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Spinach, Spinacia oleracea / Chenopodiaceae
Benefits for the health
Spinach, like many other green vegetables, are an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, pro-vitamin A carotenoid betacarotene and the non-provitamin A carotenoid lutein. It is also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E and folate, a vitamin of the B group. The term folate comes from the Latin word " folium", that means leaf, since originally this vitamin was isolated from the spinach leaf.

Green vegetables are an important source of folate in the diet. Traditionally, folate had a strong relation with the normal development of cells, although some new functions have been identified recently. It has been stated that a higher ingestion of folate is important to enjoy a healthy pregnancy, and at the same time it protects against cardiovascular diseases and cancer, particularly colon and the uterus neck cancer. Folate takes part in the mental operation. Children in school period with an insufficient consumption of folate had worse results and paid less attention than those with a suitable consumption. Elderly people with an insufficient consumption of folate show a smaller degree of independence and functional capacity in comparison with those whose consumption is more satisfactory.

Lutein, also occurring in spinach, is concentrated in a particular area of the eye (macula) so it may protect against degenerative ageing processes in this organ.
Popular tradition
Spinach is a re-mineralizer of great value, anti-anaemic, cardiac tonic, anti-scurvy and purifier of the digestive channels, reason why it is recommended in case of anaemia, convalescence, scurvy, senility, growth, rickets, physical and nervous asthenia, constipation, pregnancy and to women who suffer great losses during the period.

It is necessary to demystify the spinach as a valuable source of iron, benefiting the processing of anaemia, because this element occurs in great amounts, but it is barely absorbed by our organism.

Its external use is indicated in case of burns, sores and herpes.

Nevertheless, spinach have a series of contraindications. Hepatic, rheumatic, arthritic people and those who suffer from gout and kidney stones must not eat spinach, along with people prone to decalcification, gastric or intestinal inflammatory disorders, since it is extremely rich in purines and formation of potassium and calcium oxalates.

Due to its sodium content, spinach must not be consumed by people with a diet poor in salt. Hytperclohidric people must also refrain from consuming this vegetable, since the secretin contained in it causes gastric secretion.
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