Spinach 101: Health Benefits, Storage, Recipe
Spinach is a famous green vegetable that has been around for centuries, so it’s no surprise why it is so beloved. It provides countless health benefits and is packed with essential nutrients. Not only does it help promote good overall health, but it also helps to support a balanced diet due to its high content of vitamins and minerals. Spinach contains many unique components that are beneficial to the body, such as calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and more.
You know that spinach has a famous household vegetable item all around the world. Spinach has rich vitamins such as A, C, E, and K, as well as minerals, iron, and magnesium.
Health Benefits of Spinach
Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse, with high levels of vitamins and minerals that can help keep the body healthy. Some of the key benefits of spinach include:
- 1 Spinach is loaded with vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent addition to any diet. A single cup of raw spinach contains:
- Vitamin A: 56% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 14% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 181% of the RDI
- Folate: 15% of the RDI
- Iron: 5% of the RDI
- Calcium: 3% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- 2 To maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails, it’s important to incorporate vitamin A and spinach into your diet. These nutrients can help protect the skin from UV radiation and fight against oxidative stress in the dermal layers, promoting overall skin health. Regularly consuming spinach can also promote healthy skin, as it contains vitamin C which aids in collagen synthesis. Additionally, spinach is rich in magnesium and iron, which are believed to promote hair health. Iron deficiencies have been linked to hair loss, so incorporating spinach into your diet may help combat this issue. Lastly, spinach also contains biotin, a mineral that is helpful in treating brittle nails.
- 3 According to some studies, spinach may aid in weight loss. Overweight women who consumed 5 grams of spinach extract for three months showed a 43 percent greater loss in body weight. The women also experienced a decreased urge to eat sweets by 95 percent. The spinach extract contained flavonoids, which are compounds usually found in green plants and may help suppress hunger.
- 4 The glycoglycerol lipids in spinach may reduce the risk of cancer by potentially inhibiting tumor growth. Vitamin A in spinach has been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. Consuming spinach or carrots, which are also rich in vitamin A, more than twice a week has been linked to a modest decrease in breast cancer risk. Spinach is a cruciferous vegetable, and cruciferous veggies can play an important role in cancer prevention. These veggies are rich in carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin that may aid in cancer treatment. Additionally, cruciferous veggies release enzymes upon preparation that can inactivate carcinogens and fight inflammation.
- 5 Spinach may aid in the treatment of diabetes by promoting satiety, thus reducing post-meal glucose responses. This is due to the high fiber and water content in the vegetable. Spinach also contains nitrates, which have been found to help prevent insulin resistance and relieve inflammation – a primary risk factor for diabetes. Spinach could be a promising ingredient in preventing insulin resistance. Additionally, spinach can be a part of an anti-diabetic diet because of its low carb count compared to starchy vegetables. Spinach is a non-starchy vegetable with a low carb count, which may lead to lower blood sugar levels. Individuals with type 2 diabetes can include spinach in their diet, as its low carb count may help regulate glucose levels.
- 6 Spinach contains nitrates that help regulate blood pressure levels, improve endothelial function, and acutely lower blood pressure, which promotes heart health. These nitrates may also relieve arterial stiffness, which can contribute to high blood pressure. Spinach leaf proteins may be beneficial in treating hypertension and reducing the risk of heart disease. Additionally, the magnesium in spinach relaxes and widens blood vessels, promoting blood flow and regulating blood pressure levels.
- 7 Spinach may improve vision health as it contains two important antioxidants: lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants have been extensively studied for their vision-promoting effects. They fight reactive oxygen species and reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Regular consumption of spinach can increase macular pigment optical density, further promoting vision health.
- 8 Spinach may maximize bone health and lead to stronger bones as it is rich in vitamin K and calcium, two nutrients essential for bone strength. Low calcium intake throughout a lifetime can lead to osteoporosis, which is linked to low bone mass, rapid bone loss, and high fracture rates. Spinach contains calcium and can help counteract this condition. Moreover, it may also help in treating asthma. Oxidative stress contributes to asthma, and spinach contains vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that combats oxidative stress. This feature may aid in asthma treatment. The leafy green also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which may contribute to treating asthma. Anecdotal evidence suggests that eating spinach may prevent one from developing asthma. However, it is not definitive whether spinach or any other food is a definitive cure for asthma.
- 9 Spinach may promote fetal development as it contains folic acid, which is essential for fetal growth and development. This nutrient reduces the risk of defects in the unborn child’s nervous system. Additionally, the iron in spinach may help prevent preterm deliveries and low birth weight babies. However, information regarding these benefits is unclear, and more studies are needed in this regard.
- 10 Spinach may boost brain function and have anti-stress and antidepressant effects. These effects can be attributed to the ability of spinach to reduce the blood levels of corticosterone, a hormone involved in stress responses.
Types of Spinach
There are three different types of spinach: semi-savoy spinach, smooth leaf spinach, and crinkly savoy spinach. Here are the varieties of spinach you will find at farmers’ markets and grocery stores,
Growing in popularity, striking red spinach leaves are round, thick, and rich green with an attractive red center. Tender and very tasty, the flavor of this lovely variety is deliciously sweet and succulent. Baby Spoon Spinach is a savoy-type spinach that is smaller in size than regular savoy spinach. It has a rich green color and is crispy and coarse, making it even sweeter than the larger variety. Additionally, the tender small stems are also edible.
Flat or Smooth-Leaf Spinach:
Smooth- or flat-leaf spinach has broad, flat, spade-shaped leaves, which makes it easier to clean than savoy or semi-savoy types. These qualities make it the choice of commercial producers for canned and frozen spinach. However, flat-leaf spinach is also sold fresh.
With crinkly, curly leaves and a dark green color, savoy spinach leaves are springy and crisp. Semi-savoy spinach has slightly crinkled leaves that offer some of the crisp texture of savoy but are not as difficult to clean. It is cultivated for both the fresh market and for processing.
How to Store Spinach up to 14 days:
Proper storage is key to keeping spinach fresh and tasty. Here are some tips for storing spinach:
Here is the method how properly storing fresh spinach. This just uses things you probably already have at home, and if done properly, you can actually get fresh spinach to last up to 14 days. So let’s get to it.
The first thing to do is to use a Tupperware container or some sort of plastic container.
You want something that has firm sides. I wouldn’t recommend storing spinach in a plastic bag, because as you add other things to the fridge, and move things around, there’s a high probability of it getting crushed or bruised. So use a Tupperware container. You wanna line that container with paper towels.
Just add in your spinach. Now, the part that’s important is that you don’t want to overpack whatever you’re storing the spinach in. Doing so will cause it to get crushed, and that’s the last thing you want to happen. So, what the paper towel does is actually absorb any moisture or condensation that might accumulate in the container.
So, you want to line the sides and bottom of the container with paper towels and also line the top with a paper towel. Once the container is lined with paper towels and has a paper towel on top, you can put the lid on. Spinach prefers to be stored in a cool, dry place, so the paper towels will absorb any condensation. After putting the lid on, store the container in the fridge. This method will keep the spinach fresh and crisp for up to 14 days.
So I highly recommend, don’t use a plastic bag. If you buy salad in a bag, transfer it to a plastic container. It’ll last a lot longer this way.
How we preserve spinach by freezing:
- 1 The first step washed spinach with every little bit of dirt and bits and pieces. If you see any pieces that are a little bit worse for wear, you just remove the pieces.
- 2 Heat the pot and boil the water.
- 3 Put the spinach in boiling water and blanch it for one minute. Then, I’ll take it from the boiling plate and transfer it to a separate bowl of ice-cold water that you have prepared. Leave it there to cool completely and repeat the process until all of the spinach has been blanched and completely cooled.
- 4 You’ll wring out as much excess moisture as possible. There are different methods for doing that. You can use your hands, a sieve , or a potato ricer , whichever option you prefer.
- 5 Put the strainer into cold water, once the spinach is cold then take it out there into a colander, and then we’ll squeeze out the excess moisture.
- 6 Wrap in a plastic bag and put in the freezer
Cooking with Spinach
Spinach is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some popular spinach recipes and cooking tips:
Popular Spinach Recipes:
Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast: This dish is made by stuffing chicken breasts with a mixture of spinach, feta cheese, and garlic, then baking them until they’re cooked through.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip: This popular dip is made by combining spinach, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, sour cream, and Parmesan cheese, then baking until it’s hot and bubbly.
Spinach and Mushroom Quiche: This savory dish is made by combining spinach, mushrooms, eggs, cheese, and cream, then baking it in a pie crust.
Spinach is a nutritious and delicious vegetable that offers a range of health benefits. Whether you prefer savoy, flat-leaf, or semi-savoy spinach, there are plenty of ways to incorporate this leafy green into your diet. From salads and sautés to quiches and dips, there’s no shortage of tasty spinach recipes to try. With these tips for storage, cooking, and debunking common myths, you can enjoy all the benefits of spinach in your meals.