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Spinach is an amazing herb, widely known throughout the world for its incredibly beneficial properties and chemical composition. However, in Russia it has not yet gained such popularity as abroad.
Salad is especially popular in France. This plant can be easily grown both in a garden bed and in a pot on a windowsill.
So what is this seemingly inconspicuous vegetable useful for? In the article we will tell you about the medicinal qualities of spinach and its juice for the human body, as well as how to use it for various diseases.
Medicinal qualities of a vegetable and its juice for the human body
- Promotes weight loss (read about the use of spinach for weight loss here).
- Helps Fight Cancer. It slows down the division of cancer cells. Prevents the occurrence of dangerous prostate and breast cancers. Eliminates carcinogenic substances from the body.
- Improves vision. Protects the eyes from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Filters out harmful light rays from hitting the cornea. Reduces the risk of age-related eye diseases including macular degeneration. Protects vulnerable tissues in the retinal area from oxidative stress, which can lead to blindness, cataracts and other complications.
- Supports bone strength and density. Provides the body with a large amount of calcium, which prevents the occurrence of osteoporosis.
- Reduces the manifestation of hypertension. Helps reduce stress and anxiety.
- Promotes gastrointestinal health.
- Protects against cognitive and neurological disorders. Protects the brain from age-related diseases and repairs brain cells damaged by stroke. Promotes the health of the nervous system and the proper functioning of the brain.
- It has anti-inflammatory properties. Helpful for preventing inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, headaches, migraines, and asthma.
- Boosts immunity. Strengthens mucous membranes, respiratory tract, urinary system. Protects the immune system from bacteria, viruses, toxins and other harmful substances that can cause various diseases.
- Prevents anemia.
- Helps cope with diabetes. Increases glucose metabolism and helps keep blood sugar stable. Reduces the risk of complications that can arise from diabetes (eg, heart disease, blindness, nerve damage, numbness in the limbs).
For stomach health
In the East, spinach is called a stomach broom. And for good reason. It contains a large amount of fiber and sugars, therefore it is an excellent aid for constipation. By gently stimulating intestinal peristalsis, it promotes emptying and cleansing the body of harmful substances. And drinking freshly squeezed juice is a great way to cleanse the body.
Spinach has a positive effect on the reproductive system, contributes to the correct formation of the genitals in adolescents. In addition, it increases potency and activates the production of testosterone. It is known that men are more likely to have heart attacks or strokes - regular consumption of spinach is an excellent preventive measure in this case.
When exercising, spinach can help you gain muscle mass quickly.
We described all the benefits and harms of spinach for men's health in another article.
Spinach has anti-aging properties and is therefore widely used in cosmetology. It is also an excellent dietary product. It is very beneficial to eat spinach during your period. The plant compensates for the lack of iron with abundant secretions, eliminates pain in the lower back and lower abdomen. But it is especially often recommended during pregnancy and hepatitis B:
- During pregnancy. Spinach contains almost all vitamins and microelements necessary during this period. A huge plus is the presence of folic acid in it, which strengthens the structure of the fetus and improves the process of hematopoiesis.
- When breastfeeding. Naturally, first of all, spinach saturates the body of the mother and child with the necessary nutrients. In addition, it has a beneficial effect on the hormonal system and helps to restore strength after childbirth. However, if a baby suddenly develops an allergy, then spinach should be immediately excluded.
You will learn about the benefits and contraindications to the use of spinach for women by reading this article.
Benefits for children
Spinach can help relieve bloating and constipation and improve bowel function. It saturates the body with calcium, vitamins and prevents anemia. In addition, this vegetable is extremely beneficial for eyesight and has a beneficial effect on the nervous system.
It should be remembered that spinach is contraindicated in certain diseases. In order not to harm the child's body, before introducing spinach into the diet, be sure to consult a pediatrician.
In a separate article, you will learn about the age at which you can give spinach to children and how it is useful for a small body.
In the photo below you can see what it is - spinach, how it looks fresh.
In addition, spinach contains:
- alimentary fiber
- organic acids.
You will learn more about what spinach is rich in and what its calorie content is in this material.
Is it better for you - raw or processed?
A unique feature of this herbaceous plant is that during heat treatment it retains most of the nutrients. Of course, fresh spinach is more beneficial, but in this form it is better to eat young leaves. Infusion of spinach and juice squeezed out of it are of great benefit to the body. To reduce the harmful effects of oxalic acid, it is advised to extinguish the leaves in milk.
Dried and frozen
The fact is that fresh spinach is not recommended to be stored for more than 2 days. And since it is quite difficult to find fresh leaves in winter, many often try to prepare spinach leaves for the winter by freezing or drying them. When frozen, spinach retains all the same beneficial properties as fresh spinach. But, unlike fresh, it does not contain nitrates, so it is safer.
After defrosting, spinach is stewed or boiled; it is forbidden to re-freeze the plant. Dried spinach is a treasure trove of vitamins, so necessary for us in the cold season. The product can be added to any dishes, salads, sauces, side dishes. Surprisingly, dry spinach contains more iron than fresh spinach. But fresh leaves contain 90% water, while dried leaves contain only 35%.
You can store dried spinach for about six months in a dark place. Dried spinach is often used as a dietary supplement.
Not many people know that not only the leaves are edible, but also the roots of spinach. They are also very beneficial for the body, as they contain almost all of the same vitamins and minerals as the leaves. However, unlike the leaves, the root does not contain beta-carotene, fiber, saponins. It also contains much less protein and calcium.
You will find tips on how to properly prepare and eat it in another article.
What is the possible harm, and who should not eat the vegetable?
Despite the enormous benefits, the vegetable also has contraindications. Spinach should be excluded from the diet when:
- salt deposits;
- the content of sand or stones in the bladder and bile ducts;
- kidney disease;
- peptic ulcer;
- gastritis with high acidity.
What else can a vegetable be harmful to the body, is it an allergen or not? Spinach can cause heartburn, in which case you just don't need to eat it fresh. And it is undesirable to use spinach juice more than 2 times a week, especially with a sedentary lifestyle.
Separately, let's say about the age at which children can be given, whether babies have allergies. For children, this plant can be introduced into the diet from the age of 6 months, however, this should be done with caution, as it can cause an allergic reaction.
If even the slightest sign of allergy appears (rash, swelling, etc.), spinach should be immediately excluded from the diet and consult a doctor.
In addition, spinach can cause:
- stomach upset;
- the formation of kidney stones;
- development of gout;
- toxic reaction.
Application for diseases
Only fresh and young leaves can be eaten, since spinach contains oxalic acid, which has a negative effect on the diseased pancreas. You can also boil spinach leaves in milk to neutralize harm.
For this you will need:
- Spinach - 3 bunches.
- Milk - 150 ml.
- Rinse the spinach leaves well and cut into large pieces.
- Before cooking, it must be washed or beaten off.
- Pour milk into a saucepan, bring to a boil and add spinach.
- Simmer until the milk has partially evaporated.
There is no specific dosage of this dish for patients with pancreatitis; often, spinach is generally recommended to be excluded from the diet.
If the disease develops against the background of low acidity of the stomach, then spinach will be very useful. But if the acidity in the stomach is increased, then it is advisable to exclude spinach from the menu altogether.
With this disease, you can add a delicious spinach soup to your diet:
- Garlic - 4 cloves.
- Onions - 1 pc.
- Egg - 2 pcs.
- Butter - 130 g.
- Milk - 500 ml.
- Spinach - 300 g (fresh) or 150 g (frozen).
- Cream - 250 ml.
- Water - 2 glasses.
- Melt 50 g of butter, mix with flour and fry until flour turns pink, let cool.
- Wash and chop the spinach leaves.
- Peel and chop the garlic and onion.
- Eggs only need yolks - they need to be beaten.
- Fry the garlic and onion in the remaining butter.
- Add spinach, cover with water and cook until the leaves are soft.
- Mix milk and yolks, add all other ingredients to them.
- Now let the soup boil.
- Stir occasionally to avoid burning.
For acute gastritis, it is better to exclude garlic from the recipe.
Spinach stimulates the secretion of insulin from the pancreas, therefore, for diabetics (the second type of disease), this vegetable is simply irreplaceable. At least 150 g of spinach should be consumed per day, even for people who do not suffer from diabetes - this will reduce the risk of its occurrence by almost 20%.
You can, for example, add a spinach cocktail to your diet:
- Spinach - 100 g.
- Water - 220 ml.
- Banana - 0.5 pcs.
- Cucumber - 1 pc.
- First of all, grind the washed spinach in a blender.
- Add half of the amount of water taken, beat again.
- Add the peeled cucumber, banana, remaining water and chop until smooth.
From the amount of ingredients taken, you will get 2 servings of the cocktail.
Is it possible or not to eat a vegetable for gout? Spinach can still be added to the diet, but in limited quantities. From time to time, you can add lettuce leaves to dishes (soups, salads, casseroles, drinks, etc.), but do not lean on it too much and, if possible, replace it with other vegetables.
Spinach face masks are very popular. There are a lot of them, but there are 3 main recipes that are the most common and effective.
- Anti-aging. Boil 50-100 g of leaves in milk to a state of gruel. Put the resulting mass on cheesecloth and apply to the face for 20 minutes. Rinse and then apply a nourishing cream.
- Nutritious. Pour boiling water over 100 g of leaves (0.5 cups). Let it brew, then add 1 tsp. carrot juice, 1 tbsp. honey and a few drops of essential oil. Stir and apply to face and neck. Hold for 20 minutes, then rinse with cool green tea and apply cream.
- Whitening. Grind 100 g spinach, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and a little lemon juice. Apply to face for 20 minutes and rinse with cold water.
Spinach is not recommended for colitis, due to the content of the same oxalic acid in it. However, it can be added to the diet in small amounts if the disease is in a stable remission stage. However, in this case, it is imperative to consult with your doctor. If he permits, then preference should be given to young leaves.
Can I give to guinea pigs, dogs, rabbits, hamsters?
Spinach plays an important role not only in cooking and cosmetology, but due to its chemical composition, it is excellent as feed for many animals.
- Guinea pigs it is necessary to give the leaves of young plants, which contain many vitamins, as well as rich in protein and salts of iron, phosphorus and calcium. Since spinach leaves wither quickly, this plant will have to be frozen, canned or dried for long-term storage.
- Dogs. Spinach is often included in dog food because it is well absorbed by dogs and contains many nutrients that a pet needs. But do not overfeed, after all, greens are a supplement, not the main food.
- Hamsters. It is advisable to give spinach at least once a week, especially to rodents who suffer from constipation and diseases of the digestive system.
- Rabbits. Rabbit spinach should be fed in moderation as it is high in oxalates and goitrogens.
Unfortunately, in Russia, spinach, despite its usefulness, is not as widespread a plant as abroad. But gradually it takes an increasing place in the diet of the Russian person. It not only perfectly enhances the taste of any dish as a seasoning, but, often, it is also its main ingredient. Pleasant taste and extraordinary benefits - these are the main features of spinach, after all, not all products meet these two qualities at the same time.
We suggest watching a video about the beneficial and harmful properties of spinach: