Spinach contains a lot of nutrients, but the way you eat it is crucial.
If you were a child who grew up in the 1930s and 1970s, or raised by people of that era, it is likely that you will have the idea that spinach is the best muscle catalyst.
We owe this idea to a cartoonist named elzie crisler Segar. He created a character based on a rude, alcoholic Illinois man. Seager named the character Popeye, which first appeared in a comic strip in 1929.
In 1933, when Popeye began to appear as the protagonist in the cartoon thimble theatre, he gained strength from spinach. Because he would meet all kinds of enemies on the high seas and land, he needed spinach. As soon as the little sailor ate a can of spinach, his muscles would swell, so that he could beat his opponent, a pirate sailor named Bluto, all over the ground. Pluto is much taller and stronger than him, but he lacks the mysterious green energy.
The legend of Popeye, and the source of his superpowers, lasted longer than this character. But experts say the answer to the question of whether spinach can really make us stronger has experienced some complex turns.
Norman hod, head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Oklahoma, said: “one thing that supports the link between spinach and strength is that it contains a lot of nitrate, which may improve muscle endurance. Nitrate consumed rapidly in exercise or physical activity is supplemented after eating spinach, so as to increase the strength of skeletal muscle during exercise. ”
More research is being conducted to determine whether an increase in nitrate in muscle can increase muscle strength and improve athletic performance, Hoder said.
Timothy Ferris, a fitness and exercise expert, was born in 1977, probably too young to be addicted to Popeye. In his book, the 4-hour Chef: the simple path to cooking like a pro, learning anything, and living the good life, he did not mention Popeye, but recommended eggs, meat, fish “Low carbohydrate” diets such as lentils and spinach are the fastest way to lose weight and overall fitness.
This is consistent with holde’s observation that spinach contains a lot of vitamin K, which helps reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Unless cooked into batter, spinach is a good source of vitamin C because it contains no cholesterol and fat.
Harold McGee, head of the Department of culinary Sciences, believes that there are better sources of minerals to enhance physical fitness. Although spinach is a good source of vitamin A, its iron content is not high.
Rahaf al bochi, a nutritionist in Atlanta, praised the overall health benefits of vegetables.
Al Borch said it is recommended to add spinach to the diet because it is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, such as folic acid, magnesium, vitamin A and fiber, which is important to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Spinach also contains other kinds of beneficial substances, such as rich lutein, which is believed to be good for eye health and can reduce the incidence rate of macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration is high in people aged 55 and over. According to a study published in the Journal of food chemistry in 2019, after spinach is cooked, the lutein content will decrease significantly, but if it is eaten in liquid form, the lutein content will increase. Therefore, in order to obtain more lutein, it is best to eat it with milkshake.
Many kinds of green leafy vegetables, including cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower and cabbage, are thought to inhibit heart disease and stroke, as well as some cancers. Spinach is also one of them. Eating it raw or slightly cooked can get the most benefits.
Eating more green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, cabbage and green vegetables, which contain all the beneficial substances mentioned by Al Borch, seems to help slow down the decline of cognitive ability.
A study published in the Journal of Neurology in 2018 analyzed the diet of 960 elderly people and found that, from a cognitive perspective, people who ate 1.3 or more vegetables a day were on average 11 years younger than those who ate little or no green leafy vegetables in their diet.
Although Popeye’s favorite spinach has great potential, it also has some disadvantages.
Spinach, especially raw spinach, may cause some people to have flatulence. For some people, spinach may taste tasteless, but spinach itself contains enough sodium, so you don’t need salt – if you want to taste spinach, lemon juice is better than salt
Better, because too much sodium is usually bad for your body.
“It’s unhealthy to eat too much of any food,” Hoder said. Spinach contains oxalic acid, which may combine with minerals in the diet, such as calcium, so that they cannot be absorbed. If you are worried about insufficient calcium intake in your body, although spinach is often put in cheese lasagna, you’d better not. And too much oxalic acid can also lead to kidney stones, which may have a negative impact on people prone to kidney stones. Vitamin K in spinach can also interfere with the function of blood thinners such as warfarin. Therefore, people taking blood thinners may need to limit their intake of spinach. ”
In that case, how to make spinach play the most role?
At least eating cans directly like Popeye is not the best way.
Many people like to add raw spinach to salads. Usually, this is a good method, but it should be remembered that spinach is a good carrier of E. coli, Listeria and other harmful bacteria.
Therefore, the CDC recommends that spinach should be boiled at 160 ℃ for 15 seconds, which can kill potentially deadly bacteria. Lightly fry fresh spinach, drizzle with a little olive oil or avocado oil, delicious and nutritious. Another option is to wash thoroughly with tap water before eating spinach and other green leafy vegetables.
Al Borch believes that spinach has a wide range of uses. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Spinach can be added to salads, smoothies and muffins. It can also be fried, made into soup and dipped in garlic sauce.
There is no doubt about the benefits and delicious of spinach, but can spinach make people strong?
It may not be as explosive as Popeye, but as mentioned above, spinach has many other advantages, so if you are interested in spinach, eat it quickly.