Spinach

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Spinach
Spinacia oleracea Spinazie bloeiend.jpg
Spinach plant with flowers
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Spinacia
Species:
S. oleracea
Binomial name
Spinacia oleracea
L.

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a leafy green flowering plant native to central and western Asia. It is of the order Caryophyllales, family Amaranthaceae, subfamily Chenopodioideae. Its leaves are a common edible vegetable consumed either fresh, or after storage using preservation techniques by canning, freezing, or dehydration. It may be eaten cooked or raw, and the taste differs considerably; the high oxalate content may be reduced by steaming.

Contents

It is an annual plant (rarely biennial), growing as tall as 30 cm (1 ft). Spinach may overwinter in temperate regions. The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to triangular, and very variable in size: 2–30 cm (1–12 in) long and 1–15 cm (0.4–5.9 in) broad, with larger leaves at the base of the plant and small leaves higher on the flowering stem. The flowers are inconspicuous, yellow-green, 3–4 mm (0.1–0.2 in) in diameter, and mature into a small, hard, dry, lumpy fruit cluster 5–10 mm (0.2–0.4 in) across containing several seeds.

In 2018, world production of spinach was 26.3 million tonnes, with China alone accounting for 90% of the total. [1]

Etymology

Originally from Persian aspānāḵ, entering into the European languages by way of Latin, which received it from Arabic. [2] The Hindi word “Palak” also has its roots in Persian. The English word "spinach" dates to the late 14th century from espinache (French: épinard). [3]

Taxonomy

Common spinach (S. oleracea) was long considered to be in the family Chenopodiaceae, but in 2003 that family was merged into the Amaranthaceae in the order Caryophyllales. [4] [5] Within the family Amaranthaceae sensu lato , Spinach belongs to the subfamily Chenopodioideae. [6]

Nutrients

Spinach, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 97 kJ (23 kcal)
3.6 g
Sugars 0.4 g
Dietary fiber 2.2 g
Fat
0.4 g
2.9 g
Vitamins Quantity
%DV
Vitamin A equiv.
59%
469 μg
52%
5626 μg
12198 μg
Vitamin A 9377 IU
Thiamine (B1)
7%
0.078 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
16%
0.189 mg
Niacin (B3)
5%
0.724 mg
Vitamin B6
15%
0.195 mg
Folate (B9)
49%
194 μg
Vitamin C
34%
28 mg
Vitamin E
13%
2 mg
Vitamin K
460%
483 μg
Minerals Quantity
%DV
Calcium
10%
99 mg
Iron
21%
2.71 mg
Magnesium
22%
79 mg
Manganese
43%
0.897 mg
Phosphorus
7%
49 mg
Potassium
12%
558 mg
Sodium
5%
79 mg
Zinc
6%
0.53 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water91.4 g

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA FoodData Central

Raw spinach is 91% water, 4% carbohydrates, 3% protein, and contains negligible fat. In a 100 g (3.5 oz) serving providing only 23 calories, spinach has a high nutritional value, especially when fresh, frozen, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, iron and folate. Spinach is a moderate source (10-19% of DV) of the B vitamins, riboflavin and vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, and dietary fiber (table). Although spinach is touted as being high in iron and calcium content, and is often served and consumed in its raw form, raw spinach contains high levels of oxalates, which block absorption of calcium and iron in the stomach and small intestine. Spinach cooked in several changes of water has much lower levels of oxalates and is better digested and its nutrients absorbed more completely. [7] [8] In addition to preventing absorption and use, high levels of oxalates remove iron from the body. [8] [9]

Vitamin K

A quantity of 100 g of spinach contains over four times the recommended daily intake of vitamin K (table). For this reason, individuals taking the anticoagulant warfarin which acts by inhibiting vitamin K are instructed to minimize consumption of spinach (as well as other dark green leafy vegetables) to avoid blunting the effect of warfarin. [10]

History

Spinach is thought to have originated about 2,000 years ago in ancient Persia from which it was introduced to India and ancient China via Nepal in 647 AD as the "Persian vegetable". [11] In AD 827, the Saracens introduced spinach to Sicily. [12] The first written evidence of spinach in the Mediterranean was recorded in three 10th-century works: a medical work by al-Rāzī (known as Rhazes in the West) and in two agricultural treatises, one by Ibn Waḥshīyah and the other by Qusṭus al-Rūmī. Spinach became a popular vegetable in the Arab Mediterranean and arrived in Spain by the latter part of the 12th century, where Ibn al-ʻAwwām called it raʼīs al-buqūl, 'the chieftain of leafy greens'. [13] Spinach was also the subject of a special treatise in the 11th century by Ibn Ḥajjāj. [14] [ better source needed ]

Spinach first appeared in England and France in the 14th century, probably via Spain, and gained common use because it appeared in early spring when fresh local vegetables were not available. [11] Spinach is mentioned in the first known English cookbook, the Forme of Cury (1390), where it is referred to as 'spinnedge' and 'spynoches'. [11] [15] During World War I, wine fortified with spinach juice was given to injured French soldiers with the intent to curtail their bleeding. [11] [16]

Production, marketing, and storage

Spinach production - 2020
CountryProduction
(millions of tonnes)
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 28.5
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 0.37
Flag of Kenya.svg  Kenya 0.24
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 0.23
World31.0
Source: UN Food & Agriculture Organization, Statistics Division (FAOSTAT) [1]

In 2020, world production of spinach was 31.0 million tonnes, with China alone accounting for 92% of the total. [1]

Fresh spinach is sold loose, bunched, or packaged fresh in bags. Fresh spinach loses much of its nutritional value with storage of more than a few days. [17] Fresh spinach is packaged in air, or in nitrogen gas to extend shelf life. While refrigeration slows this effect to about eight days, fresh spinach loses most of its folate and carotenoid content over this period of time. For longer storage, it is canned, or blanched or cooked and frozen. [17]

Some packaged spinach is exposed to radiation to kill any harmful bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration approves of irradiation of spinach leaves up to 4.0 kilograys, having no or only a minor effect on nutrient content. [18]

Spinach may be high in cadmium contamination depending on the soil and location where the spinach is grown. [19]

The comics and cartoon character Popeye the Sailor Man has been portrayed since 1931 as having a strong affinity for spinach (namely the canned variety). He becomes physically stronger after consuming it. [20] The accompanying catchphrase is: "He's strong to the finich (sic), 'cuz he eats his spinach." This is usually attributed to the iron content of spinach, but in a 1932 strip, Popeye says "spinach is full of vitamin A an' tha's what makes hoomans (sic) strong and helty (sic)". [21]

See also

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cabbage</span> Leafy vegetable in the flowering plant family Brassicaceae

Cabbage, comprising several cultivars of Brassica oleracea, is a leafy green, red (purple), or white biennial plant grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. It is descended from the wild cabbage, and belongs to the "cole crops" or brassicas, meaning it is closely related to broccoli and cauliflower ; Brussels sprouts ; and Savoy cabbage.

<i>Beta vulgaris</i> Species of flowering plant in the family Amaranthaceae

Beta vulgaris (beet) is a species of flowering plant in the subfamily Betoideae of the family Amaranthaceae. Economically, it is the most important crop of the large order Caryophyllales. It has several cultivar groups: the sugar beet, of greatest importance to produce table sugar; the root vegetable known as the beetroot or garden beet; the leaf vegetable known as chard or spinach beet; and mangelwurzel, which is a fodder crop. Three subspecies are typically recognised. All cultivars fall into the subspecies Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris. The wild ancestor of the cultivated beets is the sea beet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sprouting</span> Practice of germinating seeds to be eaten raw or cooked

Sprouting is the natural process by which seeds or spores germinate and put out shoots, and already established plants produce new leaves or buds, or other structures experience further growth.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chard</span> Green leafy vegetable

Chard or Swiss chard is a green leafy vegetable. In the cultivars of the Flavescens Group, the leaf stalks are large and often prepared separately from the leaf blade; the Cicla Group is the leafy spinach beet. The leaf blade can be green or reddish in color; the leaf stalks are usually white, or a colorful yellow or red.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kale</span> Form of cabbage with green or purple leaves

Kale, or leaf cabbage, belongs to a group of cabbage cultivars grown for their edible leaves, although some are used as ornamentals. Kale plants have green or purple leaves, and the central leaves do not form a head. Kales are considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most of the many domesticated forms of Brassica oleracea.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bok choy</span> Subspecies of flowering plant

Bok choy, pak choi or pok choi is a type of Chinese cabbage, used as food. Chinensis varieties do not form heads and have green leaf blades with lighter bulbous bottoms instead, forming a cluster reminiscent of mustard greens. It has a flavor between spinach and water chestnuts but is slightly sweeter, with a mildly peppery undertone. The green leaves have a stronger flavor than the white bulb.

<i>Portulaca oleracea</i> Annual succulent in the family Portulacaceae

Portulaca oleracea is an annual succulent in the family Portulacaceae.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chenopodioideae</span> Subfamily of flowering plants

The Chenopodioideae are a subfamily of the flowering plant family Amaranthaceae in the APG III system, which is largely based on molecular phylogeny, but were included - together with other subfamilies - in family Chenopodiaceae in the Cronquist system. Food species comprise Spinach, Good King Henry, several Chenopodium species, Orache, and Epazote. The name is Greek for goosefoot, the common name of a genus of plants having small greenish flowers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leaf vegetable</span> Plant leaves eaten as a vegetable

Leaf vegetables, also called leafy greens, salad greens, pot herbs, vegetable greens, or simply greens, are plant leaves eaten as a vegetable, sometimes accompanied by tender petioles and shoots. Although they come from a very wide variety of plants, most share a great deal with other leaf vegetables in nutrition and cooking methods.

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<i>Cnidoscolus aconitifolius</i> Species of tree

Cnidoscolus aconitifolius, commonly known as chaya, tree spinach, or spinach tree, is a large, fast-growing and leafy perennial shrub that is believed to have originated in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. The specific epithet, aconitifolius, means "Aconitum-like leaves". It has succulent stems that exude a milky sap when cut.

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<i>Tetragonia tetragonioides</i> Species of plant

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vegetable</span> Edible plant or part of a plant, involved in cooking

Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. The original meaning is still commonly used and is applied to plants collectively to refer to all edible plant matter, including the flowers, fruits, stems, leaves, roots, and seeds. An alternative definition of the term is applied somewhat arbitrarily, often by culinary and cultural tradition. It may exclude foods derived from some plants that are fruits, flowers, nuts, and cereal grains, but include savoury fruits such as tomatoes and courgettes, flowers such as broccoli, and seeds such as pulses.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Smoothie</span> Drink made from fruit or vegetables

A smoothie is a beverage made by puréeing ingredients in a blender. A smoothie commonly has a liquid base, such as fruit juice or milk, yogurt, ice cream or cottage cheese. Other ingredients may be added, including fruits, vegetables, non-dairy milk, crushed ice, whey powder or nutritional supplements.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frozen vegetables</span>

Frozen vegetables are vegetables that have had their temperature reduced and maintained to below their freezing point for the purpose of storage and transportation until they are ready to be eaten. They may be commercially packaged or frozen at home. A wide range of frozen vegetables are sold in supermarkets.

The Future 50 Foods report, subtitled "50 foods for healthier people and a healthier planet", was published in February 2019 by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Knorr. It identifies 50 plant-based foods that can increase dietary nutritional value and reduce environmental impacts of the food supply, promoting sustainable global food systems.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mallung</span>

Mallung or mallum, is a shredded vegetable Sri Lankan dish that comprises lightly cooked/sautéed greens, with fresh coconut and any number of spices and chili. Mallung is a common condiment and is eaten at almost every meal. Most meals are usually served with one or two different mallungs, which play an important part in nutrition as this is how locals got a regular vitamin intake in their diet. The word 'mallung' or 'mallum' simply means 'wilted'.

References

  1. 1 2 3 "Crops/Regions/World List for Production Quantity of Spinach in 2018". UN Food & Agriculture Organization. 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  2. Julia Cresswell (9 September 2010). Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins. OUP Oxford. p. 415. ISBN   978-0-19-954793-7.
  3. "Spinach". Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper. 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  4. "Caryophyllales". www.mobot.org. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  5. Pam Dawling (1 February 2013). Sustainable Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production on a Few Acres. New Society Publishers. pp. 244–. ISBN   978-1-55092-512-8.
  6. Rubatzky, Vincent E.; Yamaguchi, Mas (1997), Rubatzky, Vincent E.; Yamaguchi, Mas (eds.), "Spinach, Table Beets, and Other Vegetable Chenopods", World Vegetables: Principles, Production, and Nutritive Values, Boston, MA: Springer US, pp. 457–473, doi:10.1007/978-1-4615-6015-9_21, ISBN   978-1-4615-6015-9 , retrieved 2021-06-11
  7. "Osteoporosis Diet & Nutrition: Foods for Bone Health". National Osteoporosis Foundation. 2015-12-21. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  8. 1 2 Noonan SC, Savage GP (1999). "Oxalate content of foods and its effect on humans" (PDF). Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 8 (1): 64–74. doi:10.1046/j.1440-6047.1999.00038.x. PMID   24393738.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  9. Williams, Sue Rodwell; Long, Sara (1997). Nutrition and diet therapy. p. 229. ISBN   978-0-8151-9273-2.
  10. Sheps SG (19 April 2018). "Warfarin diet: What foods should I avoid?". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  11. 1 2 3 4 "Spinach history - origins of different types of spinach". Vegetable Facts. 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  12. Rolland, Jacques L.; Sherman, Carol (2006). The Food Encyclopedia. Toronto: Robert Rose. pp. 335–338. ISBN   9780778801504.
  13. Ibn al-ʻAwwām, Yaḥyá ibn Muḥammad (1802). "23.8". Kitāb al-Filāḥah. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  14. Clifford A. Wright. Mediterranean Vegetables: A Cook's ABC of Vegetables and their Preparation in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, and North Africa, with More than 200 Authentic Recipes for the Home Cook. (Boston: Harvard Common Press, 2001). pp. 300-301.
  15. Rolland, Jacques; Sherma, Carol (2006). Spinach. The Food Encyclopedia: Over 8,000 Ingredients, Tools, Techniques and People. Toronto: Robert Rose. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  16. Margaret Grieve; Maud Grieve (1 June 1971). A modern herbal: the medicinal, culinary, cosmetic and economic properties, cultivation and folk-lore of herbs, grasses, fungi, shrubs, & trees with all their modern scientific uses. Courier Dover Publications. pp. 761–. ISBN   978-0-486-22799-3 . Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  17. 1 2 "Storage time and temperature effects nutrients in spinach" . Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  18. Bliss, Rosalie Marion (27 May 2010). "Nutrient retention of safer salads explored". US Department of Agriculture.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. "ToxGuide for cadmium" (PDF). Atlanta, GA: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, US Department of Health and Human Services. October 2012.
  20. Gabbatt, Adam (8 December 2009). "E.C. Segar, Popeye's creator, celebrated with a Google doodle". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  21. Joe Schwarcz, Monkeys, Myths, and Molecules: Separating Fact from Fiction in the Science of Everyday Life, 2015, ISBN   1770411917, p. 245; spinach actually contains beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A