Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is natural herb ingredient of FortiFi™

spinachSpinach (Spinacia oleracea) has a big nutritional value for the human body. It is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, iodine, magnesium, and several vital antioxidants, number one source of iron among all other vegetables. Spinach is easily absorbed by our body, improves pancreatic and salivary glands activity, and adjusts intestinal motility.

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a flowering plant in the family of Amaranthaceae. It is native to central and southwestern Asia. It is an annual plant , which grows to a height of up to 30 cm. Spinach may survive over winter in temperate regions. The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to triangular-based, very variable in size from about 2-30 cm long and 1-15 cm 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 diameter, maturing into a small hard dry lumpy fruit cluster 5-10 mm across containing several seeds.

Spinach is known as a rich source of iron and calcium. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 180 gram serving of boiled spinach contains 6.43 mg of iron, whereas one 6 oz. (170 gram) ground hamburger patty contains at most 4.42 mg. Thus spinach does contain a relatively high level of iron, compared to other vegetable and meat sources. The iron in spinach is poorly absorbed by the body unless eaten with calcium. The type of iron found in spinach is non-blood (non-heme), a plant iron, which the body does not absorb as efficiently as blood (heme) iron, found in meat.

The bioavailability of iron is dependent on its absorption. This is influenced by a number of factors. Iron enters the body in two forms: nonheme iron and heme iron. All of the iron in grains and vegetables, and about three fifths of the iron in animal food sources (meats), is nonheme iron. The much smaller remaining portion from meats is heme iron.

The larger portion of dietary iron (nonheme) is absorbed slowly in its many food sources, including spinach. This absorption may vary widely depending on the presence of binders such as fiber or enhancers, such as vitamin C. Therefore, the body's absorption of non-heme iron can be improved by consuming foods that are rich in vitamin C. However, spinach contains high levels of oxalate. Oxalates bind to iron to form ferrous oxalate, thus making the iron in spinach unavailable, plus high amounts of oxalates remove iron from the body. Therefore, a diet high in oxalate (or phosphate or phytate) leads to a decrease in iron absorption. As a result around 90% of the iron content in Spinach will be released in urine, and not absorbed in the body.

Spinach also has a high calcium content. However, the oxalate content in spinach binds with calcium decreasing its absorption. By way of comparison, the body can absorb about half of the calcium present in broccoli, yet only around 5% of the calcium in spinach. Oxalate is one of a number of factors that can contribute to gout and kidney stones. Equally or more notable factors contributing to calcium stones are: genetic tendency, high intake of animal protein, excess calcium intake, excess vitamin D, prolonged immobility, hyperparathyroidism, renal tubular acidosis, and excess dietary health fiber.

Spinach is an excellent source of nutrition vitamins and minerals health: vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B6. It is a very good source of dietary health fiber, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin E. In addition, it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin and selenium.

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is natural herb ingredient of FortiFi™