Be Spinach Strong

by Nutrition


Be Spinach Strong

Popeye the Sailor Man is a character developed in 1929 by Elzie Crisler Segar. Popeye was famous for eating spinach and becoming super strong whenever he ate a can of it. But, the humble roots of spinach began long before Popeye pushed it into the national light. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) can be dated back thousands of years to Persia, spreading to China in the 1600s, and Europe in the 1800s.

Nowadays, it is still a very popular plant, even on the scientific frontier. MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) students have been working on creating plant explosive detectors out of spinach (click the link here for more information). Additionally, research at the American University in Washington, D.C. is looking into it as a natural catalyst for batteries. Maybe there is truth behind Popeye’s story after all!

This leafy green is a low calorie food, and it contains iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin K, and some B vitamins. It also contains one-third of your daily requirement of vitamin C. On top of that it is loaded with antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory, supports spatial memory, and has antibacterial effects. Many of these benefits are according to animal studies. One small human study looked at spinach and how it improved nitric oxide status. Nitric oxide can improve blood vessel function and support a healthy blood pressure. Additionally, research has shown fruit and vegetable intake has been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and all-causes of mortality.

Spinach can be eaten cooked or raw. It can be purchased from your local grocery store fresh (best if grown locally), frozen, or canned. Fresh or frozen is always best. Last but not least, it’s important to note spinach contains oxalates which bind with minerals, making them harder to absorb. Also, diets higher in oxalates can lead to kidney stone formation in some people, so be sure to eat a variety of whole foods in moderation.


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