Spinach is a leafy green vegetable known for being hated by kids and loved by Popeye. It packs a potent punch nutritionally speaking and it can also provide some notable health benefits, but for all the good that spinach does there are some misconceptions that we need to clear up.
In this guide we’ll do just that, telling you what you need to know about the nutrient and health benefits of spinach. We were so impressed with this leafy green that we included an organic variety in our daily detox drink, one that is formulated from pounds upon pounds of superfoods and provides you with a delicious way to get your nutrient fix.
So, keep reading to discover just what impressed us so and to clear up some of the myths and misconceptions and this vegetable.
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Nutrients in Spinach
100 grams of fresh spinach will provide you with nearly 3 grams of protein and over 2 grams of fiber. That may not sound like much, and it’s not, but most of that fresh leaf is water, so it only contains between 22 and 25 calories.
Spinach is also a great source of numerous vitamins and minerals, including nearly 200% of your recommend intake of vitamin A and 600% of vitamin K. Everything you heard about spinach being a great source of iron was a lie (more on that below) but there are over half a dozen nutrients found in a higher or equal concentration, including manganese, folate, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium.
Spinach is not a complete food, not by any stretch, but it’s perfect as a side dish or an addition to a meal. It can give you a boost of essential vitamins that you may be lacking elsewhere and it can also help to boost your protein and fiber intake.
And that’s not all, as spinach is also rich in antioxidants, including a number that have been linked to many life-changing health benefits.
The Antioxidants in Spinach
You will find all of the following antioxidants in spinach:
- Lutein : This compound is essential in maintaining optimal eye health and consumption of lutein in natural foods like spinach may also help to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, as well as other vision disturbances.
- Carotenes : These are converted into vitamin A in the body and help with a number of essential tasks, supporting everything from eye health to brain health, while also boosting your immune system.
- Quercetin : This is a common but essential antioxidant that may play a role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, coronary heart disease, and more. It does this by reducing inflammation in the body. Spinach and other dark leafy greens are some of the best sources of this antioxidant.
- Zeaxanthin : This is another antioxidant that can play a role in maintaining optimal eye health in addition to an array of other bodily processes.
Spinach is also a great source of nitrates. These compounds are essentially what makes many leafy vegetables so healthy. They work by relaxing the blood vessels and easing tension on the heart, while also promoting optimal metabolic health. These compounds are found in most plant foods in differing concentrations and it is believed that a diet containing regular doses can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.
Benefits of Spinach
There are a number of ways that spinach consumption may improve your health, some of which we have already touched on above:
Reduce the risk of heart disease Reduce the risk of cancer Improve bowel health and regularity Provide a host of essential vitamins and minerals Ease digestive distress Reduce inflammation all over the body Support eye health
Iron in Spinach: Myth 1
Spinach has become the go-to source of iron for anyone suffering from a deficiency, but the notion that spinach contains more of this mineral than any other vegetable is a myth. Sure, it has iron in it, but nowhere near as much as you may have been led to believe and most dark green vegetables have more.
The biggest issue here is that very little of the iron in spinach is actually absorbed by he body, with some estimates suggesting that just 2% of the mineral is absorbed into the bloodstream.
There are a lot of benefits to consuming this leafy green vegetable, there is no denying that, but iron isn’t one of them.
Raw vs Cooked Spinach: Myth 2
Raw is usually better. The cooking process tends to break down many of the enzymes that make superfoods so super in the first place, but as with the iron issue above, this has been misunderstood and misrepresented over the years.
Light boiling or steaming actually does very little damage to the structure of a food’s nutrients (it’s cooking at high temperatures you need to worry about) and in some cases it can actually increase absorption. Where spinach is concerned, boiling it can help to breakdown the oxalic acid, which can decrease absorption of key minerals like calcium.
In fact, oxalic acid can also impact on how much spinach is absorbed and by cooking it you could get more of this mineral. However, some B vitamins may be more easily absorbed when you consume this vegetable raw, so it’s a mixed bag and the best thing to do is to embrace both methods as opposed to opting for one over the other.
Conclusion: Eat More Leafy Greens
Generally speaking, dark leafy green vegetables are some of the healthiest foods in the world. Broccoli, kale, sprouts—they all contain copious amounts of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, nitrates, protein and fiber, all of which your body needs to survive.
Spinach is a fantastic leafy green superfood, but it’s not alone and you’ll get many of the same benefits from consuming others. That’s why we packed our Detox Organics daily detox drink with several of these foods, including plenty of organic spinach, kale and horseradish tree leaf.
To get your daily dose of these superfoods and more, all in a delicious chocolate-flavored drink, buy your supply of Detox Organics today. It could provide all of the above benefits and so much more, and it does this while negating the need to spend a fortune on fresh vegetables.