Spinach is an edible flowering plant that comes from the Amaranthaceae family and is native to western and central Asia. Its leaves are consumed as a vegetable and are loaded with nutrients in a low calorie package. Since this leafy green vegetable is rich in minerals, fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins, and wide range of phytonutrients, there are a number of ways to add spinach your daily mealtime plan and benefit from a number of nutritional benefits. For instance, a recent study suggested that sautéing spinach retained its carotenoid content in comparison with frying, boiling or steaming.
Calories and Nutrition in Spinach
- 1 Calories and Nutrition in Spinach
- 2 Health Benefits of Adding Spinach to Your Diet
- 3 Selecting and Storing Spinach
- 4 Tasty Spinach Recipes
100 grams of spinach contains 23 calories while a package of the vegetable packs 66 calories. A leaf weighing 10 grams contains 2 calories while a 30-gram cup has 7 calories. Lastly, if you decide to consume a whole 340 gram bunch of spinach, your calorie intake will increase by 79 calories.
Nutritional Facts – Based On 100 Grams
- 4 grams of Total Fat (polyunsaturated fat 0.2 grams +Monounsaturated fat 0.2 grams)
- 0 milligram cholesterol
- 79 milligrams of sodium
- 558 milligrams of potassium
- 2 grams of dietary fiber
- 4 grams of sugar
- 9 grams of protein
- 187% of Vitamin A
- 46% Vitamin C
- 9% Calcium
- 15% Iron
- 0% Vitamin D
- 10% Vitamin B-6
- 0% Vitamin B-12
- 19% Magnesium
- 604% Vitamin K
- 5% thiamin
- 11% riboflavin
- 4% niacin
- 49% folate
- 1% pantothenic acid
- 0 milligrams of choline
- 550 milligrams of betaine
- 10% calcium
- 5% Phosphorus
- 4% zinc
- 6% copper
- 45% manganese
- 1% selenium
Spinach is one of the best sources of potassium, where a hundred grams of the vegetable contains 558 mg of potassium, which equals to 16% of the total recommended daily value. This is surprising since the same quantity of bananas (that have always been considered the king of potassium) contains 358 mg of potassium. Potassium helps preserve bone mineral density and retains muscle mass. Besides that, it also prevents kidney stones from forming and controls blood pressure and heart rate.
Spinach is also packed with magnesium, where 100 grams of the vegetable contains 79 mg of this mineral, which is equivalent to 20% of the daily-recommended value intake.
Magnesium is crucial for regulating brain activity and maintaining nerve operation along with controlling blood sugar and blood pressure. This mineral is also vital in protein synthesis.
Spinach is the richest when it comes to iron as compared to all other irons. 100 grams of the vegetable packs 2.7 mg of iron, which aids the production and regulation of red blood cell and prevents hair loss and anemia.
Spinach contains a wide variety of vitamins such as vitamins A and C along with lutein, polyphenol, zea-xanthin, and beta-carotene. Such a potent and rich combination of antioxidants safeguards your body from any reactive oxygen species and oxygen-derived free radicals. These two affect the growth of different diseases and the aging process.
Spinach has an astonishingly impressive amount of protein, equaling to 2.9 grams per 100 grams. Proteins present in spinach are easily broken down and digested by enzymes into amino acids that are particularly important if you are breaking a sweat in the gym.
Nitrates and Kaempferol
Spinach is rich in an antioxidant known as Kaempferol, which reduces the risk of developing different types of chronic diseases and cancer. Spinach also promotes heart health due to the plentiful presence of nitrates.
Zea-Xanthin and Lutein
Zea-xanthin offers your eyes with safeguarding light-filtering properties and antioxidants. On the other hand, lutein the lutein content present in spinach enhances eye operation and keeps retinal degeneration at bay. Lutein decreases eye tension by collecting in the eye tissues.
Vitamin A is responsible for maintaining a good skin and eye health. Spinach is highly rich in vitamin A, where 100 grams of the vegetable provides 93761IU of the vitamin, which is equivalent to 188% of the daily intake.
Vitamin K is present in plentiful amount in spinach- 100 grams 604% of the daily-recommended intake. This vitamin is imperative for your health as is fortifies the bones and increases the osteotropic activity of the bones.
Vitamin K is also critical for the brain health, as it reduces the level of neural damage in patients experiencing Alzheimer’s disease.
Spinach is extremely rich in B-group of vitamins which include B1 thiamin (0.1 milligrams), B2 riboflavin, (0.2 milligrams), B3 niacin (0.7 milligrams), B6 (0.2 milligrams) and B9 folate (149 mcg).
Vitamin B complex maintains your body’s energy levels throughout the day.
Vitamin C is very important for strengthening the immune system, and spinach contains 47% (28.1 mg) of the daily-recommended value of this vitamin. In comparison to this vegetable, grapefruit has a slightly more amount of vitamin C- 31.2 milligrams.
Vitamin C is a key antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and enables your body to fight the infections and free radicals while also cleansing it from oxygen-derived harmful radicals.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Spinach packs an abundant amount of omega-3 fats, which are utilized by your body for producing energy, regulating blood flow and preventing different heart diseases and strokes. Coupled with omega-3s, potassium also helps regulate the blood pressure and heart rate. In addition, because spinach is rich in iron, you stop iron deficiency anemia by consuming the vegetable every day
Fiber is excellent for ensuring the health and smooth functioning of your digestive tract. Since spinach is loaded with fiber, it ensures there remains little or no room for problems like constipation, since it encourages regularity due to the high water and fiber content.
Spinach also contains plentiful quantities of both insoluble and soluble fiber, both of which are beneficial for the body. Insoluble fiber stops constipation and smoothens the functioning of the digestive system while soluble fiber stops the body from absorbing cholesterol and fat from food, controls cholesterol and sugar levels, helps the body get rid of any toxins and makes it feel good throughout the day.
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Health Benefits of Adding Spinach to Your Diet
- Low in calories, high in fiber- Spinach is very low in calories while it packs a good amount of soluble dietary fiber, both of which make the vegetable a highly recommended one by many dieticians and fitness freaks.
- May help the body fight against cancer- spinach and other leafy greens contain an element known as chlorophyll, which is believed to block any carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines that are generated when grilling food at an extremely high temperature.
- Promotes health of hair and skin- spinach is rich in vitamin A, which is vital for the production of sebum to maintain the moisture in hair. It is also important for the development of all tissues present in the body, including hair and skin. Spinach, along with other leafy greens is also rich in vitamin C, a crucial element in the growth and maintenance of collagen, which gives structure to hair and skin.
Selecting and Storing Spinach
Picking fresh spinach isn’t that hard; you just have to look for one that looks fresh, is medium to dark green in color, and shows no visible signs of decay. Spinach should be stored in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for around four days. Never wash the vegetable before storing it as the moisture will only result in spoilage. Before consumption however, make sure you wash it thoroughly as the stems and leaves tend to collect chemicals and soil. Due to the abundant presence of iron, raw spinach usually tastes metallic, and the taste gets milder with cooking.
Tasty Spinach Recipes
Without a doubt, spinach is one of the healthiest vegetables out there, but it may not appeal to everyone’s taste buds. To help you get the most out of the vegetable without compromising its taste, here are a couple of recipes.
- A small, finely chopped onion
- 25 grams of butter
- 2tbsp plain flour
- 200g bags of spinach (x2)
- 100ml cream
- Fresh nutmeg
Heat the butter in a pan and then add to it onions. Cook until soft. Add the flour and cook it for another 2 minutes, then start to slowly whisk in the milk. When all ingredients are mixed together, cook for about 5 mins until thick.
Meanwhile, boil the spinach leaves in a colander until the leaves become wilted. Drain the extra water and then chop. Add the chopped leaves to the sauce and give it a last stir on the heat. Grate nutmeg on the dish and serve.
Spinach Smoothie for the Perfect Breakfast
- Raw spinach 2-3 cups
- Frozen banana 1 cup
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup ice
- 1 tbsp. Almond butter
- 1 tbsp. Spirulina powder (optional)
- 1 pitted date
Simply combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until you achieve the desired level of thickness. Add liquid or ice for a runnier result and remove water for a thicker result. Enjoy!