Spinach is an edible flowering plant set in the family Amaranthaceae. It’s scientifically called Spinacia oleracea. It is an annual plant attaining a length of 30 cm. The plant is rarely biennial. In the temperate areas the plant can even survive in the winter months. They are 2-30 cm long and 1-15cm wide. The larger leaves are present at the bottom of the plant while small leaves are found around the flowering area. The flowers are inconspicuous, yellow-green and 3-4 mm in diameter. They mature into a tiny, hard, dry, lumpy fruit bunch which steps 5-10 mm.
The word spinach comes from an Arabic word. Spinach is of considerable importance from nutritional point of view. It’s rich in antioxidants especially if 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, Wildlife Removal, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. A present study has shown that spinach also contains opioid peptides known as rubiscolins. Polyglutamyl folate is a very important 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 regarded as a fantastic source of iron. According to an estimate of United States Department of Agriculture 180 grams 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 depends upon its absorption which is affected by a number of factors. All the iron present in grains, vegetables and three-fifth of the animal foods contains non-heme iron. The remaining fraction of meats contains heme iron. The iron is poorly absorbed unless and until consumed by a source of vitamin C. spinach contains iron absorption inhibiting factors along with high levels of oxalate which creates ferrous oxalate upon binding with iron. This form is unstable and can not be consumed 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 resources. There are three forms of spinach available commercially. These are savoy, semi-savoy and smooth or flat leaf spinach. Savoy spinach has dark green, crinky and curled leaves. It’s marketed in fresh bunches. They’re resistant to bolting. The flat or smooth leaf spinach bears smooth leaves and it’s not hard to clean this variety as compared to savoy variety. This is very popularly used in soups, processed foods and baby foods. It has the same texture just like that of the savoy spinach and is a lot easier to be cleaned out. It is developed for fresh and processed foods. Spinach is sold in loose, bunched, prepackaged bags, canned or frozen forms. Fresh spinach loses much of its nutritional value after being stores 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 spinach, becoming physically stronger after consuming it.