National Spinach Day is March 26th
Sometimes, it’s easy being green. Especially when it’s National Spinach Day!
Here at Veggie U HQ we celebrate Spinach Day every day by sending spinach seeds to classrooms nationwide to grow in their Veggie U Classroom Gardens.
(Psssst- it’s one of the mystery seeds!)
There’s so much to love about spinach because it packs a ton of nutritional benefits into every bite! Inside those delicious green leaves are antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and vitamins that promote improved eyesight, healthy blood pressure and stronger muscles. It can also help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, atherosclerosis, heart attacks and some cancers.
Spinach is known for its high levels of vitamin A, giving every forkful of spinach immunity boosting, vision protecting, and skin enhancing super powers. A cup of cooked spinach contains up to 12% of the recommended daily dose of calcium and enough vitamin K to help prevent bone loss and improve muscle efficiency. Spinach is also a good source of iron, containing almost the same amount as beef per serving.
Here are some interesting tidbits about one of our favorite veggies:
• Popeye, the most famous spinach lover whose popularity helped triple spinach sales, attributed his strength to the high vitamin A content in spinach. Using Popeye as a role model for healthier eating actually works; a 2010 study revealed that children increased their vegetable consumption after watching Popeye cartoons.
• The origin of spinach is unknown, but we do know that it was cultivated in Iran more than 2,000 years ago. Spinach was introduced to China in the 600s and to Spain in the 1100s. By the 1200s, varieties were being grown in Germany. Spinach traveled to the New World with the first settlers to America.
• Spinach is actually a member of the beet family. Who knew?
• Spinach was the first vegetable frozen and sold commercially and was introduced by Clarence Birdseye in 1930. Fresh spinach is available year round and California and Texas are the major growers.
• The word "spinach" is derived from the Persian word for "green hand."
• Studies show the healthiest way to consume spinach is to juice it! Blend spinach with other vegetables or fruits to create a delicious glass of juice, or try a Green Machine Smoothie.
• Because the body cannot completely break down the nutrients in raw spinach, cooking spinach increases its health benefits. Just half a cup of cooked spinach gives you three times the nutrition as one cup of raw spinach. Here's another great recipe incorporating spinach: Future Farmer's Flatbread.
How about celebrating National Spinach Day with a great book! We love Sylvia’s Spinach, by Katherine Pryor, illustrated by Anna Raff and published by Readers to Eaters.