How often can you say that one cup of a particular food meets the daily value of several important vitamins and minerals in your diet, and does it in only 20-40 calories? The ability to make this boast sets spinach apart from the rest, as it can provide a powerhouse of nutritional value with very few calories. This article will explore the many spinach health benefits, its nutritional value, and give you ideas on how to implement spinach into your diet.
Spinach Health Benefits
Spinach is very low in calories, meaning you can consume a greater amount without worrying about going overboard on your caloric intake. But there’s more to spinach than just low calories. It is also brimming with nutritious vitamins and minerals. In fact, when you eat just one cup of this leafy green vegetable you will have consumed your entire daily requirement of vitamin K! You will also have gotten nearly halfway to your daily magnesium requirement, and almost completed your requirement for folate and manganese. With over 20 measurable nutrients, there is no wonder spinach makes it to every list of “super foods.”
Some of the surprising spinach health benefits are:
- C0-Q10, an antioxidant, is beneficial for strong heart muscles.
- Regular consumption of spinach can help those who suffer from skin issues like dry and aging skin.
- Eating spinach can aid in digestion, including helping prevent the formation of ulcers. It will also contribute to protecting the lining of the stomach, and reducing the likelihood of constipation.
- Because of its beta-carotene content, it can help to promote eye health, including reversing the effects of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- Provides neurological support, such as helping you concentrate better and may be an excellent choice for those suffering cognitive decline such as with Alzheimer’s.
Spinach Nutritional Value
When you eat just one cup of raw spinach, you gain a multitude of beneficial vitamins and minerals. These nutrients add to the long list of spinach health benefits. While one cup contains anywhere from 20-40 calories, most of those calories come in the form of protein. Protein is another essential requirement for physical health.
Below is a brief summary of spinach nutritional content.
- Calcium – 30 milligrams. Less than other sources, and not easily absorbable by our bodies. In fact, we may only absorb 5% of the calcium content of spinach.
- Iron – 0.81 grams. This content makes it a great source of iron, which helps your body use energy efficiently.
- Potassium – 167 milligrams makes spinach one of the most significant natural sources of potassium. It even has almost 300 more milligrams of potassium than a banana.
- Magnesium – 24 milligrams. Magnesium is of great importance to the body, as it assists in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body as well as energy metabolism, heart rhythm, blood pressure, immune system health, and even nerve function. The magnesium content of spinach is 20% of the daily value.
The nutritional content of spinach makes it an excellent choice for those who are struggling with a digestive disorder. Eating spinach might also be a good idea if you are taking antibiotics. Older individuals who are taking diuretics and others who may be experiencing a magnesium deficiency. There is very little reason nutritionally to not incorporate leafy green vegetables like spinach into one’s diet.
When you cook spinach, its healthy benefits actually increase! In fact, if you cook just a half cup of spinach, you will get almost three times the nutrition benefits! The reason this happens is in its raw form, the body is not able to digest all of the nutrients.
Here are some of the ways in which you can incorporate spinach into your diet:
Make a smoothie
Adding a handful to a smoothie is one of the best ways to benefit from spinach health benefits. Blend Greek yogurt, peanut butter, bananas, spinach and steel cut oats for a delicious morning smoothie.
Add it to your eggs
Any time you make eggs, whether scrambled or in an omelet, add a handful of spinach. Once the eggs are cooked, add the spinach and a handful of mozzarella cheese. The heat will wilt the spinach and melt the cheese, leaving you with a delicious and nutrient-dense meal.
Garnish your pasta
Whenever you make a meal involving pasta, chop up a cup of spinach and mix it in. From spaghetti to alfredo or orzo, spinach is a great addition as it will not affect the taste. However, it will add significantly to the nutritional value of the meal.
Make a salad
While spinach alone makes a delicious salad, if you require more crunch simply mix the spinach with a traditional lettuce mix. Garnish as usual and enjoy benefiting from spinach health benefits!
Mix it into meat
This is a great way to incorporate spinach when you are dealing with picky eaters. Anytime you cook ground meat, add a cup of diced spinach. The flavor and texture of the meat will mask that of the spinach.
Spinach health benefits are well documented, and vast. Adding just one cup of spinach to your daily food consumption is a great way to ensure you are meeting your daily nutritional value of several key nutrients and vitamins. Additionally, it is cheap and readily available, making adding it to several meals daily a feasible option for any budget. What is your favorite spinach benefit, or how do you like to add it to your diet?