Health Benefits of Spinach

Mention ‘spinach’ and the first thing that would pop out on anyone’s mind is ‘Popeye,’ the famed muscle-man sailor. They would not even probably think of a spinach-based recipe or even how a spinach looks. Well, let’s just thank the sailor for bringing the spinach into the consciousness of everybody, especially the kids.

Popeye is famous for squeezing a can of spinach and gulping it when some danger arises, which turns him into a big-muscled guy to toss away any troublemakers around the neighborhood (which is just Bluto, most of the time). 

While the real-life spinach may not turn anyone into a big-muscled guy (just as any kids expect), it can certainly provide anyone with BIG health benefits through its many nutrients. 

So let us squeeze this spinach out of the can to know more about what it can provide for our tongues, tummies, and bodies. 

Spinach Nutrition Facts 

Here are the spinach nutrition facts you need to know before eating the leafy nutritional powerhouse. 

  1. Protein
  2. Fiber
  3. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K1
  4. Folic Acid
  5. Iron

Protein in Spinach                                                                    

Having a cup of fresh spinach gives less than 1 gram of protein. For a 1-cup serving of spinach cooked in water with no added salt, it contains 5.35 grams of protein. Take note that one cup of cooked spinach contains more protein than a cup of raw spinach. By cooking it, you are getting the most out of your spinach protein. 

Calories in Spinach

There are 7 calories in spinach for its every cup (1.1oz) of serving . Thus, what can you do with 7 calories? Well, here are 4 things to choose from: 1 minute of swimming, 1 minute of jogging, 1 minute cycling or a 2-minute walk. 

Carbs in Spinach

It provides about 1 gram of carbohydrate per 1-cup raw serving, which comes from sugar. Carbs in spinach may not be that much, but the presence of this nutrient in this plant makes it a vital part of our diet. 

Fiber in Spinach

The fiber in spinach, especially when it is raw, cannot be considered high. The magic begins when one starts to cook it, which can turn it into an excellent source of fiber. 

Iron in Spinach                                                                        

Cooking unlocks more iron in spinach leaves. You may always eat it raw and still get iron from it, but it would be very limited compared to the iron you can get when you cook it. 

The Nutritions from spinach is undeniably helpful, especially when it’s cooked, and speaking of cooked spinach, read on to know the dishes you can make with Spinach.

Spinach Dishes                                                          

Poor Popeye, had he known that there’s more to spinach than the squeezable can variety, he may have requested Olive Oyl for some spinach dishes to be tossed whenever he would go into some troubles. ‘Hope he might read this one. 

Creamy Spinach Soup                                                               

Spinach soup is a soup that uses spinach as a primary ingredient. This can be prepared as a broth-based or a cream-based soup. The latter one can be referred to as “cream of spinach soup”

Spinach Salad

Spinach salad is a salad with… (surprise) spinach, as its main ingredient. Spinach has got some company here like tomatoes, eggs, cheese, slivered almonds, walnuts, or with dried berries. 

Sautéed and Wilted Spinach

The spinach leaves are very delicate, so extra care in cooking it is a must. One of the best cooking techniques to do is sautéing and wilting. Sautéing requires you to put the spinach leaves in a pan with heated oil, cover it and let it be steamed. While wilting only requires you to put your freshly washed leaves on the pan, cover it, and stir occasionally until you see a wilted spinach. “Gentle cooking” are the two main keywords here. 

Spinach Pasta                        

Spinach pasta uses the nutritious leaves of spinach as its main ingredient. Together with spinach, this pasta is cooked with linguine, butter, garlic, asparagus, and cream cheese. 

Spinach Pie                      

How about a spinach pie for Popeye? Aside from the spinach leaves, this pie is made with olive oil, onions, garlic, coarse salt, ground pepper, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, dried breadcrumbs, dried dill, eggs and frozen phyllo sheets. 

Spinach Casserole 

It only takes 4 steps to make a yummy spinach casserole. First, prepare your spinach leaves and soften your cream cheese, Second, combine your spinach, cream cheese and seasoning salt in a mixing bowl. Third, put the mixture in a casserole dish and sprinkle it with bread crumbs. Fourth and last, bake it at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes, and you have one healthy spinach casserole to dig in! 

Spinach Soufflé

The word Soufflé is pronounced as ‘su-fleyd,’ which means light food made from a mixture of beaten egg whites and other ingredients that are baked in the oven.

Just like the Spinach Casserole, Spinach Soufflé can be made through a simple 3-step process. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) Second, in a medium bowl, whisk together egg, milk, cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Fold in spinach. Place in a small casserole dish. Third, Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until lightly set. 

Spinach Balls

To make these nutritious spinach balls, first, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 

Second, In a large bowl, combine spinach, stuffing mix, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, black pepper, Italian seasoning, melted butter and eggs.  

Third (and the fun part) Shape it into walnut-sized balls and place on a baking sheet.

Fourth Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until heated through and browned. 

Spinach Omelet

Make an even more nutritious twist with your usual omelet. To make a spinach omelet, follow the usual method of cooking the omelet and add your freshly-picked or newly bought spinach into the omelet mixture. What a healthy way to start a morning! 

Spinach Rice

To make spinach rice, bring your saucepan in medium-high heat, saute the onion until it gets tender. Stir in water, parsley, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and top it with spinach. 

Cover and remove it from heat.  

Let it stand from 7-10 minutes until the rice is tender. Stir to combine. 

Spinach dip

It’s time for your salsa to meet a serious contender. To make spinach dip, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, dry leek soup mix, water, chestnuts and chopped spinach. Put it on the fridge for 6 hours or overnight. Bring it out and tear open your bag of chips! 

Spinach and Feta Rolls

To make this yummy spinach and feta rolls, first, preheat the oven to 200°C, then place the spinach, feta, dill, spring onion, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well to combine.

Second, divide the spinach mixture into 4 even portions and roll into sausage shapes. Place down the center of each pastry half and brush the edges with egg. 

Third, roll to enclose, ensuring the seam is underneath, and cut each roll in half.

Fourth, place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper, brush with egg and sprinkle with fennel. Using a small, sharp knife, make slits in the rolls and bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

Tip: Serve with lemon. 

Spinach Smoothie

If you thought that your smoothie couldn’t get healthier, why don’t you try the spinach smoothie spin to experience a glass of nutritious powerhouse? 

Types of Spinach

Baby Spinach

“Baby spinach” is a term typically used to describe spinach that has been harvested during a fairly early stage of plant growth, usually 1 month and 5 days old. 

English Spinach

English spinach has thick, soft oval leaves and green stems, both of which are edible. It has a delicate flavour and is most flavorsome from May to October.

Philippine Spinach

The Philippine Spinach plant grows erect, reaching a height of 30 to 100 cm (12 to 39 in). It bears small, pink flowers and broad, fleshy leaves.

Can You Freeze Spinach

Yes, you can! Freezing spinach is the best way to improve its taste. You’ll notice that the flavor of freshly frozen spinach is way better than what you can see in a usual frozen section of a supermarket. 

Can You Eat Raw Spinach

Raw spinach is safe to eat, but what makes it unsafe is the exposure it gets from different environments and surfaces. Never forget to follow the safety guidelines of washing it, chopping it on clean surfaces, and keeping it in the fridge to avoid contamination. 

How to Grow Spinach?

Sure you’d want to plant Spinach after reading its benefits. Here’s a step by step process on how to grow spinach 

Step 1: Loosen your soil by digging deep. 

Step 2: Next, put a fertilizer, manure and compost on the soil. If you prefer using a fertilizer, use one handful for every square meter of soil. When using manure or compost, apply four hands for every square meter of soil. 

Step 3: Mix your soil and your preferred soil fertility material thoroughly with a garden fork, and then even out by using a rake. Make sure to mix it well to get the most out of your fertilizer, manure or compost.

Step 4: You may now put the seed or seedlings into the ground. Read the instructions on the seed packet carefully. 

Step 5: Remember to water the plants regularly. Use a watering can, a hosepipe, a sprinkler or a flood or drip irrigation. 

Step 6: Apply a top dressing about five weeks later as spinach needs a lot of nitrogen for better quality and broader leaves. For your top dressing, use chicken manure or LAN applied between the rows and work in it lightly. Remember to remove weeds regularly because it sucks up the nutrients meant for your spinach. 

Step 7: Harvest your spinach regularly. Using a sharp knife, remove only the outer or older leaves of about 30mm to 50mm above ground level. Be careful not to damage the new leaves. If there is no immediate use of the leaves and too keep it fresh, gather and put them in water.

Final Words

Spinach is more than just a magic food for Popeye in the Cartoon world, it is definitely a helpful veggie for us, real humans. Take advantage of its benefits! 

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