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Spinach

Nutrition data (3.5 oz/100 g)

Proteins0.1 oz/3 g
Fats0.01 oz/0.3 g
Carbohydrates0.07 oz/2 g
Energy23 kcal

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It’s unbelievable how healthy this leafy vegetable is. Spinach deserves to be known as one of the healthiest products on the Earth. In France spinach is rightly called the “king of vegetables” for its numerous beneficial health effects.

Amazing health benefits of spinach

There is a very longstanding myth about exceptional level of iron content in spinach. The myth was born in 1870 when German scientist Emil von Wolf accidentally misplaced decimal point writing down the results of his study. This tiny mistake increased the actual value of iron in spinach by ten times.

More than 50 years spinach was believed to be an absolute record holder in iron content. The myth was finally busted in 1930s. Later researches have shown that the level of iron content in spinach is approximately the same as in any other leafy vegetable. However, it is not a reason to stop consuming this emerald green leaves as they are loaded with lots of nutrients: vitamins, antioxidants and microelements.

Spinach is super high in vitamin K no matter is it fresh, frozen, boiled or canned. Vitamin K helps to protect heart and strengthen bones, it is also important for blood clotting. A cup of cooked spinach provides 1100% of recommended daily value of vitamin K. And this time there is no mistake.

Cooked spinach is one of the best natural source of lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients which are very important for keeping eyes healthy. These two compounds help to protect eyes from age-related problems such as cataracts and so called night blindness. Regular consumption of spinach is recommended for people with weak vision and those who spend too much time on a computer.

Spinach is rich in B vitamins including folic acid which is necessary for normal metabolism. Folic acid also helps produce new cells. This is the reason why folic acid is so important for women during pregnancy. It helps to reduce the risks of birth defects.

Eating spinach is a healthy way to improve digestion. French people say that spinach is a broom of the stomach due to its qualities of cleansing digestion tract without damaging mucous membranes. It aids to get rid of the toxins and to relieve constipation.

Lots of minerals were found in spinach including calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese, etc. High level of magnesium delivered by spinach makes it super food for those who face with stress on a day-to-day basis. Magnesium helps to stay calm in stressful situations, reduces the effects of stress and increases productivity. 

Spinach is a dietary product number one due to its fascinating nutritional value combined with high protein and low-calorie content. In addition, spinach is absolutely free of fat and cholesterol. Spinach is perfect food for those who suffer from overweight and high level of blood cholesterol.

A fly in the ointment…

There is just one drawback to be considered – old spinach leaves accumulate oxalic acid which can be dangerous for those who suffer from urolithiasis, gout or other kidney and gallbladder problems.  

How to choose and store spinach

Buying spinach you need to choose young and fresh leaves. They have short soft stems and tender bright green leaves without any damages and yellow pots. Remember, the older the plant the more oxalic acid it has accumulated.

Store spinach wrapped in plastic bag in the refrigerator. Do not place spinach near apples, pears and bananas as they release ethylene gas which cause the spinach spoil faster. Do not wash spinach before storing since additional water will make it to wilt prematurely. Be aware that spinach is short-lived product and cannot be stored fresh for a long time. Use it within 2-3 days of purchase.  

Cooking spinach

Spinach is used in a great variety of dishes in many countries. It can be eaten different ways, raw, boiled, roasted or grilled. It matches really well with many products. Spinach is ideal for soups, pasta, salads, tarts and quiches.

Young spinach leaves can be eaten raw, old leaves are recommended to boil in order to neutralize oxalic acids. Right before cooking spinach should be thoroughly washed from soil.

Interesting facts

Catherine de’Medici who was a queen of France in the second half of 16th century was a big fan of spinach. She insisted spinach to be served in every single dish.

During First World War French doctors prescribed spinach juice to the soldiers who were injured and lose much blood.

Spinach: recipes

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