Super foods, the ultimate health foods – Spinach

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Wednesday, 30 September 2009.
Tagged: antioxidants, fibre, food variety, healthy cooking, super foods, superfoods, vegetables

Super foods, the ultimate health foods – Spinach

If you're not adding spinach to your meals, you're missing out on one of nature's true super foods. It's a green leafy vegetable that's chock full of vitamins, minerals and plant compounds (phytochemicals). It's one of those vegetables that is always recommended for peak health. The trick is to find ways to incorporate into your cooking.

 

Rich in vitamins ...

It's an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, beta carotene (which is converted into vitamin A in the body) along with some vitamin E. An average serve (35g) provides 5 mg of vitamin C, one-eighth of the recommended daily intake.

       ... and antioxidants

It offers many antioxidants but is one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. These two antioxidants can help protect our eyes as we age, so keeping macular degeneration at bay. I suggest  eating spinach in some form - raw or cooked - at least three times a week if you have a family history of this form of blindness as a preventive for eyesight. Even if the research is not quite right, you're still adding a top food to your regular meals which can only do your health good!

Don't forget that spinach has virtually no fat and so few kilojoules/calories, you could eat as much as you wanted and not put on any weight. In an overweight sedentary world, it's one food you can happily eat MORE of!

 

Was Popeye wrong?

Long famous for its high iron content (which was made famous by the cartoon Popeye), spinach's iron is unfortunately not well absorbed. It's present but doesn't get into the body in great amounts. Red meat, chicken and fish are better for absorbable iron.

 

Easy ways to enjoy spinach

  • Make a salad of baby spinach leaves and toss through toasted pine nuts and crumbled goats cheese. Drizzle over a good dressing with wine vinegar and olive oil.
  • Add 1 cup of well-drained frozen chopped spinach to your meat loaf or meat balls. It's a great way of sneaking in vegetables to kids who won't eat any!
  • Toss a handful of baby spinach leaves into a curry or stir fry at the end of cooking. They will wilt in the heat of the dish, adding colour and nutrition.
  • Use cooked spinach as a base for eggs or fish. Think of Eggs Florentine.
  • Eat a baby spinach leaf salad every day or every second day.
  • Add chopped cooked spinach to lasagna and meatloaf.

 

Nutrition stats for spinach

Per serve:
One cup raw spinach leaves (weighing 35g/1oz) supplies: less than 1g protein, trace of fat, trace sugar, 0 starch, 1g dietary fibre and 22 kilojoules (5 calories)

Per 100g raw:
2 per cent protein, trace of fat, trace of sugars, 0 starch, 3 per cent dietary fibre and 63 kilojoules (15 calories)

   

Try my healthy and quick recipes using spinach