So why is Spinach so Fabulous ?
Among the World’s Healthiest vegetables, spinach comes out at the top of our ranking list for nutrient richness. Rich in vitamins and minerals, it is also concentrated in health-promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin) and flavonoids to provide you with powerful antioxidant protection. Enjoy baby spinach in your favorite salads or make a salad made exclusively of baby spinach. Spinach is one of only three vegetables that is recommended to be boiled to help reduce its concentration of oxalic acid. Boiling for just 1 minute to minimise loss of nutrients and flavour. It’s wiser to choose tender baby spinach leaves. The larger the leaves, the more mature they are and more likely to be tough or stringy. Also, spinach leaves that are placed under direct light in the stores have been found to contain more nutrients than those stored in darkness.
Cooking spinach actually increases its health benefits! Just half a cup of cooked spinach will give you 3 times as much nutrition as one cup of raw spinach. That’s because the body finds it hard to break down the nutrients in raw spinach and using it.
Oxalic acid blocks the absorption of calcium and iron. An easy way to solve this problem is to pair spinach with a food high in vitamin C. A medium sized Jaffa organise contains on average the daily recommended allowance which is good to know!
Freezing spinach leaves also reduces its health benefits significantly so it’s probably best to buy it fresh and eat it the same day.
If you can having ‘organic on the shopping’ list is best as it tends to be over sprayed pesticides which are difficult to wash off in normal soaking or washing. I soak mine in a few drops of Citridal or a tsp of organic Apple cider vinegar.
Another lesser known benefit of spinach is its role in skin care. The bounty of vitamins and minerals in spinach can bring you quick relief from dry, itchy skin and lavish you with a radiant complexion. Regular consumption of fresh, organic spinach juice has been shown to improve skin health dramatically.
Some complex facts: Foods belonging to the chenopod family—including beets, chard, spinach and quinoa—continue to show an increasing number of health benefits not readily available from other food families. The red and yellow betalain pigments found in this food family, their unique epoxyxanthophyll carotenoids, and the special connection between their overall phytonutrients and our nervous system health (including our specialised nervous system organs like the eye) point to the chenopod family of foods as unique in their health value. While we are yet to see large scale human studies that point to a recommended minimum intake level for foods from this botanical family, we have seen data on chenopod phytonutrients, and based on this data, it is recommended that we include foods from the chenopod family in your diet 1-2 times per week. In the case of a leafy food like spinach, it is recommended that a serving size of at least 1/2 cup, and even more beneficial, at least one full cup.