Known in the nutrition world as a “power” food, spinach is packed to the brim with essential nutrients in addition to its low calorie count. Read onto find out more about how this amazing wonder food can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle and meet your fitness and nutrition goals.
- Spinach has high nutritional value and extremely rich in antioxidants when eaten raw, steamed or quickly boiled.
- It is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, zinc, iron.
- Spinach is a good source of folic acid, so boiling spinach can halve the level of folate in the spinach but microwaving does not affect much.
- Spinach along with other green leafy vegetables, considered to be as rich source of iron. According to USDA, 180gm serving of boiled spinach contains 6.43mg of iron.
- Spinach contains carotenoids, including lutein,beta-carotene and quercetin. According to research published in journal of clinical nutrition, certain carotenoids found in spinach and other green leafy vegetables may help to fight human prostate cancers.
- Spinach is a storehouse for many phyt-onutrients, that have health promotional and disease prevention properties.
- This vegetable is very low in calories and fats (100gm of raw leaves provide only 23cal). It contains good amount of soluble dietary fiber, that’s why green leafy spinach is highly recommended in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
- Fresh 100 gm of spinach contains about 25% of daily intake of Iron; one of the richest among green leafy vegetables.
- Spinach also contains, Zea-xanthin and beta-carotene. Zea-xanthin is an important dietary carotenoid and helps to protect eye from age related macular degeneration.
- 100gm of spinach provides 402% of Vitamin K, which plays an important role in strengthening bone mass. It also has established role in patients with Alzheimer’s disease by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
- As spinach is a good source of folate. Folates help to prevent neural tube defects in the fetus.
- The leaves also contain good amounts of potassium, magnesium and zinc.. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help control the heart rate and blood pressure. Zinc acts as a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis.
- Regular consumption of spinach in the diet helps prevent osteoporosis, iron deficiency anemia, and is believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and colon and prostate cancers.
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
- Spinach Is best available during winters. In the market, buy fresh leaves of dark green color, vitality and crispiness. Avoid those with dull, yellow and wilted leaves.
- Once at home wash leaves thoroughly in clean running water and they should be rinsed in salt water for 30 minutes to remove all the dirt and pesticides.
- Although it can be stored inside of the refrigerator for upto a week, fresh leaves should be eaten whenever possible to get maximum nutrition.
- Reheating of spinach leftover may cause conversion of nitrates into nitrites and nitrosamines by certain bacteria that thrive on pre-prepared spinach and many other green leafy vegetables. These poisonous compounds may be harmful to health especially for children.
- Phytates and dietary fiber in spinach may interfere with the bio-availability of calium, iron and magnesium.
- Because of its high vitamin K content, patients taking anti-coagulants, such as “warfarin” are encouraged to avoid spinach in their food since it interferes with drug metabolism.
- Spinach contains oxalic acid which may crystallize as oxalate stone in urinary tract in some people. So people with known oxalate urinary tract stones should avoid eating spinach.