Spinach is a dark green vegetable rich in vitamins A, C and E, and phenolic compounds, such as lutein, zeaxanthin and canferol, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help to combat the premature aging of the skin and prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, spinach also has minerals such as potassium and calcium, necessary for the regulation of […]
Spinach is a dark green vegetable rich in vitamins A, C and E, and phenolic compounds, such as lutein, zeaxanthin and canferol, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help to combat the premature aging of the skin and prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, spinach also has minerals such as potassium and calcium, necessary for the regulation of blood pressure, and iron, an essential mineral to help in the treatment and prevention of anemia.
This vegetable is very versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked in salads, soups, stews and natural juices, being an easy, cheap and low-calorie option to enrich your diet with vitamins and minerals. To get the benefits of spinach, you should consume about 90g, 5 times a week, which is equivalent to about 3.5 tablespoons of this cooked vegetable.
The ideal is to consume spinach in the main meals, because the absorption of its antioxidants increases with the fat of the meal, normally found in the meat and in the oils of the preparation of the food.
The main benefits of spinach are:
- Improves eye health
Spinach is rich in antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin that work by fighting free radicals that can cause damage to the cells of the eyes and, therefore, help to improve vision and eye health.
In addition, spinach contains large amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin A, which are important in helping to maintain healthy eye cell membranes and prevent vision problems such as dry eyes, night blindness or age-related macular degeneration.
- Prevents anemia
Spinach helps prevent anemia because it is rich in iron, an important mineral for the formation of hemoglobin, which is a protein present in red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen to all parts of the body.
In addition, spinach also has folic acid in its composition, which is necessary for the formation of healthy red blood cells, which also helps to prevent anemia.
To increase the absorption of spinach iron, you should eat a citrus fruit as a dessert after a meal, such as orange, tangerine, pineapple or kiwi, for example.
- Controls blood pressure
Spinach contains large amounts of nitrates and potassium, which are substances that help increase the relaxation of blood vessels, allowing blood to circulate more easily, helping to lower blood pressure, which can be very useful for hypertensive people.
In addition, the magnesium present in spinach acts as a natural blocker of calcium channels, inhibiting the release of a neurotransmitter, norepinephrine, which is responsible for increasing blood pressure, and thus also contributes to reducing blood pressure.
- Protects against cardiovascular disease
Vitamin C, lutein and polyphenolic compounds, such as quercetin and canferol, present in spinach have a potent antioxidant action, helping to reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress in blood vessel cells that can cause thickening of artery walls. Thus, spinach helps to prevent and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart attack or stroke.
- Keeps bones healthy
Spinach is rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which are essential minerals to strengthen, increase strength and maintain bone health, which can help prevent diseases such as osteoporosis, osteopenia or rickets, for example.
- Helps you lose weight
Spinach is low in calories, each 100 g of raw or cooked leaves has approximately 23 calories, which can help with weight loss diets. In addition, it has fibers that increase the feeling of satiety, which helps to reduce hunger and lose weight.
- Regulates blood sugar levels
Some laboratory and animal studies show that thylakoids present in spinach can increase insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels by inhibiting the activity of enzymes that participate in the process of digesting carbohydrates. Thus, spinach can be an important ally in the treatment of diabetes.
However, studies in humans that prove this benefit are still needed.
- Maintains brain health
Spinach is rich in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants such as vitamin E and lutein, which prevent damage to neurons, keeping the brain healthy, protecting against aging and helping to prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, for example.
- Strengthens the immune system
Spinach is rich in nutrients such as vitamins A and C, which help to strengthen the immune system by improving the response of defense cells, essential to prevent and fight infections.
- Slows aging
Because it is rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A, C and E which are antioxidants, spinach helps fight free radicals that cause skin aging.
Vitamin C in spinach also stimulates collagen production by the skin, decreasing sagging and the appearance of wrinkles and expression lines, and vitamin A protects the skin from damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
- Helps to fight cancer
Some laboratory studies using cervical cancer cells show that spinach glycolipids can destroy or, at least, help slow the multiplication of cancer cells.
In addition, the polyphenols present in spinach, such as lutein and canferol, have a potent antioxidant action, and have also been shown to help inhibit the growth of breast, colon, esophagus, prostate and liver cells and cause the destruction of these cells. cells.
However, studies in humans that prove these benefits are still needed.
Nutritional information table
The following table shows the nutritional information equivalent to 100 g of raw and sautéed spinach.
|Components||Raw spinach||Sautéed spinach|
|Energy||23 kcal||23 kcal|
|Carbohydrate||3,63 g||3,75 g|
|Protein||2,86 g||2.97 g|
|Fats||0,39 g||0,26 g|
|fibres||2,2 g||2,4 g|
|Calcium||99 mg||136 mg|
|Iron||2,71 mg||3,57 mg|
|Potassium||558 mg||466 mg|
|Magnesium||79 mg||87 mg|
|Phosphorus||49 mg||56 mg|
|Beta carotene||5626 mcg||6288 mcg|
|Vitamin A||469 mcg||524 mcg|
|Vitamin C||28,1 mg||9,8 mg|
|Vitamin E||2,08 mg||2,08 mg|
|Vitamin K1||482,9 mcg||493,6 mcg|
|Folic acid||194 mcg||146 mcg|
It is important to note that to obtain all the benefits mentioned above, spinach must be part of a balanced and healthy diet.
Healthy recipes with spinach
Some recipes with spinach are quick, easy to prepare and nutritious:
- Spinach cream
1 bunch of washed spinach
1 cup of skim milk
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons light grated cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the spinach in a pan with a little salt and cook over low heat. Drain the water that forms and chop the spinach. In another pan, add the olive oil, the chopped spinach and the whole wheat flour. Add the milk little by little, stirring well. If desired, add the nutmeg and black pepper to season. Add the grated cheese and mix well for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat and serve. This recipe serves 4 people.
- Oven spinach dumpling
1 bunch of washed spinach
2 whole eggs
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 cup skim milk tea
2 tablespoons light grated cheese
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Cook the spinach over low heat with a little salt. Remove the water that forms and chop or squeeze the spinach. In another pan, add the oil and sauté the chopped onion, crushed garlic and cooked spinach. Turn off and let cool. Beat the eggs as if you were going to prepare an omelet and add to the pan with the spinach. Add the milk gradually, stirring well, and salt if necessary. Add Parmesan cheese, whole wheat flour and baking powder. If desired, add a pinch of black pepper. Make the balls with your hands or with the aid of two spoons and place the cookies on a tray lined with foil or waxed paper. Another option is to place in pies with a little oil on them. Place in a preheated oven at 180ºC for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve next. This recipe yields 10 to 12 cookies.
- Spinach souffle
½ packet of washed spinach
1 tablespoon of whole wheat flour
½ cup of hot skim milk
2 egg whites beaten in snow
2 egg yolks
½ tablespoon of grated light cheese
Oil for greasing
In a saucepan, add the spinach. Sauté and drain the water that forms. In another pan, put the milk and add the whole wheat flour little by little, stirring well until the mixture thickens. Allow to cool and add egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, sautéed spinach and egg whites. In a pan greased with olive oil, put the mixture and take it to a preheated oven at 180ºC for approximately 40 minutes. Serve next. This recipe serves 4 people.