Even before the term “Superfood” became vogue, centuries ago, many people knew of spinach’s health and wellness benefits and, if there had been such a term back then, certainly “Spinach the Superfood” would have been three words put together in sentences a great deal.
Moms in the USA during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, used to have a hard time getting their kids to eat spinach; I know I was one of those kids, because it was usually canned spinach, not fresh, and if not seasoned well or mixed into a tasty dish as one ingredient, well … it just didn’t taste good.
But anyone growing up during that era will remember Popeye the Sailor Man, the immensely popular newspaper and TV cartoon character who, after popping open a can of spinach and slugging it down in one gulp, would transform into a bulging forceps super hero who cud whup bad guys three times his size. US spinach growers reported a 33% increase in spinach consumption in the years right after Popeye became popular, and they contributed that increase to kids wanting to imagine being like Popeye, so they would eat the stuff.
Score one for Mom, thank you, Popeye.
But even with Popeye’s bulging muscles and popularity, spinach did not really catch on in American households as a favored meal dish until the advent of “health foods”, vegetarianism and veganism, and the general rising in awareness of how important what we put in our bodies is to our health. That began with the Hippie movement in the mid-60s, and gained momentum throughout the entire population all the way into the 80s.
Today, people read the (legally required) labels on foods being sold. They want to know exactly what is in it, how many calories per serving, what if any “additives” in contains, its nutritional value, etc. And “fresh” foods are now known to be usually the “best” foods to eat. We have even seen a growth in popularity of eating only raw foods, with study after study confirming that cooking food destroys many or even all of a fresh food’s enzymes, and enzymes are essential to the human body for good health.
Enzymes assist the body in assimilating the nutrients from carbohydrates, fats, plant fibers and proteins. They also play a major role in aiding the necessary chemical reactions that take place in the human body, including elimination of waste products, bolstering the immune system, and the regeneration of cells. For an excellent article on what enzymes are and what they do for you, click here.
But I digress. Back on point …
With the advent of healthy eating habits, the growth of available “health food” stores, health-food co-ops, etc., awareness of what foods are good and best for you, and the search for the absolute best foods, came the era of the Superfruits and Superfoods.
And that is when spinach, the much maligned and looked down upon leafy little vegetable that kids would not eat for so many years, and the adults they turned into kept that prejudice, took another look at spinach and gave it another chance, and became a hit!
Bearing witness to this resurgence in contemporary popularity, in March, 2005, the magazine, Bon Appetit, in its annual survey, reported that fully 56 percent of the respondents claimed spinach to be their favorite vegetable!
By this time, the word was out, and our little green friend was known and loved as …
Spinach the Superfood!
Here are some things about Spinach the Superfood, some of them fun facts, that you should know:
- Spinach has more than a dozen flavonoid compounds that act as anti-cancer and anti-inflammation agents. Of all the healthy veggies, like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli, spinach alone has been proven by researchers to have the capacity to supply sufficient protection against the onset of aggressive prostate cancer.
- Spinach the Superfood is chocked full of Vitamins, such as D, K, and A, as well as a plethora of trace minerals.
- Spinach alkalizes the body. The many minerals help to balance off any diet high in acidity—which is quite common in society today.
- Spinach is good for your eyes. It contains carotenoids, which ward off eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Spinach the Superfood is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids—exactly the type most North Americans need.
- Spinach is good for your bones! Did you know that just one cup of fresh spinach contains two times your daily vitamin K requirements? Just one-sixth of a cup of cooked spinach will supply the same. Add to that all the calcium and magnesium, all of which are needed for strong, durable bones, and trust me—your bones consider Spinach the Superfood as a top priority in your diet!
- Spinach is not only great in salads, try using it in your next “green smoothie”. Almost all major grocery stores now carry fresh, organic spinach, and the natural sweetness of (fresh) spinach goes great combined with other green good-for-what-ails-you ingredients in a healthy power smoothie.
- Spinach should be eaten fresh. It loses nutritional value every day after it is picked. How can you tell if the spinach is still fresh and at its nutritional peak? By the color and feel. It should be a bright, glowing green, as well as have firm, supple leaves. As soon as that green begins to fade and the leaves look and feel limp, pass it up and move on down the aisle—find a bunch or package that is still bright green with firm leaves.
- Today in the USA, California is the top producer of Spinach the Superfood.
- Artists in the Medieval era used spinach, extracting its brilliant green oils, to use in their inks and paint making.
- The USA is second in production of Spinach the Superfood, taking a back seat only to China, the world’s largest producer.
A couple minor, but cautionary things, you should know about Spinach the Superfood:
- Only eat fresh, certifiably organic spinach. The difference between organic spinach and spinach grown with the aids of pesticides is, well, they are health-wise diametric opposites. Non-organic spinach is on the dreaded list of top, worst foods to eat, containing more carcinogenic agents than you can shake your dismayed head at. Eat it fresh, and only eat it organically grown.
- Along with the numerous and high content of all the nutrients Spinach the Superfood has, it also contains a considerably high level of oxalic acid. This is not a problem for most people, but if you are someone that has had, or still does have, a kidney problem, you probably should seek a dietary physician’s counsel before deciding on whether or not to include it in your diet, and if so, how much to include.
So there you have it. If you’ve not yet been introduced to the many benefits of spinach the superfood, or maybe you are like I was, a kid who developed a prejudice against it as a kid, hey—give spinach another try. Eat it raw in salads, include it in your power smoothies, and look around this site, where you will find many delicious dishes that include that marvelously tasty and healthy …
Spinach the Superfood!
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