Related to beetroot, spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is overflowing with nutrients. It is high in digestive-boosting fibre, yet low in carbohydrates making it a perfect addition to any meal. To absorb the most nutrients from spinach, you should eat it raw or cook it for as little time as possible.
The health benefits of spinach
Spinach contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, folic acid and pigments called carotenoids. Eating spinach regularly has many benefits which may help keep your body healthy and functioning normally:
It may help reduce tiredness and treat anaemia
Spinach is high in vitamin C, a nutrient which some studies show could help you feel more energetic for longer. Excessive tiredness and fatigue is one of the symptoms of anaemia, a condition where a reduction in the number of red cells in the body causes less oxygen to be circulated. Iron and vitamin B6 (both found in spinach) can help boost the formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin as well as help transport oxygen normally around the body.
It can help support bone health
From osteoporosis to joint health, spinach contains many nutrients that can help support healthy bones. Manganese, magnesium, vitamin K and calcium all help maintain normal bone growth while vitamin C helps boost collagen production which is needed to form strong bones and cartilage.
It may help fight off colds, flus and infections
As well as immune-boosting vitamin C, spinach also contains iron, vitamin B6 and vitamin A which may all help to fight off pesky colds and infections. They do this by helping to keep your immune system functioning properly.
It may help support eye health
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids (forms of vitamin A) found in spinach that may help to keep eyes healthy.
It may help keep blood pressure stable
As it contains high amounts of nitrates, spinach could help keep blood pressure levels under control. In one small study, regularly eating spinach lowered blood pressure levels. People with lower blood pressure tend to have a lower risk of heart disease or strokes.
It is high in fibre but low in calories
Rich in fibre with a high water content, spinach may help digestion and keep constipation at bay. Although it is full of nutrients, a 100g of spinach only contains 23 calories along with almost 3g of protein. This combination of proteins and fibre may help to keep you fuller for longer – ideal if you’re cutting down on calories to manage your weight.
How can you use spinach?
From smoothies to curries, spinach is an all-rounder in the kitchen. Here are some wonderful ways to boost your diet with this delicious green at any meal:
Blend it into smoothies
For the ultimate healthy, green smoothie, whizz up spinach leaves with wheatgrass juice, avocados and cucumbers. If you’re after something sweeter yet still packed with vitamins, try a combination of bananas, blueberries and coconut water instead.
Add to your favourite curry
Simmer the leaves in tasty Indian dishes served with lentils or brown rice. Flavour your recipe with spices like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and garlic.
An alternative to traditional recipes, blend raw spinach with chickpeas, olive oil and tahini for a tasty, fresh-flavoured dip. Season with salt and pepper then serve with vegetable crisps or sticks.
Toss in salads
Drizzle the leaves with lemon and apple cider vinegar and mix with courgettes, quinoa and toasted almonds for a vitamin-packed lunch or dinner in minutes. Surprisingly, a salad made with spinach and strawberries is unusual yet delicious.
Wilt your spinach
Cooking vegetables quickly keeps nutrients intact and steers clear of soggy spinach leaves. Simply sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper for a speedy side dish or combine with pasta dishes for a nutrient-boost.
With plenty of nutrients and proven health benefits, spinach is a nutritious, leafy green vegetable.