Health Benefits of Spinach

Healthy Recipes and Nutrition, Nutrition
on November 14, 2011

If the world “spinach” conjures memories of slimy, overcooked greenish-black ooze from a can that your parents forced you to eat as a child, you may be in for a pleasant surprise when you give this leafy green a second chance. Spinach has come a long way in modern cuisine. These days, spinach is not just nutritious but can be a delicious part of almost any meal. This leafy bit of goodness is just waiting for you to rediscover it, if you haven’t already. Here are just some of its benefits.

Spinach is multifaceted. You can find spinach in the grocery store at any time and in farmers’ markets from late summer to early winter. Fresh spinach lasts about a week in the refrigerator, sealed and unwashed. If spinach starts to break down and look wet, it’s gone bad and should be tossed — or better yet, composted. When you’re ready to eat or prepare spinach, rinse it thoroughly and dry it completely. Spinach leaves are tender and sweet — perfect for putting on a sandwich, pressing into a panini or sautéing into a pasta dish. Baby spinach leaves are an even more decadently delicious way to enjoy spinach and need very little else to make them special. A salad of cleaned, dried baby spinach needs nothing more than a scattering of almond slivers and a few segments of mandarin orange to make it special. Spinach can also be found frozen, but it loses its structure and becomes mushy. Frozen spinach is useful in dips or cooked things where texture is less important.

Spinach is ultra-nutritious. Leafy green spinach is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. According to the New York Times, spinach contains powerful antioxidant flavonoids and a whopping 1,000 percent of the daily-recommended value of vitamin K, which is important for bone health. Additional nutritious vital nutrients include iron, manganese, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, fiber, tryptophan, and vitamins A, C, B6 and B2. The Mayo Clinic states that the plant compounds that make up spinach may boost your immune system. Beauty bonus: spinach is also good for hair and skin.