Spinach: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Let me introduce SPINACH Nutrition here on Vegan Diet Society!

I guess everybody knows spinach nutrition.

But wait, maybe you will find something interesting here that you did not know yet.

I know I did, while researching for this article.

At the end of this article I will give you some great links to some wonderful spinach recipes as well.

I associate spinach with “Popeye The Sailor”  , something as a child I never liked to eat and then as a grownup I got to love.

Here is a short history of spinach:

  • Spinach is thought to have originated in ancient Persia (modern Iran and neighboring countries).
  • Arab traders carried spinach then into India, and then the plant was introduced into ancient China, where it was known as “Persian vegetable”.
  • In AD 827, the Saracens introduced spinach to Sicily.
  • Spinach became a popular vegetable in the Arab Mediterranean, and arrived in Spain by the latter part of the 12th century.
  • The prickly-seeded form of spinach was known in Germany by no later than the 13th century.
  • Spinach first appeared in England and France in the 14th century, probably via Spain, and it gained quick popularity because it appeared in early spring, when other vegetables were scarce.

Types of spinach:

  • Savoy -This type is sold in fresh bunches in most supermarkets actually. It has dark green, crinkly and curly leaves.
  • Flat/smooth leaf spinach – This one has broad, smooth leaves. It is actually easier to clean than the Savoy type, because the leaves are bigger. This type of spinach is often grown for canned and frozen spinach, also for soups, baby foods, and processed foods.
  • Semi-savoy – This is a hybrid variety with just slightly crinkled leaves. It has the same texture as the Savoy type, but it is not as difficult to clean. This one is grown for both fresh market and processing.

Now, there are quite a variety of other classifications as well. I think though this is not really necessary to put here.

Now let’s take a look at the nutritional value, which is quite amazing!

Spinach nutrition and facts :

It has high levels of vitamin A, which results in immunity boostingvision protecting and skin enhancing powers.

Studies suggest that spinach’s glycolipids may help prevent the development of tumors. 

The galactolipids (now that is a cool name) in spinach have been linked to the prevention of inflammatory diseases like arthritis.

Vitamin K, almost 200% of the daily value is in one cup of fresh spinach leaves and over 1000% of the daily value in one cup of boiled spinach (which contains about 6 times as much spinach).

Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health! It also helps prevent excessive activation of osteoclasts, the cells that break down your bones.

A recent study found that some compounds in spinach may improve muscle efficiency. I always knew Popeye was right!

It is a good source of iron as well.

The United States Department of Agriculture states that a 180 g  serving of boiled spinach contains 6.43 mg of iron, whereas one 170 g ground hamburger patty contains at most 4.42 mg.

Helping the body absorb iron it is helpful to consume foods that are rich in vitamin C.

Extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled.

Selection and Storage of spinach:

  • The spinach that you choose has to have vibrant, deep green leaves and stems with no signs of yellowing. 
  • The leaves should look fresh and tender, and not be wilted or bruised. No slimy coating! This is a sign of decay!
  • The best is to prepare it as soon as possible because fresh spinach loses much of its nutritional value with storage of more than a few days. 
  • You can put it in the fridge, this will keep it fresh for about eight days. In the freezer it can be for up to eight months!
  • Don’t wash spinach before you store it, because this speeds up the decay. 
  • If the spinach is already bagged when you bought it, leave it in packaging.
  • If bought unpackaged, put the spinach in a plastic storage bag and wrap the bag tightly around the spinach, taking out as much air as possible. Don’t use a regular plastic bag though! 
  • Avoid storing cooked spinach. It doesn’t last long once it is cooked.

The best way of cooking spinach:

You need to boil it to free up acids and allow them to leach into the boiling water! It brings out a sweeter taste from the spinach.  

  • Bring a large pot (3 quart) with lots of water to boil. 
  • Add the spinach to the boiling water and boil for 1 minute. 
  • The spinach has to boil one minute, so if you put a large amount in the pot, and it stops to boil, then you have to start with the “one-minute” as soon as it starts to boil again. 
  • Do not cover the pot! This helps to release more of the acids with the rising steam. 
  • Boiling the spinach in large amounts of water helps decrease the oxalic acid content by as much as 50%!

Discard the boiling water after cooking!

Do not drink it or use it for stock because the water is acidic!

Now, I think I do have to mention that it is best to just buy spinach grown organically.

You know how it is nowadays, to keep everything “fresh” as long as possible, many chemicals are being used.

Try to avoid that by buying organically grown spinach. 

Ok, I hope you have learned something new here on my blog, regarding spinach nutrition and facts.

As promised, here are some links were you can find some great recipes, you will go directly to the spinach recipes:

Spinach Recipes: The Ultimate Guide

The Uncooked Vegan Kitchen

Super foods Spinach Recipes

Vegan Recipe : Vegan Diet Society

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