botanical name: Spinacia oleracea
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The spinach is a biennial vegetables and it's part of the the amaranthacee family. Of this vegetable there is only one species with the scientific name Spinacia oleracea.
Origins and history
The origins of the spinach are Asian in particular the western and central part of the continent, in fact this vegetable was already known and used by the Arabs. Spinach makes its appearance in Europe around 1000 A.D. when it was brought to Spain following the conquest of this country by the Moors fighters.
Later it was introduced in Italy, when the Saracens managed to conquer Sicily region. At the beginning, however, it wasn't considered an important food, so much so that it became only in the nineteenth century when they realized the great nutritional properties of this vegetable so good. Obviously not only the Arabs consumed it, but also all other Asian peoples who used it both in the kitchen as a food, but also as a remedy for certain diseases, as this vegetable, in their belief also had medicinal properties and it was therefore able to cure any ailment or disease.
Nutritional properties and benefits
Spinach as is well known is rich in iron, 100 g of product in fact contain 2.9 mg of this important mineral which make it the first among the vegetables. Unfortunately all that glitters ain't gold, and if it's true that the amount of iron present is higher, it's also true that as many as 95% of the ore can't be used for nutritional purposes because of the simultaneous presence of oxalic acid which prevents the absorption of iron by the body. This acid is also very harmful in case of rheumatism, kidney stones, osteoporosis or even if you have to recover from a fracture, as well as prevents the absorption of iron limits a lot also to calcium.
Despite the presence of this acid, the spinach is also a very good source of vitamin C, carotenoids, folic acid, chlorophyll and lutein. All these micronutrients within it make it strongly antioxidant and mean that it's an excellent food for eye health.
It's also very useful to combat atherosclerosis and protect against diseases that can affect the coronary arteries. Finally, they're also useful to maintain good health of pregnant women.
The use of spinach in cooking
The spinach is widely used in all diets and healthy diet, because its high content of water - this vegetable even has 90% water - makes it an easily digestible food and it also helps greatly intestinal transit.
The remaining 10% of the vegetable is divided equally among the three major macronutrients, carbohydrates, protein and fiber. Fats are almost entirely absent. In addition to what is recommended by doctors also for the minerals and vitamins present in its interior. In cooking it's increasingly used to prepare delicious recipes that appeal to the children such as spinacine that are cutlets of chicken breast and spinach. Another very good recipe is for ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese and this wonderful vegetable. The recipes are really a lot and it goes on and on, but you can also consume spinach alone as a side dish or appetizer, preparing an excellent salad seasoned only with a little olive oil, salt and lemon juice.
The most famous legend that concerns the spinach is tied to the iron content. For years it was believed that it was a so rich in this important mineral enough to have more than one slice of meat food. This legend originated in 1890 when there was a misprint on the labels. That year, instead of writing 2.9 g, 29 g was written thus increasing almost twice the value of the iron content in spinach. Because of this error during the Second World War, people consumed industrial quantities of the vegetable believing even better than meat.
From this error, it originated later, precisely in 1928, even the Popeye myth that whenever he was in trouble, he ate an entire can of spinach to draw the necessary strength to save his girlfriend Olivia, perpetually in danger because of his rival in love Brutus. Not only that, for many years it was believed that they were able to increase muscle mass, which is absolutely disproved by science.