“I'm strong to the finich, cause I eats me spinach.” You know what? Popeye the Sailor Man was onto something.
A word to the wise: Don’t skimp on the spinach. This leafy superfood is loaded with macronutrients, fiber, and protein. Spinach is a low-calorie veggie that’s got the whole alphabet of vitamins under its belt. That’s right—A, K, C, B2, and E are all VIPs. Other notable nutrient mentions include magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, and folate. So, how exactly can spinach help us?
Getting in Those Greens May:
- Support bone health (calcium and Vitamin K)
- Lower blood pressure (potassium)
- Lead to healthier skin and hair (Vitamin A)
- Protect your eyesight (Vitamin C)
- Fight free radicals (chlorophyll)
- Help with energy levels (fiber and iron)
You may be wondering if it matters how we sneak spinach into our meals. Some people have a handful in their power smoothies, while others sauté it with garlic for the perfect side dish. There isn’t a gigantic nutritional difference between cooked and raw—how you enjoy it mostly depends on what you need in your diet!
What Cooked Spinach Delivers
Whether you’re making a quiche, heating up our Sausage Baked Penne, or stirring some into a stew, spinach makes a welcomed, savory addition. When spinach boils, its high oxaylic acid content begins to break down. When eaten raw, this acid blocks the absorption of iron and calcium. Less oxaylic acid also means no more “spinach teeth,” which is the chalky feeling left after you enjoy it uncooked. Cooking spinach is not only extremely tasty, but totally worth it if you want to squeeze in these nutrients.
Reasons to Eat it Raw
Eating spinach uncooked is excellent for keeping the Vitamin C content intact. A 3.5-ounce serving of fresh spinach has 47% of the suggested daily value. If you sauté it, the amount dips to 16%. Raw spinach also has 49% of the recommended folate intake, but cooks down to 38%. If these are the nutrition stats you’re searching for, swap your regular salad base for spinach, blend it into shakes, or purée the leaves into a fresh pesto. If you pair additional Vitamin C sources (like lemon or orange juice) with your spinach, it can help increase the absorption of iron!
Spinach just might be the superhero of any meal. If you’re on the hunt for a hearty veg packed with vitamins and minerals, you should probably add this leafy green to your plate. Scramble it with your breakfast eggs, sprinkle some on your sandwich, or have it in cheesy creamed spinach. (Pro tip: Try out a super buttery version in our Chicken Cordon Bleu)!