spinach - 23 things you didn't know about

Spinach – 24 things you didn’t know about

Spinach is a powerhouse of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. It was first discovered in Persia almost 2000 years ago. This nutritious green leafy vegetable is native to central and western Asia. Spinach is closely related to beets and quinoa. 

Spinach is loaded with vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, iron, folic acid, magnesium, calcium. It is a low-calorie leafy vegetable. It is also loaded with insoluble fiber and protein.

Here are a few things that you didn’t know about spinach.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Spinach is a green leafy vegetable, which is known for its high nutritional value. It is a good source of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. Spinach contains 91% water, which helps to hydrate your body. 

Is spinach a superfood?

Spinach contains a large number of healthy compounds. It contains some crucial vitamins like vitamin A, K, C, B3, and B6. It has minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, zinc, and calcium. The highly nutritive property of spinach makes it a superfood.

a bowl of fresh spinach leaves

Spinach boosts your immunity. It increases bone health. Iron present in the spinach improves your overall growth.

Is spinach rich in iron?

100grams of spinach contain 2.7milligrams of iron, which is almost 20% of your recommended dietary intake. Vitamin C present in spinach increases the absorption of iron into the body.

Iron in the body delivers oxygen to all the tissues and cells. Spinach helps menstruating women, children, and adults by enhancing the iron content.

Is oxalic acid in spinach bad for you?

Spinach has high amounts of oxalic acid, which can reduce the absorption of minerals in your body. Oxalic acid easily binds with calcium to form stones in your kidney.

100 grams of spinach has 600 milligrams of oxalic acid, which is 6 times more than one should consume in a day. 

Oxalates bind with other minerals in your gut, thus hindering and reducing their absorption. Spinach is also rich in fiber, which along with oxalate may further hinder the absorption of nutrients. 

However, the oxalates in spinach are not that harmful as they sound. Most of the oxalic acid can be broken down easily by the bacteria in your digestive system. 

Does boiling spinach destroy nutrients?

Boiling spinach destroys some nutrients but boosts the absorption of others. Spinach is rich in oxalic acid, and boiling it reduces its efficiency. It thus helps to boost the absorption of protein, vitamin A, fiber, zinc, potassium, iron, and calcium.

spinach leaves boiling in a pot of water

However, boiling spinach reduces the amount of vitamin C present in the vegetable. This is because the vitamin is water-soluble and sensitive to heat. Boiled spinach loses more than 50% of its Vitamin C content.

BENEFITS OF SPINACH

Spinach is known as the king of vegetables. It is filled with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents, which keeps your heart healthy and boosts your immunity as well.

What does spinach do to your body?

  • Spinach is rich in antioxidant agents, which reduces the risk of prostate cancer in males and breast cancer in females.
  • High amounts of insoluble fiber, present in spinach add bulk to your stool thus it helps in treating constipation.
  • Various xanthins present in spinach have anti-inflammatory properties. So it helps in conditions like osteoporosis, asthma, arthritis, and headaches.

Is eating raw spinach healthy?

Raw spinach is rich in nutrients like potassium, vitamin B2, vitamin C, niacin, lutein, and folate. When you boil or cook your spinach, it loses more than 50% of these nutrients.

These nutrients help your cells to function normally and enhance anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Niacin lowers cholesterol levels and enhances brain function. 

a woman eating raw spinach leaves

Lutein, an antioxidant agent, prevents the accumulation of plaque in your blood vessels. In this way, it prevents heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases.

Is spinach good for your liver?

Spinach contains glutathione that is a strong antioxidant. It neutralizes all the harmful free radicals and toxins in your liver. 

Spinach contains a high concentration of nitrate. It reverses the damage caused by fatty liver. It prevents cell damage in alcoholic and non-alcoholic people.

Is spinach healthier raw or cooked?

Spinach is considered as a healthy option both as a raw vegetable and its cooked form. Niacin, vitamin C, vitamin B2, lutein are more available in raw form. Whereas, vitamin A, E, zinc, thiamin, potassium, iron, and calcium are more absorbable in cooked form.

Even though spinach can be eaten in both forms, most people prefer cooking their spinach. This is because raw spinach is rich in oxalic acid, which hinders the absorption of minerals in your body.

When you cook your spinach, the oxalic acid breaks down and improves the efficiency and absorption of minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium.

Which is healthier spinach or kale?

Kale and spinach are very much similar when it comes to nutrients. Spinach has an edge over kale when it comes to Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and folate. Whereas, kale has more than twice the amount of Vitamin C than spinach.

left - spinach leaves ; right - kale
Left – Spinach ; Right – Kale

Both kale and spinach are low-calorie vegetables that are filled with nutrients. However, when it comes to taste, kale has a slightly bitter and overpowering taste.

The mild, slightly sweet taste of spinach works well with smoothies. Whereas, kale tastes better in soups and salads.

What is the healthiest way to eat spinach?

Spinach smoothie is packed with high levels of antioxidants that boosts your immunity and improves your overall health. The high-speed blending of spinach leaves reduces the amount of oxalate in it.

Spinach should be consumed in combination with dairy products, like milk or curd. The fat present in the dairy product helps the lutein to absorb easily in your body.

Additionally, milk is rich in calcium, and eating spinach along with milk, would reduce the effect of oxalic acid. This reduces your chances of developing kidney stones.

SKIN BENEFITS OF SPINACH

Spinach is a superfood when it comes to skin. It is made up of 91% water, which hydrates your skin and body, making it look fresh. Spinach has been used for centuries to heal scars from the skin and to treat skin conditions like eczema or dark spots.

Does spinach improve skin?

Spinach is loaded with Vitamins A, C, K which benefits your skin. Vitamin A protects your skin from the damage caused by UV rays from the sun. Whereas Vitamin C removes free radicals that damage your skin and Vitamin K heal scars and wounds.

Spinach has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation in your skin and prevents any acne or pimples. 

1 cup of raw spinach contains 7.3 grams of Vitamin C, which is almost 9% of your recommended dietary intake. Vitamin C boosts the production of collagen in your skin, making it look brighter and younger.

Is spinach anti-aging?

Spinach is rich in Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant agent. It neutralises all the free radicals in your skin and body, which are responsible for premature ageing of your skin cells. 

A woman with spinach clay mask on her face

Vitamin C in spinach also helps to reduce oxidative stress and boost the production of collagen in your skin. This helps to rejuvenate your skin cells and support the structure of your skin.

Spinach contains anti-inflammatory substances like lutein and zeaxanthin. They reduce the inflammation caused due to the sun and protect your skin from UV damage. It also helps to get rid of dark circles and spots.

Is spinach good for wrinkles?

Spinach is made up of 91% water content, which prevents the onset of wrinkles. Vitamin A in this vegetable keeps your skin hydrated. It exfoliates the dead skin cells from your face, maintaining the upper layers of skin healthy.

Spinach is rich in antioxidant agents, which help to neutralize the free radicals in your body. This helps to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on your skin. It also improves the elasticity of your skin. 

Does spinach make your skin darker?

Spinach contains nutrients that cleanse your skin internally. All the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances maintain healthy skin. Thus it gives a glowing and clear complexion to your skin.

Spinach contains beta-carotene, a substance that boosts your skin’s health. It increases your skin’s defense against UV radiation and maintains a supple appearance

However, if you consume more than 20 mg of beta-carotene for quite a few weeks, your skin might have an orangish tan to it.

Spinach is also rich in water and Vitamin C which keeps your skin soft and glowing. They help get rid of dry skin and dark spots from your face.

SPINACH FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Spinach is a healthy green vegetable, which is high in water content as well as protein, and low in calories. This makes it one of the best vegetables to add to your diet, especially post your workout session. 

Can you lose weight by eating spinach?

1 cup of raw spinach contains just 7 calories, which is half the calories in one potato chip. Spinach keeps your stomach full for a longer period, preventing you from snacking or overeating, and helps you in losing weight.

a woman eating a bowl of cooked spinach leaves

Spinach has more than 5 grams of insoluble fiber in every cup. This regulates your digestive system and boosts your metabolism. Insoluble fiber acts as a bulking agent and helps you get rid of constipation as well.

1 cup of raw spinach contains 0 grams of fat and 1 gram of protein. Drinking spinach smoothies would help you shed those few kilos a little faster.

Is spinach good for belly fat?

Spinach burns your belly fat faster. The high amount of insoluble fiber keeps your stomach full. This fiber remains unabsorbed and adds bulk to your stool. It is a low-calorie food that aids in weight loss.

Spinach is a low-calorie, high-nutrient combination, making it ideal for weight loss. One cup of spinach when added to the diet burns your belly fat easily. It burns fat and provides nutrients to your body.

BEST TIME TO EAT SPINACH

Although you can eat your vegetables, at any time of the day. But, there are certain times that would be more beneficial for you than others. Spinach is rich in protein, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K. Eating it at the right time is important to gain all of its nutritional benefits.

Is it okay to eat spinach every day?

Eating 2 cups of spinach every day, either raw or cooked is beneficial for your health. It provides all the nutrients that your body needs on a daily basis.

Eating a bowl of spinach at dinner as a salad, or drinking spinach smoothie before you go to sleep, would help you gain the most nutritional benefits.

Spinach when eaten at night helps to relax your mind and body, by reducing oxidative stress. It consists of amino acids that help your body get rid of cellular toxins and helps get rid of insomnia

It also stimulates your digestive system, boosts your metabolism, and helps you get rid of acid reflux and heartburn

Can I drink spinach juice daily?

Drinking 1 glass of spinach juice or a smoothie would help you boost your immunity and stimulate your digestive system. 

a glass of spinach juice

Spinach juice helps reduce oxidative stress from your body and relaxes your mind and your muscles. It also helps with anxiety and sleeping disorders.

What is the best way to eat spinach?

Drinking a spinach smoothie is one of the healthiest and the best way to gain all the nutrients from spinach.

Ingredients you need –

  • 1 medium-sized banana
  • 1 small-sized apple
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 4 teaspoons of lemon
  • ½ cup of water

What you have to do –

  • Cut the banana and the apple into small pieces and add them to the blender.
  • Wash your spinach leaves well and then add them to the blender.
  • Add the lemon and water to the blender as well.
  • Blend until you get a smooth texture.
  • Strain the spinach smoothie in a glass and drink it slowly.

How often you should do this –

Drinking a spinach smoothie everyday before going to bed is a healthy life choice.

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about spinach that we have gathered from all over the internet. 

Do you eat stems of spinach?

Spinach stems are a little acidic but are packed with flavor. They contain almost the same amount of nutrients like leaves. You can cut up the spinach stems into small pieces and add them to your salad or smoothie.

However, digesting mature stems can be a little tricky for your system. Mature stems are rich in cellulose and are very difficult to break down and digest. So try sticking to tender stems and leaves.

Can I freeze spinach?

Freezing fresh spinach leaves helps you store the spinach for more than 13 months. Steaming your spinach before freezing it would help you retain almost all of its nutrients.

a bowl of blanched spinach ready for freezing

Steaming or blanching spinach would help reduce oxalic acid in spinach by up to 53%, without affecting other vitamins and minerals.

However, if you are sure that you would use your spinach leaves within 6 months, you can also freeze your leaves without blanching them. 

What can you add to spinach to make it taste better?

Spinach goes well with strong herbs and spices. Use spices such as basil, garlic, chives, garlic, and nutmeg to add a strong flavour to your salad or dinner recipe.

Spinach also goes well with meat or chicken as well as vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and bell pepper as a side dish. Adding the required amount of salt and squeezing lemon at the end adds taste to it.

How do you keep spinach fresh longer?

  • Wash fresh spinach leaves with fresh water to remove all the dirt and soil.
  • Now tear off the stems if they are hard and too mature. I personally like to keep the tender stems, as they add a sweet taste and a lot of nutrients to your dish.
  • Now tear off the large leaves and add them to a steamer basket. 
  • Now steam blanch your spinach by placing the basket over a pot of boiling water for two minutes.
  • Now take the leaves out from the basket and add them to ice cold water for another 2 minutes.
  • Take the leaves out and pat dry them with a thick towel.
  • Put all the leaves in your airtight freezer bags and seal them well.

Who should not eat spinach?

Spinach should not be consumed by people who are taking blood thinners. Patients with kidney problems should avoid spinach as well. It increases the risk of kidney stones. Spinach may interact with anti-diabetic drugs. 

Anti-diabetic drugs lower your blood sugar level. Spinach, when consumed along with anti-diabetic drugs, makes your blood sugar levels very low.

Conclusion

Spinach is a kit of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients are enough to keep you strong and healthy. Either in the form of smoothie or salad keep on consuming spinach every day.

Grab this superfood whenever you go to buy your veggies.

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