10 Reasons why Spinach is called a Superfood
If Popeye, the sailor man could get his strength from Spinach, you could too!
No wonder, this leafy vegetable is considered a superfood. While Spinach won’t cause your biceps to inflate like balloons, it is surely dense in vitamins and minerals, lower in calories and versatile in cooking.
Spinach is a leafy green flowering plant native to central and western Asia.
We all are aware that spinach is good for us, but the question remains as to what makes this green a superfood?
The below listed nutritional information will give you an insight into some of the components that this green possesses!
100gms of Spinach contains
Energy 23 calories
Carbohydrates 3.6 gm
Dietary fibre 2.2gms
Fat – 0.4gms
Vitamin A – 469 mcg (59% DV)
Vitamin C – 28mg
Vitamin E- 2 mg
Vitamin K- 483 mcg (460% DV)
Calcium- 99 mg
Iron- 2.7 mg
It also contains High Folate, Manganese, good amounts of Potassium, Magnesium too!
Although Spinach is touted as being high in iron and calcium content, and is often served and consumed in its raw form, raw spinach contains high levels of oxalates, which block the absorption of calcium and iron in our bodies.
Thus, spinach which is either steamed, leached or boiled in several changes of water has much lower levels of oxalates and is better digested and the nutrients are better absorbed too!
THE GREEN GOODNESS OF SPINACH!
1. Helps maintain good vision-
The dark green colour of Spinach is indicative of high amounts of beta- carotene (Vitamin A). This nutrient is very important for a healthy eyesight and helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
2. Helps maintain good heart health-
Spinach contains nitrates which may help improve blood flow and pressure by relaxing the blood vessels, reducing arterial stiffness and promotes dilation.
This reduces blood pressure and in turn reduces the risk of heart diseases and stroke too.
3. Healthy bones-
Spinach, being rich in Vitamin K, Calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, helps maintain bone health.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends eating spinach for its Vitamin K and magnesium content.
4. Cuts the risk of Iron deficiency anaemia.
Spinach contains good Iron content that can help in preventing Anaemia.
The National Organization of Women’s health and the National Heart, lung and blood Institute recommends eating spinach as a part of an anaemia prevention or treatment programme.
5. Helps provide energy-
Spinach helps restore energy, increases vitality and improves the quality of blood too!
Being super rich in Iron, helps transport oxygen around the body.
6. Anti-cancer properties-
Spinach contains ample quantities of protective compounds like polyphenols which have anti-cancer properties (Studies by Naoki Maeda et al, Bioactive foods in promoting health, Fruits and vegetables, 2010, Pages 393-405).
It is known to protect against stomach cancer, mouth cancer and oesophagus cancer.
7. Boosts hydration-
Do you know, the water from vegetables and fruits is more hydrating than sipping water alone!
Spinach is a vegetable that’s nearly all water. Add it to your meals and snacks throughout the day for extra H2O!
9. Aids in weight loss-
If you are planning to reduce your weight, then it is advised that you add spinach onto your weight loss diet and this will do you good. Spinach makes you feel full and curbs your appetite.
10. Has anti inflammatory properties-
Spinach contains neoxanthin and violaxanthin which have anti inflammatory properties that reduces inflammation, Osteoporosis, migraine, asthma, arthritis and headaches.
HOW TO PREPARE SPINACH
1. Raw, cooked, canned or steamed, plain old spinach isn’t always exciting. But yes, when combined with other foods, it can be delicious!
2. Microwave strips of fresh spinach combined with olive oil, lemon juice and cheddar or mozzarella cheese to make an easy spinach dish kids will love.
3. Blend fresh or frozen spinach, strawberries, pineapple, banana, plain yogurt and chia seeds to make a delicious smoothie
4. Fold spinach, red bell peppers and hummus together in a whole wheat flatbread for a healthy, filling snack.
5. Combine spinach, garlic, onions, vegetable stock/ chicken broth in a blender to make a hearty soup
6. Make Indian delicious specialities like Palak paneer/ Palak Pulav/ Palak Paratha/ Palak Raita, Palak Muthiya.
IS SPINACH SAFE FOR EVERYONE?
Yes, Spinach is safe for most of the people. But some might need to exercise caution.
Being rich in oxalates, it is contra indicated for people with oxalate containing kidney stones.
Also, people on blood thinning medication or Warfarin should consider the vitamin K intake and thus avoid/ reduce Spinach intake.
Spinach is a superstar amongst green leafy vegetables. This low-calorie food is full of nutrients that is good for your body in several ways.
From boosting the immune system against germs to helping your heart, its advantages might surprise you!
So, make sure you add this healthy green to your regular diet and reap the benefits of it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sneha Jain, Dietician
Sneha is a Post graduate with specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a university topper and holds 5+ years of experience in Apollo hospitals, VLCC, slimsutra and first cry fit-kids .
She has successfully counselled clients all over India for weight loss, weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, PCOD, hypothyroid, Pregnancy and lactation and growth charts for children. She has her own diet consultation e-clinic (diet_diariez)
She believes in customized diets and eating local and seasonal foods. Her counselling not only involves diet planning, but also lifestyle modification and stress relief strategies.