Spinach is a leafy vegetable native to central and southwestern Asia. This vegetable is well-known for its nutritional value, as it is very rich in antioxidants. To get the best possible health benefits from spinach, it is recommended to consume it fresh, steamed or quickly boiled. Many nutritionists and dieticians will agree this vegetable is one of the healthiest foods we can purchase in our local green markets. It is highly accessible food, available to almost everywhere in the world, and very affordable. Moreover, spinach is low on calories and yet rich with vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional compounds.
Nutritional value of spinach
One serving size of spinach weighing approximately 30g is equal to one cup. There are only 7 calories per serving of spinach, and yet the health benefits of this vegetable are fantastic. Spinach is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, but it is a good source of niacin and zinc, and very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. The only bad point about spinach’s nutritional value is that it contains high amounts of sodium. There are as much as 24mg of sodium per one serving.
One serving of spinach may satisfy 181% of recommended daily allowance for vitamin K, 56% of recommended daily allowance for vitamin A and 14% of recommended daily allowance for vitamin C.
Spinach is rich in iron, but this mineral is best absorbed in combination with vitamin C. Raw spinach combined with other vegetables in a fresh salad, sprinkled with lemon juice, is one of the healthiest spinach recipes.
Health benefits of spinach
Spinach is very good in controlling cholesterol and for weight reduction programs, as it contains very few calories while being rich in dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is very important for regular movements of the bowel and it also promotes the feeling of fullness. 100g of spinach are enough to satisfy 25% of recommended daily allowance of iron. Iron is important for production of red blood cells and overall cellular metabolism.
Antioxidants found in spinach are protective compounds that fight against oxidative damage caused by free radicals and may help to prevent different degenerative diseases and cancers.
Moreover, healthy nutrients from spinach may help protect from age related macular disease, also known as ARMD, in the elderly population.
Vitamin K is important for strengthening the bones and preventing neuronal damage in the brain. Other vitamins found in spinach, such as vitamins from B family and vitamin C, are helping our bodies to develop strong immune system and fight the viruses and bacteria more efficiently.