Palak or spinach is grown mainly in the winter season and is rich in various minerals and nutrients. It is green in color and can be considered quite tasty if cooked in the right procedure. It is a native of southwestern and central Asia and yet is widely grown in all parts of India. It has gained much popularity and importance in the world because of the famous cartoon show named “Popeye the sailor man” who gets his energy by consuming spinach.
Spinach or palak is believed to have originated in Persia during the ancient times. It was due to the Arab traders that palak reached India. Even the earliest records present in China indicate that Palak was first grown in Persia or the modern day Iraq. Even till date, it is sometimes referred to as “Persian green” in China. By the 14th century, the green vegetable travelled to France and gained popularity. It is known to have travelled to England during the same time period though no facts support this.
Spinach is known to have many health benefits and a lot of minerals and nutrients. Spinach is also available in abundance in India and many other countries and is fit for human consumption. In addition to being healthy spinach is also known to reduce fatigue and tiredness of human body. Pregnant women are suggested to include spinach in their diet due to the high nutritional values possessed by it. Another advantage of spinach is that several dishes can be prepared by it and it can be included in almost all dishes, except for the sweet desserts.
The process of storage of spinach is very simple. All you need to do is wash the leaves and keep it in your refrigerator. It is recommended not to use plastic bags while storing it in refrigerator because plastic cuts off the air supply and thus makes the leaves to rot away easily. If possible, wrap it in paper bags as paper will absorb the extra moisture which is produced while storing the vegetable in the refrigerator.
Health benefits of palak
- Spinach contains Omega 3 fatty acids which are essential in lowering the cholesterol level of your body. Hence, consuming spinach helps you to lower the cholesterol level of your body and reduces the risk of heart failures and clogging of your arteries, thereby keeping you healthy.
- Palak is a great source of minerals and vitamins. Some of the most common vitamins are Vitamin A, vitamin C, and other essential minerals. Vitamin A is known to reduce night blindness, a deficiency disease which occurs due to the lack of Vitamin A in the human body. Hence, consuming palak can help overcome night blindness. In addition to that palak also contains xanthenes, beta carotenes and other important anti- oxidants which prevent cataracts and protects the eyes from UV radiation.
- Spinach is a rich source of potassium. Potassium is responsible for lowering of blood pressure. Palak contains very less sodium. Sodium is an essential metal in increasing the blood pressure. Hence, those patients who are suffering from blood pressure can very easily consume palak and decrease the blood pressure and other health risks associated with it. Consuming palak regularly also decreases the amount of folic acid present in the body and reduces hypertension, helps to maintain proper blood flow and relaxes your blood vessels.
- Palak contains various other antioxidants which can helps to fight cardiovascular diseases like heart failure and hyperlipidermia. Consuming palak daily helps to strengthen the heart muscles and also allows proper flow and circulation of blood to all parts of the body.
- Spinach consists of various essential minerals like copper, manganese, iron, magnesium phosphorus and zinc which helps prevent osteoporosis in men and women. It also helps in creation and replication of the bone marrow, thereby strengthening the bone.
- Palak prevents the corrosion of the mucus membrane of the stomach, thereby preventing stomach ulcers.
- Palak is also known to decrease the risk of prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer by 34%. The essential components of palak like Vitamin A, Vitamin B, fiber, chromium and magnesium are known to fight against the cancer causing or malignant cells of the body.
- Spinach is an effective treatment for diabetic patients especially due to its high magnesium content. Hence, diabetic patients are advised to consume the juice of spinach everyday in empty stomach. If that is not possible, then they should boil spinach leaves in water and then drink the concoction daily to keep the sugar level in the body below the risk level and proper secretion of insulin in the body.
- Spinach contains iron which is essential for controlling anemia among several other uses. Hence, anemic patients and pregnant women are advised to have spinach in their daily diet. In addition to that, they can boil spinach in water and have the concoction daily or have various dishes made out of spinach or juices of spinach to get rid of anemia.
- The folate which is found in Spinach is known to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Hence, patients who tend to forget things are advised to consume spinach regularly.
- Alkaline properties of palak help prevent arthritis and other inflammatory diseases of the bone and hence, it can be seen as a possible treatment for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or any other form of arthritis and osteoporosis.
- Spinach is known as an effective cure to gastric problems and helps in the prevention as well as cure of indigestion and constipation. Thus, if you are suffering from constipation, you can definitely consume spinach and see an effective change in your bowels.
- Spinach is also known to keep the old age problems away. It keeps the skin problems away and also other inflammatory disease which you may encounter when you have grown old.
- As spinach contains lots of iron, it can be seen to reduce weakness in women, especially for those suffering from heavy menstruation flow. It helps the RBCs to get the extra amount of oxygen by aiding in the creation of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrier of the blood. In addition to that, it contains certain anti-oxidants which will make you fresher by moving away the fatigue and tiredness of your body.
- Palak is known to be a great absorber of UV rays and consuming palak can be good and healthy for your skin. It is known to decrease pimples, acne and other skin issues. If you have acnes or pimples, you need to make a paste of palak along with multani mitti and cold water and apply it on your pimple. Let it dry and after some time wash it off with cold water. If you have moles or warts and do not want them to grow, then make a paste of ground palak, honey, a bit of lemon juice and apply in the affected area. Allow it to dry, if possible by keeping for a time period of twelve hours, and then rinse off with cold water. Repeat this process daily for at least four weeks and you will see a change in the size of your unwanted mole or wart.
- Palak contains Vitamin B which is essential for preventing tube defects while childbirth. Hence, it is advised that expectant mothers should have spinach before childbirth in addition to having other green vegetables.