by Louise Jensen
Fast forward a decade or two, throw in a career as a nutritional therapist and this is one vegetable I am totally in awe of. Below are 11 of the many reasons why you should be too and one child friendly, super speedy recipe.
1) Nourishing Nutrients
Spinach is one of the most nutritious foods around containing more than twenty tremendous different nutrients. One cup of spinach has nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fibre. Amazingly this one cup also exceeds your daily requirements of Vitamin K and Vitamin A, virtually all the Manganese and Folate you need and approximately 40% of your Magnesium requirements. Also containing Calcium, Protein, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, Selenium and Potassium it’s a vegetable you can’t afford to ignore. Low in calories and hugely versatile it’s great added raw to salads for maximum nutrient intake or lightly cooked in your favourite recipes.
2) Imagine Immunity?
The phenomenal amount of Vitamin A that spinach contains protects and strengthens our immune system. Vitamin A supports cell membranes to help combat nasty invaders and is a key component of lymphocytes (white blood cells) that fight infection.
3) Combat Cancer
Spinach contains more than a dozen individual flavonoid compounds. Flavonoids are phytonutrients with anti-cancer properties, which work together as cancer-fighting antioxidants. These elements neutralise free radicals in the body thus helping to prevent cancer and slow down the cell division in existing cells.
4) Beats Blood Pressure
Amazingly a single portion of spinach will help lower blood pressure within hours due to its high content of magnesium.
5) Brilliant Bones
Vitamin K can prevent excess activation of osteoclasts (the cells that break down bones) as well as promoting the synthesis of osteocalcin, the proteins essential for maintaining the strength and density of our bones.
6) Cool Cardio Vascular
The antioxidant properties of spinach work together to prevent the harmful oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidised cholesterol is dangerous to the heart and arteries. Folate converts harmful, stroke-inducing chemicals into harmless compounds.
7) Bright Brains
The large amounts of Vitamin K contained in spinach contributes greatly to a healthy nervous system and brain function. The folic acid in spinach help slow down the effects of ageing on the brain.
8) Super Skin
Vitamin A promotes healthy skin by allowing proper moisture retention in the epidermis thus fighting psoriasis, acne and even wrinkles.
9) Vital Vision
Dark, leafy vegetables contain several important phytochemicals including lutein, which helps prevent age related macular degeneration. Also a powerful source of beta carotene which reduces the risk of developing cataracts.
10) Amazingly Anti-inflammatory
Neoxanthin and violaxanthin play a crucial role in the regulation of inflammation and are present in copious amounts in spinach.
11) Fights Fatigue
Spinach contains iron which carries blood and oxygen throughout the body and can increase energy and reduce fatigue. Spinach also contains lipoic acid which helps antioxidant vitamins C and E regenerate. Due to its role in energy production it is believed that lipoic acid can regulate blood sugar levels preventing energy slumps throughout the day.
Here is one of the recipes I use to get my children to eat spinach. It does contain crème fraiche so due to the high fat content I wouldn’t recommend it too regularly but this recipe is tasty, nutritious and you can have a meal on the table in 10 minutes, what more could any working parent want? Due to the dark green colour it is affectionately called Frog Pasta in our house.
Steam a bunch of spring onions. When cooked add a large bag of spinach, remove from heat when just wilted. Add chicken stock (home-made if you have) and blend. Warm through (don’t overcook), add some crème fraiche, lightly season if you choose to and serve over whole-wheat or spelt pasta. Enjoy.