Love Your Leaves - Spinach
When we think of healthy super foods, spinach often comes to mind! But we usually think of it cooked. However raw spinach is not only good for you but tasty too. You need to choose the tender and sweet baby leaves, rather than the adult spinach, which can be tough and bitter if eaten raw. So why is spinach so great? In the study we looked at last week which compared and ranked the top healthiest fruit and vegetables on their nutritional value, spinach came out 5th best! But perhaps surprisingly it wasn’t because of its iron content. We all associate spinach with iron thanks to Popeye, but in actual fact spinach doesn’t contain much iron and it’s certainly not the best source of this nutrient. However, it is considered a super food because for the abundance of other fantastic vitamins and minerals. One cup of spinach provides 181% of your daily requirement of Vitamin K (essential for blood clotting) and is one of the best sources of Vitamin K you can find. A cup of spinach also contains than half of your daily amount of Vitamin A and more than a third of your Vitamin E. It also contains folic acid, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and phosphorus and lots of antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage. Its dark green leaves is also an indicator of the fact that it is high in photo chemicals which have anti-inflammatory properties and are important for healthy eyes.
So if you want to start eating spinach salads, why not check out these tasty recipes from around the web:
- This salad combines the other superfood we looked at last week (link), watercress, so it’s a great healthy option to try http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/spinach-watercress-salad
- For those not watching the calories but just wanting to eat more leaves, this indulgent bistro salad is beautiful and a touch special, combining bacon, egg, and blue cheese with spinach http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4432/baby-spinach-bistro-salad
- Try this turkey, avocado and spinach salad - http://www.prevention.com/food/cook/20-low-calorie-salads-wont-leave-you-hungry/turkey-avocado-cobb-salad
- This recipe combines spinach leaves with roasted sweet potatoes for a satisfying salad http://www.food.com/recipe/roasted-sweet-potato-and-spinach-salad-518303
- For a more meaty option, combine spinach salad with pears and chicken (though the recipe calls for champagne vinegar, I’m sure white wine vinegar would do just as well!) http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a31193/roasted-chicken-pears-recipe-ghk1010/
So try and incorporate some raw baby spinach in your meals this week and tell me how you got on on my Facebook page. Next week we look at another nutritional powerhouse you might not have thought of to eat raw – kale.