Spinach is one of the commonly used greens in Kerala. There are different varieties of spinach available here. Despite the minor differences in colour and size of leaves, all spinach varieties are healthy items to be included in the diet.

‘Popeye the Sailor’, a popular cartoon of 20th century, used to portray a comparatively weak sailor man who gains strength by consuming crushed spinach leaves. This had a huge impact among children about the benefits of having spinach.

Spinach is a rich source of vitamin A, C, K and iron. 100 grams of spinach contains 23 calories. About 91.5 percent of its weight is water content, 3.6 percent carbohydrate and 2.9 percent protein. However, spinach can be harmful for some people.

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Spinach leaves, Cooked spinach (Images: Pixabay)

Possible risks to health due to spinach consumption

  • Those who are suffering from kidney stone are advised to reduce intake of spinach as it is likely to increase the calcium content in the body. This will intensify the disease.

  • As spinach contains high quantity of Vitamin K, people who regularly consume blood thinning medicines should be extra-cautious while including spinach in the diet.

  • Spinach contains very high amount of nitrate. But when cooked spinach is reheated multiple times, the nitrates are likely to be converted into nitrites.

  • Nitrite reacts with haemoglobin and turn it into methaemoglobin that is incapable of bonding with oxygen. So, the amount of nitrite in food items is typically regulated.

  • Pregnant women, lactating mothers, children, elderly people and patients should not consume reheated spinach.

  • Another major challenge for consuming spinach is the pesticide residue in them. In most cases, farmers use chemical pesticides to get rid of the insects.

  • The spinach bought from market contain more pesticide residue so that they have to be washed thoroughly using turmeric powder and water.