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Is Spinach Really Good For You?

By June 23, 2016May 16th, 2023Nutrition Information

Is spinach really good for youSpinach is one of my favorite vegetables. It’s tasty and easy to prepare.

Sauté it in a little bit of olive oil with garlic and salt to make a delicious vegetable side dish in less than 5 minutes.   When you buy containers of organic baby spinach no washing or cutting is required.

popeye pixWhen I was growing up in the 60”s spinach was made famous by the cartoon character Popeye. When Popeye was in trouble he would gulp down a can of spinach and grow muscles instantly to fight off his nemesis Bluto. The cartoon industry encouraged kids to eat spinach.  What a great idea. Unfortunately the overcooked boiled or canned spinach they were serving back then didn’t taste very good.

Luckily the way we buy, cook and eat vegetables has changed dramatically since the 60’s.

Organic fresh spinach is available in most supermarkets. Cooking it for only a few minutes creates a sweet, tender side dish most people enjoy, including children.

Combine berries and spinach to make a green smoothie.  It has such a mild taste you hardly notice it. Click here for Blueberry Coconut Green Smoothie

Eating spinach isn’t going to give you instant muscles like Popeye but it does give you strength from its many nutrients.

One cup of cooked spinach delivers more than 6 mg of iron as well as protein, fiber, calcium, folate and vitamins A and E. You can reduce your risk of iron deficiency by eating spinach. It also contains 5.35 grams of protein per cup (when cooked).

Tip: To increase non-heme iron absorption from green vegetables add a little Vitamin C, a squeeze of lemon.

Health Benefits of Spinach


Decreases inflammation – The chlorophyll and carotenoids (beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin) have anti-inflammatory properties

Supports eye health and reduces age related eye problems – Spinach is a great way to get Vitamin A and phyto chemicals that are important for eye health.

Lowers blood pressure – the magnesium in spinach helps lower blood pressure

Good for the cardiovascular system – the folate and flavonoids in spinach benefit cardiovascular health

Promotes gut health – Spinach eases constipation and protects the mucus lining of the stomach needed for good absorption of nutrients.  It also flushes out toxins from the colon.

Glowing Skin – The bounty of vitamins and minerals in spinach gives you a radiant complexion.

The Dark Side of Spinach

Now that I have told you how great spinach is, I want you to know about the downside. Yes it has a downside, most things do, but that’s OK.

There’s a compound in spinach called oxalic acid. Oxalic acid crystals can form anywhere in your body leading to a variety of problems.

  • Oxalic acid blocks the absorption of calcium and iron.
  • Oxalic acid can cause muscle weakness
  • Oxalic acid crystals form in the vagina causing painful sex
  • Kidney stone risk
  • Mild Gout risk
  • Lowered thyroid function (goitrogenic )

There is a solution…

Cook your spinach to reduce oxalates and goitrogens.

Cooking spinach also increases its health benefits! Just half a cup of cooked spinach will give you three times as much nutrition as one cup of raw spinach. That’s because the body cannot completely break down the nutrients in raw spinach for its use.

Pair spinach with vitamin C to reduce the power of oxalic acid.

Some people are more sensitive to oxalic acid and should avoid eating raw spinach If you have any of the above symptoms eat cooked spinach most of the time.   Steam spinach for 2-3 minutes before adding to a smoothie.

Here are a few spinach recipes:

Sauteed Spinach and RadicchioSautéed Spinach with Radicchio

spinach cuminSautéed Spinach with Cumin and Fennel Seeds

Spinach Fritters

Enjoy your greens and please leave me a comment below.  I always love hearing about your own health journey and your thoughts and feedback on making your own delicious food at home.

Much love,

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