Spinach is a quick-maturing, cool season, leafy green vegetable crop. Much of the rise in fresh spinach consumption is the result of increased demand for packaged salads. Agricultural Marketing Resource Center: Spinach; Retrieved August 21, 2022.
Among the health and fitness conscious community in Jamaica, and other similar societies, the demand for spinach is driven by dietary trends such as:
Agricultural Background of Spinach
“Although the origin of cultivated spinach is uncertain, it is believed to have been domesticated in the area of present Iran, former Persia, around 2,000 years ago. Distribution of the crop to the West possibly occurred through expansion in Muslim territories. Current evidence suggests that spinach was introduced in Europe by the Moors through the Iberian Peninsula”. Ribera et al. (2021) On the origin & dispersal of cultivated spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.)
Growing Conditions, Harvesting, Re-Planting
Spinach can be grown in temperate to tropical climes. A good balance of ample moisture, sunshine, shade & warm temperature will do for spinach growth & maturation. In pots or in the field, spinach can adapt. When ready to harvest, the leaves can be cut for consumption. Spinach can be eaten both raw (smoothies, shakes, salads) and cooked (steamed). Re-planting can take place via stem cuttings & seeds.
Nutritional Value of Spinach to Humans
“Spinach ranks as one of the most nutrient-dense of all foods. At just 7 calories per uncooked cup, it is is an excellent source of folate (vitamin B-9), and vitamins K, C, A, E and B-6. It’s also a good source of iron magnesium, riboflavin (vitamin B-2) and potassium. While cooking spinach somewhat degrades its folate and vitamin C content, cooked spinach provides higher levels of vitamin A and iron than raw.” Agricultural Marketing Resource Center: Spinach; Retrieved August 21, 2022.
With so much vitamins and minerals packed in this vegetable it makes one consider whether spinach should be considered a superfood Should Spinach Be Considered a Superfood? Click to Learn More). It must also be mentioned, that as a leafy green vegetable, spinach is also high in fiber. Especially for individuals with a desire of both weight loss & bodyfat loss, the high fiber content of spinach will aid individuals through eating less-thus cutting back on total calories consumed-per day, weekly and monthly.
Spinach & It’s High Vitamin K Levels-Some Considerations
“Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes in two forms. The main type is called phylloquinone, found in green leafy vegetables like collard greens, kale, and spinach. Vitamin K helps to make various proteins that are needed for blood clotting and the building of bones.” Vitamin K| The Nutrition Source| Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health; Retrieved August 21, 2022
For individuals on blood thinner medication (warfarin)-such as those with heart & circulatory related conditions, food sources high in vitamin K are generally advised against by physicians. “the adequate intake (AI) for vitamin K for men and women who are 19 years old or older is 120 mcg and 90 mcg, respectively. A cup of raw spinach contains about 145 mcg of vitamin K.” The Truth About Blood Thinners, Leafy Greens, And Vitamin K; Retrieved August 21, 2022.
You should be able to take away from this blog post, the significance of you seeking the professional assistance of a nutritional/dietary/medical professional, before engaging in any diet whatsoever, because of technicalities such as food-drug interactions, This is the case especially for individuals who are on prescribed medication. As a final note: the content shared herein is for information/education purposes, and does not substitute advice given by a medical professional, or similar.
About The Author
Oshane Bryant: BSc Geology, Geography Minor; ACE CPT since 2012; Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Accelerator Graduate-2018 cohort; KUKIBO Martial Arts & Self Defense, Senior Instructor; OB Fitness Founder & Managing Director.