100% of the Vitamin A You Need Every Day is in 1/2 Cup of Cooked Spinach
Spinach is an extremely popular dark green leafy vegetable that can be served either raw or cooked. Contrary to popular belief, spinach isn’t as much of a source of iron as was previously thought. However, the vegetable’s dark green leaves do contain many other valuable nutrients .
100% of the Vitamin A you need every day is in 1/2 cup of cooked spinach.
It also provides 419mg of potassium, as well as Vitamin C, riboflavin, and Vitamin B6.
To avoid loosing it’s vitamin content, don’t overcook your spinach. Instead, health benefits can be preserved by opting to steam, or stir-fry. These cooking methods also preserve the texture and the flavor. In addition heating makes the protein in spinach easier to break down. The value of raw spinach can be enhanced by serving it with citrus slices for added Vitamin C.
Promotes vision health : Spinach is rich in carotenoids, plant pigments that are responsible for it’s dark green color. Among these carotenoids are lutein and zeaxanthin, which help prevent macular degeneration ( the leading cause of blindness in older adults). Cooking spinach helps to convert lutein into more bioavailable forms.
Can help prevent cancer: The antioxidants and bioflavonoids in spinach help block cancer-causing substances, and processes.
May help prevent birth defects: A half cup of cooked spinach provides 105 mcg of folate which is more than 25% of the Recommended Dietary allowance. Folate is especially important for women who are pregnant or who may be planning a pregnancy, because it helps prevent congenital neurological defects. Folate deficiency can also cause a severe type of anemia.
Boosts Bones: Phylloquinone is the most common form of Vitamin K found in dark leafy greens such as spinach. Vitamin K is needed for proper blood clotting and may play a role in preserving bone health. Some research suggests that it may increase bone density and reduce fracture rates. Both the Nurses’ Health Study and the Framingham Heart Study found that people who consume the most Vitamin K have a lower risk of hip fractures than those who consume less.
Mineral absorption: The nutritional benefits of spinach are somewhat offset by its’ high concentration of oxalic acid which inhibits the absorption of the iron, calcium, and other minerals found in spinach. To increase mineral absorption eat spinach with other foods that are rich in Vitamin C. Oxalic acid can also pose a problem for people who are susceptible to kidney and bladder stones which form from oxalates.
FOOD- DRUG INTERACTIONS: Spinach may interfere with blood-thinning drugs. If your physician has prescribed blood-thinning medication, such as heparin or warfarin (Coumadin), it is wise to moderate your intake of Vitamin K -rich foods, such as spinach. Excess Vitamin K can counteract the effects of these drugs.
My Spinach Tips:
Mix chopped cooked spinach and roasted red pepper into hummus
Top crostini with sauteed baby spinach, garlic, and lemon juice
Use baby spinach on sandwiches instead of lettuce
My Buying Tips:
Fresh spinach is available in supermarkets year-round, sometimes with the roots attached, sometime pre-washed and bagged
Select leaves that are dark green and fresh looking instead of wilted or yellowing
If buying frozen spinach, choose brands with no added sauce