Spinach is a leaf vegetable.
Botanical name: Spinacia oleracea
Common name: spinach
Origin: Spinach was first cultivated in Persia (now called Iran). The Chinese refer to spinach as the herb of Persia. Spinach was introduced into northern Africa through Syria and Arabia. In 1100 the Moors introduced spinach to Spain, where it spread through Europe. Spinach is now grown in most temperate regions of the world.
Spinach has about twice the amount of iron per serving as other iron-rich green vegetables. Iron enters the body as either heme iron or nonheme iron. All of the iron in plants is nonheme iron, which absorbs into the body slowly. Mixing vitamin C with spinach can increase iron absorption. Only about 10% of the iron in spinach gets absorbed into the human body. Because spinach has a high levels of oxalate, it can actually remove iron from the body.
Spinach has a great deal of calcium, but the human body can only absorb 5% of the calcium in spinach (as contrasted with being able to absorb half of the calcium from broccoli). The high oxalate content of spinach decreases the absorption of calcium. Oxalate can contribute to gout and kidney stones, especially if combined with excessive vitamin D.
Fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled spinach is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and several vital antioxidants. Spinach is a source of folic acid (and was the source of the first purified form of folic acid). Boiling spinach destroys the folic acid. A half cup of spinach has about one half the recommended daily supply of beta carotene.
Eating a half-pound of strawberries or spinach has as much antioxidant effect as high doses of vitamin C, helping the body defuse oxygen radicals that can damage cells, as reported by Ronald L. Prior and Guochua Cao of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, Mass. Women were fed juice made from strawberry and spinach extracts from 8 to 10 ounces of fresh produce. Drinking red wine increased the antioxidants circulating the blood by 15%. Drinking the strawberry or spinach juice or 1,250 milligrams of Vitamin C resulted in a 20% increase.
Spinach helps keep the liver clean and healthy.
Chinese gender: yin (cool)
Chinese flavor: sweet
According to some jazz musicians, Popeye the Sailor Man eating spinach with a pipe was a metaphor for a guy smoking cannabis in order to win the love of a woman (Olive Oyl). Olive Oyl also stood for small family farmer and Bluto stood for big business.