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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Spinach

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WELCOME! 

The idea behind this column is to promote the culture of eating what we grow and growing what we eat. This column is proudly sponsored by FARM FRESH which is The Gambia’s first online Vegetables and Fruits Delivery service (www.farmfresh.gm) allowing anyone from within The Gambia or abroad to place orders online or via phone and have the items delivered to their doorsteps at home or at the office.  All the vegetables are locally grown (organic). 

It goes without saying that a healthy mind can only be found in a healthy body. There is also a saying which appears simple but is in fact deep in meaning, “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT”. 

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“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” Ancient Earthian Ayurvedic Proverb. It is for these reasons FARM FRESH is happy to partner with Gambia Tourism And Hospitality Institute, in order to create awareness and acceptance of our locally grown vegetables and fruits. Understanding what we eat and how we eat plays a significant role in our overall health and well-being. 

This week we will take a look at the health benefits of Spinach in our diets. We are also happy to share some easy to make spinach recipes for your family and businesses and we hope you will find this article interesting. Thank you and welcome to the journey towards healthy eating. Remember the slogan. ‘You are what you eat”. 

Spinach

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Spinach is a leafy green flowering vegetable that is low in calories and high in nutrients. It has 20 calories per serving. It is a famous vegetable in the Gambian markets. It is an edible vegetable consumed either fresh, or after storage using preservation techniques by canning, freezing, or dehydration.

Nutritional benefits of spinach

It is a source of the omega 3 oil; Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are nutrients you get from food that help build and maintain a healthy body. They are key to the structure of every cell wall you have. The Omega-3 aids your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and immune system work the way it should.

Carbohydrates; most of the carbohydrates in spinach consist of fiber, which is incredibly healthy. Spinach also contains small amounts of sugar, mostly in the form of glucose and fructose. 

Fiber; spinach is high in insoluble fiber, which may boost your health in several ways. It adds bulk to stool as food passes through our digestive system. This may help prevent constipation. Spinach is low in carbs but high in insoluble fiber. This type of fiber may benefit your digestion. 

Vitamins and minerals; spinach is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals including; vitamin A, C, K, folic acid, iron and calcium. 

Health benefits of spinach

Oxidative Stress; free radicals are byproducts of metabolism. They can cause oxidative stress, which triggers accelerated aging and increase your risk of cancer and diabetes. However, spinach contains oxidative stress and help reduce the damage it causes. In a nutshell, spinach helps prevent oxidative damage.

Blood pressure; spinach contains high amount of nitrates, which have been shown to help moderate blood pressure levels and decrease your risks of heart disease.

Eye health; spinach is rich in zeaxanthin and lutein, which are of the carotenoids responsible for color in some vegetables.  

Easy spinach recipes

spinach frittata

Ingredients

Spinach, Egg Beef, Milk or heavy cream, Salt Pepper, Nutmeg, Cherry tomatoes, Garlic, Feta mozzarella

Cooking method

1.         Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. This is base for the Frittata.

2.         Cook the beef in a sauce pan and cook for about 4 minutes or until crispy and set it aside.

3.         Put a skillet on top of a burner and put it to medium-high heat. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. stir in the minced garlic, followed by the spinach. Sauté for 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted. 

4.         Return the beef to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Pour in 3quarter of the egg mixture and top with half of the feta. Pour in the remaining egg mixture, and finish with the remaining feta, plus the mozzarella cheese.

5.         Transfer skillet to the preheated oven. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the center is set and the cheese is melted.

6.         Remove your finished spinach frittata from the oven and let it stand at room temperature for about 7 minutes. Top with the reserved beef bits, garnish with parsley, and serve.

Strawberry-spinach salad

Ingredients

Strawberries, Teaspoon lemon juice, Toasted nuts, Red onion, Avocado, Goat cheese or feta Olive oil, Garlic powder, Honey Salt and pepper.

Cooking methods

1.         Mix together all dressing ingredients and set aside.

2.         Dice avocado and toss with lemon juice.

3.         Combine remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl.

4.         Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.

Spinach smoothie

Ingredients

Ice cubes, Baby spinach, pineapple, banana, Apple, Yogurt, Almond milk.

Cooking methods

1.         Add ice cubes, pineapple, banana slices, diced apple, baby spinach, yogurt, almond milk to the blender.

2.         Cover and process on medium speed for about 30 seconds, using the tamper as needed. Increase to high speed for 15 to 30 seconds until thick and smooth.

3.         Adjust with more almond milk if needed to reach the desired consistency.

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