(NaturalNews) Can just one green, leafy vegetable prevent cancer, help one achieve weight loss goals, lower blood pressure, strengthen the heart, and even prevent birth defects? Spinach is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Manganese, Folate, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B 2 (Riboflavin), Calcium, Potassium, and Vitamin B 6. The strong natural mineral and vitamin content in spinach can be an effective source of healing for a multitude of health ailments. One cup of boiled spinach produces 41.4 calories with a whopping 1100% daily value percentage of Vitamin K in just one serving.
Spinach has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It is known in Ayurveda to be a cooling medicine that enriches one`s complexion. Spinach is used in Ayurveda as a headache remedy by bandaging spinach leaves onto the forehead. It is still promoted today, in Ayurvedic ways, as a sleep remedy for insomnia. While old Ayurveda texts claim spinach to be an aphrodisiac, modern medicines have linked the consumption of spinach to decreased hearing loss in men over 60.
Folate, a mineral found in high amounts in spinach, has been shown to reduce high blood pressure and inflammation of blood vessels. The chemical version of folate, folic acid, has long been associated with lower rates of birth defects when taken orally during pregnancy.
Eating raw spinach is a popular choice but not the best choice for everyone. Spinach is high in oxalic acid when ingested raw. Oxalic acids can produce damage to blood vessels. Some people may produce symptoms such as gout, arthritis, and rheumatism after eating large quantities of raw spinach. These acids can cause kidney stones and gallstones in people with lower renal functions.
However, oxalic acid can be lowered in spinach by boiling. Frequently change the water the spinach cooks in by boiling, draining the cooking water, boiling again, and then rinsing before consumption. This will greatly lower the oxalic acids present. The nutritional value of spinach does reduce with cooking, yet it still remains one of the most excellent sources for bountiful natural nutrients available.
Choosing spinach wisely is an extremely important factor according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG has compiled a list of vegetables most affected by pesticide use. Spinach tested as the eighth most likely to carry a large amount of pesticides after washing.
Organic fresh spinach from local growers is an excellent choice for consumption. Storing spinach in a refrigerated airtight container after preparation can lend creative uses of spinach in the kitchen. Taking advantage of spinach`s excellent vitamin and mineral content can be as easy as adding already prepared spinach to soups, sweet smoothies, green smoothies, and dips.