Spinach is a nutritious dark green vegetable. It is low in calories and contains high amounts of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants & flavonoids. The various flavonoids in spinach protect us against cancer. The antioxidants protect against free radical damage and help prevent degenerative diseases.
Spinach contains high amounts of vitamin K along with calcium and magnesium. Vitamin K facilitates the absorption of calcium and helps build good bones along with magnesium.
Lutein, a carotenoid found in spinach protects against eye related diseases such as cataract and macular degeneration.
The high amounts of iron in spinach is good for women, especially for menstruating women. The iron in spinach is called non-heme iron. The non-heme iron is considered less bioavailable to the body as compared to the animal source heme iron.
Spinach contains oxalic acid, also called oxalates, which combines with the iron and inhibits its absorption. Oxalic acid also binds with calcium, creating calcium oxalate and inhibits the absorption of calcium. If there is not enough calcium in the diet, the oxalic acid will combine with the calcium in the kidneys and form kidney stones. Therefore, eating raw spinach on a regular basis increases the risk of kidney stones.
Cooking spinach breaks down the oxalates and prevents the formation of un-absorbable mineral complexes in the body.
Spinach also contains goitrogens which interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Therefore, people with thyroid problems should avoid spinach.
1 cup cooked spinach contains:
– 155 mg Magnesium
– 244 mg Calcium
– 830 mg Potassium
– 6.4 mg Iron
– 17 mg Vitamin C
– 14700 IU Vitamin A
– 4.3 gm fiber
– 5.3 gm protein
It is a good source of fiber and protein. The high fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A content of spinach provides good protection against colon cancer. The high protein and low carbohydrate content makes it a good food for diabetics.