Spinach

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Spinach is an edible flowering plant placed in the family Amaranthaceae. It’s scientifically known as Spinacia oleracea. It is an annual plant attaining a length of 30 cm. The plant is rarely biennial. In the temperate regions the plant can even survive in the wintertime. They may be 2-30 cm long and 1-15cm broad. The larger leaves are found in the bottom of the plant while little leaves are found around the flowering area. The flowers are inconspicuous, yellow-green and 3-4 millimeters in diameter. They mature into a small, hard, dry, Critter Control, lumpy fruit cluster which steps 5-10 mm.

The term spinach comes from an Arabic word. Spinach is of substantial importance from nutritional viewpoint. It is rich in antioxidants especially when fresh, steamed or quickly boiled. It is a potent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. A present study has indicated that spinach also contains opioid peptides called rubiscolins. Polyglutamyl folate is a vital component of cells and spinach is a rich source of folic acid. Boiling the spinach leaves reduces folate content but microwaving doesn’t affect the folate content.

Spinach along with other green leafy vegetables is considered to be a fantastic source of iron. According to an estimate of United States Department of Agriculture 180 g of boiled spinach comprises 6.43 mg of iron, whereas one 170 g ground hamburger patty contains at most 4.42 mg. The bioavailability of iron is dependent upon its absorption which is affected by a number of factors. Each of the iron present in grains, vegetables and three-fifth of the animal foods comprises non-heme iron. The remaining fraction of meats contains heme iron. The iron is consumed unless and until consumed by a supply of vitamin C. spinach contains iron absorption inhibiting factors together with high levels of oxalate which forms ferrous oxalate upon binding with iron. This form is unstable and can’t be absorbed in body.

Spinach also has high calcium content. However oxalate in spinach also binds with calcium ands thus declines its absorption. Calcium and zinc also limit iron absorption. Calcium in spinach is bioavailable of calcium sources. There are three types of spinach available commercially. These are savoy, semi-savoy and smooth or flat leaf spinach. Savoy spinach has dark green, crinky and curly leaves. It is marketed in new bunches. They are resistant to bolting. The smooth or flat leaf spinach bears smooth leaves and it’s easy to clean this variety as compared to savoy variety. This is very popularly used in soups, processed foods and baby foods. Semi-savoy is a hybrid variety with slightly crinkled leaves. It has the same texture just like that of the savoy spinach and is a lot easier to be cleaned out. It’s developed for fresh and processed foods. Spinach is sold in loose, bunched, prepackaged bags, canned or frozen forms. Fresh spinach loses much of its nutrient value after being shops in refrigerator for few days. A lot of the folate and carotenoid content of spinach becomes lost upon storage. The cartoon character Popeye the Sailor Man is portrayed as having a strong affinity for lettuce, getting physically stronger after swallowing it.