All hail the spinach leaf!
Once you start diving into the dark, leafy green that is spinach it is hard to justify not adding this nutrient-rich vegetable to your diet. Spinach is indeed a superfood. While one cup of raw spinach is only 7 calories, it is packed with important nutrients including potassium, zinc, magnesium calcium and iron.
In fact, spinach has been linked to a long list of positive side effects. Here are just a few of the reasons to eat your spinach:
It Can Reduce Blood Pressure
Spinach is high in potassium and low in sodium. This combination is ideal in lowering blood pressure because potassium lowers and sodium raises blood pressure.
It Can Help You Lose Weight
Spinach contains fat soluble fibers that aid in digestion. It is also low in fat and carbohydrates yet rich in minerals and nutrients making it the perfect addition to your daily routine. Spinach has also been found to help curb cravings and hunger along with boosting your metabolism due to the impressive amount of protein that it has.
It Is Good For Your Eyes
Spinach contains Lutein and Zeaxanthin, two chemicals that help protect your eyes from UV rays helping prevent cataracts. Spinach also contains vitamin A, which keeps mucus membranes healthy, helping preserve your eyesight
It Reduces Inflammation
There are more than a dozen anti-inflammatory compounds found in spinach making it one of the most useful vegetables when it comes to reducing inflammation throughout the body. Doing so protects the heart, prevents cancer and helps ease the pain associated with arthritis and gout.
It Helps You Sleep Better
The high levels of zinc and magnesium found in spinach accelerate sleep. The effects of eating a large amount of spinach are like being given a small dose of morphine.
It Boosts Your Immune System
Spinach is a great source of vitamin A which helps in replenishing your white blood cells therefore strengthening your immune system. People who consume spinach on a regular basis are less likely to get sick.
Raw, Cooked or Canned?
Uncooked provides better vitamin C, potassium and folate; nutrients that are more effective when we eat them raw.
Cooked allows you to absorb higher levels of vitamins A and E, protein, fiber, zinc, calcium and iron.
Believe it or not, canned spinach provides much of the same nutrients as both fresh and cooked at a huge discount. Canned spinach is approximately 85% cheaper.
Bottom line, spinach in all forms is beneficial to your diet.
Another great thing about spinach it that it's pretty easy to grow yourself. It survives well in cooler temperatures and produces leaves throughout harvest providing a steady stream of green goodness.
Here’s the scoop for growing spinach in your garden:
- Plant in spring and late summer
- Sow seeds ½ inch deep in rows 6-8 inches apart.
- It typically takes 7-14 days to germinate
- You can harvest spinach as soon as 5 weeks after planting. Cut the leaves 2-3 inches above the soil and allow them to grow back. This will provide you a consistent supply throughout the season.
- If you store in a plastic bag and refrigerate, spinach will last about a week.
There are plenty of ways to add spinach to your diet. Put it to your morning eggs or smoothie, replace the lettuce in your wrap or hamburger with it or chop it up and add it to your sauces at dinner.
Check out this collection of spinach recipes from SAVEUR.com for some more delicious ideas.
There's no good reason not to indulge in the benefits of spinach on a regular basis. It's versatile, easily accessible and your body will thank you for it.
Happy Fresh Spinach Day from Kasian House!