If you love Cartoon Network, you probably know about the all-time favorite cartoon character Popeye and his love interest, Olive. Popeye the Sailor Man debuted at Thimble Theater on January 17, 1929. He’s known for eating a can of spinach that gives him near-superhuman strength to overpower his archnemesis, Brutus. Popeye’s success and popularity saved the dying spinach industry, especially during the Great Depression, increasing spinach consumption by 33% in the United States alone.
While Popeye exaggerated the benefits of eating spinach (it does not give you superhuman strength), it still has many health benefits for your body. Keep reading and get to know more about this superfood!
A Brief History of Spinach
Spinach is a dark green leaf, and it can be dated as far back as the 7th century in ancient China. Even back then, the Chinese were popular for their love of teas and other natural resources. In the 14th century, the Spaniards acquired this vegetable from the Moors who came from Persia. From then on, spinach cultivation became popular in Europe and there came a time when no other vegetables grew except for spinach.
Spinach in the Modern Day World
Over time, spinach became known as a rich source of vitamins and other minerals. It supports many human organs like the heart, eyes, and bones. Its essential benefits to the human body make it a superfood packed with nutrients that can also be prepared easily. What else can spinach do for your body?
Manages Blood Sugar Levels
Spinach helps normalize your blood sugar because it has a considerable amount of alpha-lipoic acid compared to other foods.
Improves the Eyes
Rich in lutein, this carotenoid gives spinach its green color and is also a crucial part of the structure of the eye. Lutein shields the eye from damage caused by sun exposure. Our body does not generate lutein, and that’s why you have to add it to your diet.
Spinach is also rich in beta-carotene that is good for eye health, especially age-related disease prevention.
Improves Blood Circulation and Prevents Anemia
The water found in spinach keeps the viscosity of blood in check and allows it to flow smoothly. Spinach is filled with iron—the mineral that fortifies new red blood cells, and the one that maintains your hemoglobin at a normal level. Your blood will be healthier if it is well-oxygenated by controlling the hemoglobin level. Spinach also contains a high amount of nitrates that are used in stabilizing blood pressure.
Anemia is a disorder that occurs when your body fails to generate a sufficient amount of red blood cells. Iron deficiency is the typical cause of this condition. Children, menstruating, and pregnant women have a higher risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia.
Prevents Different Types of Cancer
Over a dozen different flavonoid compounds are found in spinach. This compound has anti-inflammatory properties and anti-cancer components. It is also proven effective in removing free radicals. These free radicals can cause oxidation in your system, leading to illnesses and aging.
Extracts of spinach have been used to slow down the division of stomach cancer cells and minimize the danger of skin cancer.
Strengthens the Bones
Calcium is essential in making your bones stronger, and Vitamin K is known to improve calcium retention. Spinach is rich in Vitamin K that binds calcium to your bones. A cup of steamed spinach has almost ten times the amount of Vitamin K you should eat in a day. Vitamin K helps in rebuilding bones and healing fractures. It is also the vitamin that you need to keep your teeth and nails in good shape.
More than Vitamin K, spinach contains copious amounts of Vitamin D. In fact, it’s one of the recommended vegetables you should eat when there isn’t enough sun out. Vitamin D improves bone density, and you need it to fortify your bones even more.
Keeps You Energetic
Consuming spinach gives you the necessary levels of magnesium that aids in generating energy for your daily activities. This vegetable is a great source of folate, which converts food into usable energy. Spinach is alkaline in nature, and you have to maintain your body alkalized to be energized all day long, and to prevent serious diseases.
Maintains Normal Blood Pressure
Nitrates are compounds that loosen up blood vessels improving blood circulation and easing the processes in your heart. Spinach is a good source of naturally occurring nitrates that are healthy for your blood pressure.
Helps in Weight Loss
Low in carbs but high in soluble fiber, spinach can help you lose weight. Having a fiber-rich diet gives you healthy digestion and prevents constipation. Adding a cup of spinach to your daily meal makes it easier for you to lose some weight. You can also drink spinach juice or a smoothie to detoxify your body and lose belly fat quicker.
Boosts Brain and Skin Health
Including spinach in your meal is beneficial for your brain because it is enriched with antioxidants like lutein, carotene, and Vitamin A. These are compounds that delay age-related brain diseases and help to maintain cognitive functions.
Vitamin A in spinach is an essential accommodator of sebum production. Sebum moisturizes hair and skin. This vitamin is also needed for the growth of different body tissues, including those in hair and skin.
Spinach is a rich source of Vitamin C, which is vital in increasing your hemoglobin levels. Vitamin C also improves skin quality with the production of collagen, but the best thing about this vitamin is that it supports the immune system. If you want to maximize Vitamin C absorption, consume raw spinach since Vitamin C is better absorbed that way. In case you don’t want to eat raw spinach, a cup of steamed spinach still contains 24% of your needed daily consumption.
The Vitamin C present in this vegetable does wonders for the enhancement of the gastrointestinal tract. Vitamin C, together with beta carotenes, protects the cells of the colon’s inner lining from the harmful effects of free radicals and other harmful bacterias. Consuming spinach also avoids any fusion of colon cells that leads to certain damages or worse, cancer.
Oxidative stress leads to asthma. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can fight and prevent oxidative stress. Lutein is also a good compound in treating asthma.
Keeps the Heart Healthy
Spinach facilitates omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy for the heart. Omega-3 is an essential fat that our bodies can’t produce and must get directly from food. Consumption of omega-3 has been linked to avoid eczema, lupus, strokes, cancer, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. This compound has been proven to help steady and regulate heartbeats. It also normalizes blood pressure and enhances blood vessel function.
Bonus Recipes that Will Make You Love Spinach More
Now that you know a lot about spinach and the things that it can do for your body, let us go to the easy-breezy spinach recipes that you’ll be itching to add to your meals. You’ll quickly find out that spinach is a versatile ingredient, and you will love it even more!
Chickpea Curry and Tomato Soup
This chickpea curry is made with a base of vegetable broth and creamy coconut milk—making it hearty, healthy, and delicious! Pair it with a fresh tomato soup that uses our Watermelon Whole Plant Juice Tonic for a gorgeous meal that you will be dreaming about for weeks.
- 8 medium tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt & pepper to taste
- ½ medium onion
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- ¼ cup Karviva’s Whole Plant Tonic
- 2 teaspoon dried basil
Vegan Chickpea Curry
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 1 16-ounce can chickpeas, drained, or 2 cups of cooked chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Ms. Dash Seasoning (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 1½ cup coconut milk
- 1½ tablespoon turmeric
- 1 cup spinach, packed
- ½ cup tomatoes, chopped
- A handful of cilantro, chopped (optional)
- 1 tablespoon squeezed lime juice (optional)
How to Cook:
- Begin by slicing your tomatoes and adding them to a baking pan.
- Drizzle olive oil on top of the tomatoes. Then sprinkle garlic powder, salt, and pepper over the and roast for 15 minutes at 375°F/190°C.
- After 15 minutes, add sliced onions to the tray and roast everything for an additional 15 minutes at 375°F/190°C.
- Once everything is done roasting, transfer your tomatoes and onions over to a medium-sized pot.
- Then add vegetable broth (stock), Karviva’s Whole Plant Tonic Juice, and dried basil to your pot.
- Turn the heat on low to simmer your soup for about 10 minutes until most of the liquid is gone.
- Once the tomato soup has simmered for 10 minutes, use an immersion blender to blend it all together until smooth. (See notes if you don’t have an immersion blender)
- Turn off the heat, set aside the soup covered in your pot, and begin with the vegan chickpea curry.
Vegan Chickpea Curry
- In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions. Stir frequently until the onion is softened and starting to brown.
- Next add the chickpeas, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, Ms. Dash Seasoning (optional), salt, and pepper; stir and cook for 60 seconds to fully coat and toast the chickpeas.
- Then you are going to add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, and turmeric powder. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Simmer the vegan chickpea curry for about 10–15 minutes until liquid in the skillet has reduced and thickened.
- Once the chickpea curry has thickened, add the tomatoes, spinach, cilantro, and lime. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2–3 minutes until the spinach has wilted.
- Serve hot with your tomato soup!
Easy Avocado Hummus with Karviva’s Avo-Keto Whole Plant Smoothie
This hummus showcases the wholesome flavors of avocado, ginger, and coconut. A bowl of this tasty goodness goes great with some fresh veggies or warm flatbreads, perfect for a mid-summer picnic!
- 2 cups chickpeas, cooked and drained
- ¾ cup Karviva’s Avo-Keto
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- A handful of basil leaves
- A pinch of black pepper, coarse
In a food processor or high-speed blender, process all of the ingredients until smooth. Then, pour the mixture into a bowl. Add some pine nuts, virgin olive oil, basil leaves, and a pinch of coarse black pepper. Enjoy!
Health is wealth, and you have to do everything to keep fit and healthy. Aside from your environment, lifestyle, and activities, what you consume determines your quality of life. If you want to make a difference to your health, you must be careful with the food you eat. Spinach does wonders in your system, so make sure to incorporate it in your meals from now on.
However, be careful with consuming too much spinach as it contains oxalates that lead to kidney stones. Prevent this by neutralizing the oxalates—steam the spinach or pour lemon juice on it before you eat it. Finally, aim to buy organic spinach because commercial variants are typically infused with chemicals that might be dangerous to your body.
Aside from spinach, live a healthy life by consuming colorful fruits and vegetables, getting enough sleep, drinking water, and exercising daily. Starting today, be a role model and show it with what you eat!