burgers, and vegetable salads, it can also be added as an additional ingredient in popular dishes like burritos, quesadillas.
Spinach is also a fantastic choice in vegetable pizzas. It can go along with any other vegetables like mushrooms and carrots.
In non-veg pizzas, they also make a great combination with sausage pizzas.
Another dish that you generously add spinach to is noodles. While it adds to more variety in veg noodles, chefs have also experimented the use of spinach even in non –veg noodles, and it seems to blend quite well.
Instead of preparing turkey meatballs the usual way, you could also try mixing finely chopped spinach with grounded turkey meat before frying the meatballs.
It is, in fact, quite an interesting experiment.
In many Asian countries, they are also consumed plain boiled and with very little herbs and spices. The soup tastes great and is healthy too!!
Meat is generally a favorite for most people. While meat provides protein and essential nutrients, too much consumption of meat can also be unhealthy.
Our body also needs an adequate supply of other micronutrients from plants to stay youthful and prevent numerous diseases.
That is why children are always told to eat vegetables like Spinach as it helps them stay young for long and keeps diseases away.