Spinach benefits and side effects

Vitamin Powerhouse: Spinach
Spinach is one of the most popular green leafy vegetables on the face of the earth. Spinach has a reputation of being very nutritious. Although many people know that it's nutritious, not many know the specific properties of spinach that make it healthy to eat. Looking at the evidence that science has to offer, it is quite evident that spinach deserves all the praise that it's got. You will be happy to know that when one compares the spinach to all other vegetable in terms of nutrient value, it comes out on top. For people who crave for good health, they should see to it that they include spinach in all their diets.
Spinach has a lot of vitamins and minerals in them. The vitamins that are found in the spinach are vitamins A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B1 and vitamin B6. The minerals that are found in the spinach include calcium, zinc and potassium.
Spinach benefits side effects

Spinach benefits and side effects

Making the spinach even more attractive to the health fanatics is the fact that it contains some special substances. A good example would be that it's packed with more than 12 phytonutrients. The phytonutrients bring with them many advantages. For example they have the ability to fight off cancer. Studies by scientists have been conducted to show that the consumption of spinach has helped reduce the occurrence of skin cancer. It also helps mitigate stomach cancer by reducing cell division.

Another cancer that can be prevented is breast cancer. Spinach also contains a substance referred to as carotenoid which has in it neoxanthin that is very advantageous to the men. This is because it can help reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer.
The calcium and vitamin K that is found in the spinach helps prevent the women from suffering from osteoporosis. The spinach also contains a lot of antioxidants. These are very helpful in the maintenance of cardiovascular health.
Spinach contains the substance known as folate. High levels of a substance referred to as homocysteine brings about the person being prone to having stroke. This substance is however important to the body but it's not required in high amounts. Thus the folate found in the spinach helps regulate the amount of homocysteine in the body. This in turn limits the probability of stroke.
The people who suffer from arthritis would be advised to consume a lot of spinach. Spinach has in it anti-inflammatory nutrients that will help reduce any swelling that comes about due to the arthritis.
It is a common feature in our world today that as people age their muscles degenerate and their eyes become prone to disease. Spinach contains a nutrient that prevents muscular degeneration and the development of cataracts. This nutrient is known as lutein. Thus if you want to maintain your eyesight in old age you had better consume a lot of spinach.
Thus, with all the health benefits provided above it should only be natural that one finds the necessity of including spinach in all their meals. This should not be a problem since spinach is also very sweet.
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Growing Organic Spinach
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Spinach benefits and side effects

If you're growing organic spinach, it grows best in the cooler weather at the beginning and end of your area's growing season. Spinach seeds can be planted once the ground is workable (which is up to 8 weeks before the last frost date) with consecutive plantings through spring.
Longer days cause the plant to go to seed quicker (bolting), so planting it as early as possible is advisable. Stop planting once the warm weather plants go outside (such as peppers and tomatoes). You can start growing spinach again in late summer for a fall crop.
Growing spinach works best in full sun in early spring. As spring progresses, plant consecutive plantings in partial shade to protect from the increasing heat, slowing the bolting process.

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Spinach benefits and side effects

Spinach has a deep tap root so till the soil at least 1' deep and provide generous amounts of organic matter to keep the soil well-aerated. Although spinach will grow in a wide variance of soils, it will perform best in rich, organic matter such as compost or alfalfa meal.
Prepare your planting area in the fall so you can plant your seeds in the spring as soon as the ground thaws.
The optimal pH levels for growing spinach should be between6.5 and 7.5.
Your seeds should be good for up to 5 years after your purchase date if they're stored in a cool, dry, location.
Once you've planted your spinach, it typically takes about 43 to 50 days until your plants are mature.
For a higher germination rate, place spinach seeds between wet paper towels and place in a Zip-loc bag. Keep bag in refrigerator 5-7 days.
Seeds will germinate best when daytime temperatures are around 60 F and will tolerate nighttime temperatures as low as 40 F. Shade soil until germination.
Seeds can be started in flats 3-4 weeks before the last frost date in temperatures 70ºF or below. For quicker germination, see the chilling method in the section above titled "Seeds and Germination."
SOWING AND GROWING(Planting seeds directly into the garden)
Rather than planting a large spinach crop in early spring (unless you are planning to freeze a batch for winter usage) we recommend planting smaller batches every week to 10 days. This will provide you maximum availability of fresh spinach.
If a frost is predicted after you have planted, cover with a row cover and welcome the frost! The more often the temperatures drop the sweeter the spinach will be.
In more temperate climates, or with the use of a cold frame, spinach can often be planted year around.
In warmer climates provide spinach plants with some shelter from the sun; plant in the shade of taller crops such as corn or pole beans.
Thin young seedlings to 6" apart once two true leaves have formed. Once plants develop four true leaves you can give them a boost every couple of weeks with a fish emulsion or a leaf spray (see Jenny's Tip just below), promoting new growth and a sweeter leaf.
Jenny's Tip: We discovered a new liquid organic leaf spray fertilizer this year called Organic Garden Miracle™ - this product increases plant sugar production in your plant, naturally. Plant sugar makes a stronger, bigger, better and sweeter plant. You may want to check it out.

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Spinach benefits and side effects

Removing large developed leaves will postpone bolting. Also remove any brown leaves; these are not good for eating and will sap the plant of it's strength.
If leaves become large and few tender leaves are forming, cut the entire plant 1" above soil level; this will encourage the plant to grow another crop of leaves.
Once the plant begins to form a center stalk (bolting), the leaves will become bitter tasting.
When growing spinach in late summer, plant more seeds than you did in the spring; the increased heat causes germination to be more sporadic.
Keep moisture levels moist but not soggy. Allowing soil to dry out will encourage plants to bolt.
Growing spinach in your garden will benefit all succeeding crops planted in the same location. Do not follow spinach with legumes.
Harvesting can begin once the plant has developed at least 6 leaves, usually 6-8 weeks after planting. Pick leaves from the outside of the plant as soon as they are big enough to use (think of baby spinach leaves).
Spinach can be dried in a food dehydrator. Dry unwashed leaves until they break easily; store in a paper bag or other food container, avoiding folds in the leaves.
Spinach can also be frozen. Blanche 1 to 2 minutes and when cool, place in quart-size Zip-loc bags and store in freezer.
Since spinach grows in very cool temperatures, pests are usually not an issue. If any spotted cucumber beetles are present, handpick them off the plant and destroy them.
Avoid over-watering spinach which can lead to mildew.
Barry Brown is a 3rd generation organic gardeners who is passionate about a sustainable and natural lifestyle. His personal standards for organic living far exceeds USDA certification, which he believes is more about money than food quality and purity.

Delicious Ways to Eat More Spinach
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Spinach benefits and side effects

You don't have to be Popeye to love spinach. It tastes great raw or cooked and it's packed with important nutrients. Here are some brief facts about why you'll want to add more spinach to your diet, as well as delicious ways to do so.
Spinach is rich in antioxidants and it's a good source of iron, calcium, folate, and many vitamins. Whether in bags or bundles, look for crisp, dark leaves. Be sure to wash it thoroughly to get rid of the dirt you can see and the pesticides you can't. You can also now find spinach in convenient pre-washed bags, although it may cost you more than the unwashed variety.
Even in the crisper of your refrigerator, spinach loses much of its nutritional value after just a few days, but frozen spinach can last for 6 months or more. If you have more fresh spinach than you can use right away, steam it and drain it to make your own frozen spinach.
Tasty Ways to Use Raw Spinach:
1. Toss it into salads. These hearty greens can help you make a balanced meal in minutes. Adding foods rich in vitamin C will help your body to better absorb the iron in spinach. Make a salad of spinach with slices of orange and add some chicken breast for protein.
• Use a mix of lettuces for an attractive presentation or enjoy the delicate flavor of baby spinach on its own.
2. Make lighter, but more filling sandwiches. Slim down your sandwiches by replacing some of the ingredients with layers of crunchy spinach. It may feel like a big lunch, but you can have a whole cup of spinach for only about 7 calories.
3. Substitute spinach in your wraps. For wraps with fewer calories and more nutrients, use a large leaf of spinach in place of the bread. Almost anything you can put in a tortilla will also work in a big, sturdy leaf.
4. Whip up a fast dip. With frozen chopped spinach, you can make a dip quickly with just a few additional ingredients. Thaw and drain the spinach, then add some low fat sour cream, breadcrumbs, and the seasonings of your choice.
Delicious Ways to Use Cooked Spinach:
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Spinach benefits and side effects

1. Add spinach to your pasta dishes. Spinach lasagna is a great way to feed a large gathering. Alternately, you can easily make a large batch just for you and your family and then freeze the leftovers in small portions so you have a convenient meal anytime. Ravioli and other pastas also work well with spinach fillings.
2. Put spinach on your pizza. Whether you make it at home or order it from a pizzeria, get spinach and other vegetable toppings for your pie. It's much better for your health than just pepperoni and sausage.
3. Cook up a batch of creamed spinach. Traditional creamed spinach is very high in fat but you can enjoy this favorite without breaking your diet. Help yourself to a smaller portion size or just adjust the recipe. Try substituting olive oil and low-fat milk for some or all of the butter and whole milk.
4. Try this leafy green in soups. Fresh or frozen spinach is perfect for soup. If you use fresh leaves, add them at the last minute because they quickly wilt and lose nutrients if cooked too long. You can also add thawed and drained frozen spinach to many soup recipes.
5. Throw some spinach into your stir-fries. Spinach adapts well to stir fries as the main ingredient or a complement to other vegetables, seafood or meat. It's at its best when cooked for about 1 to 2 minutes so add it when you're almost done. Ensure the leaves are dry to minimize splatter.
Eating more spinach is an easy and delicious way to keep to a healthy diet year round. You can enjoy these greens in familiar classics and simple casseroles or experiment with new uses for a healthy change of pace.
Miscel Rogers is both an Online Entrepreneur and Work-From-Home Dad!
Visit my blog for more:
Healthy Eating Blog [http://healthyeatingblog.webarticledirectory.net/] - [http://healthyeatingblog.webarticledirectory.net/]
Be Well!

10 Ideas for Kid-Friendly Spinach
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Spinach benefits and side effects

Will your kids eat spinach? Contrary to the norm, my kids love it! We prepare it many different ways, and we include it in every meal of the day. Here are 10 ways you can easily include spinach in your household's meals.
  • Sauteed with garlic. Over medium high heat add 2 tsp. of oil to a large a sauté pan. When oil is heated, add one clove minced garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add one handful of fresh spinach and stir often. As spinach wilts, add additional handfuls until you've cooked as much as you'll need. Add salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy the best-tasting spinach you'll ever eat!

  • Boiled or steamed. Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil and then stir in handfuls of spinach until it is wilted. Drain spinach and then add oil and vinegar (my husband's way) or lemon juice and a tiny bit of butter (my way). It's delicious, easy, and quick.

  • Blended into smoothies. Add fresh or frozen spinach to your smoothie for added vitamins and antioxidants, without changing the flavor. You can add quite a bit to your smoothie before anyone will notice that the difference. My kids have come to look forward to my frequent "green" smoothies.

  • Added to lasagna or other layered casseroles. Add it in between every layer, if you want. Spinach wilts down so much when it cooks that it doesn't change the flavor or texture significantly.

  • Party dips. Frozen spinach is a staple for many dips. To keep it healthy, pair drained, chopped spinach with greek or plain yogurt and your favorite dip mix.

  • Added to Salads. Spinach is easily mixed in with other fresh greens like lettuce and kale. I recently had a pasta and wilted spinach salad that was absolutely delicious. Be creative and look for spinach salad recipes your family will go for.

  • Added to soups. Chop up fresh spinach and add it to soups. It will quickly wilt down and add color and nutrition.

  • Spinach + Eggs = Delicious! Quiche is a lot easier than you may think, and it is often a crowd-pleaser. Don't want to wait an hour for a full-sized quiche to cook? Make mini quiche in muffin tins, or even faster, cook individual servings in the microwave. One of my favorite ways to add spinach to eggs in omelets. A little chopped spinach, a little chopped mushroom, some feta and parmesan. Just thinking about it is making me want to make one right now!

  • Added to sandwiches and wraps. Substitute spinach for lettuce in any sandwich, wrap, or hoagie. I doubt anyone will notice the difference. And you'll feel good about the added folate, iron, vitamin K, beta-carotene and vitamin C.

  • Added to hash, sauces and just about everything else. Making spaghetti sauce? Add pureed spinach. Cooking hamburger helper? Add chopped spinach. Stuffed peppers? Chicken cordon bleu? Be creative and find new ways to add this wonder vegetable to your diet. Then, pass along the tips, because I'm always interested in other people's creativity.
For more ideas on feeding kids healthy meals, and teaching healthy habits with the new MyPlate, visit Super Healthy Kids


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