This post is my ode to spinach. It’s my favourite vegetable and I have absolutely no justification for it. I don’t know whether it’s the sheer amount of nutrients that are packed into one leaf, or just the simplicity of it. But I love spinach.
As a child, I did not love spinach. Even watching Popeye crack open a tin and glug it down, giving him immense strength couldn’t convince me to even try it. Like most children, I was fussy, especially when it came to vegetables. Unless they were soaked in butter to take away the earthy tastes. But again, like most people my tastebuds adapted and my palette matured, and now I can’t stop eating spinach. It is a staple part of my diet and without fail a bag of baby spinach will enter my shopping trolley every Sunday. But all of my talk about spinach probably isn’t going to convince you, you need the hard facts.
It’s high in protein…for a salad leaf
Before you go in on me, I know that spinach doesn’t have a lot of protein compared to most foods, however in comparison to other vegetables, spinach is the chicken breast of the salad leaf world. With a whopping 2.2g of protein per 80g raw, you would have to eat A LOT to get a decent amount of protein, but every little helps.
This means that if you’re a vegetarian/vegan/plant-based spinach can play a vital role in building up the amount of protein you eat daily. The best way to pack as much spinach into a meal is to cook it. We’ve all cooked spinach in the pan and seen it shrivel up to nothing. Throw the bag in there and up your protein intake.
Iron is in there too
1.68mg per 80g to be precise. In the UK it is recommended that adults eat anywhere between 8-15mg per day, so 80g of spinach can really contribute to your daily intake. You often hear adverts about iron deficiencies, but what does iron actually do? Well, it plays an important role in producing red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. Without a sufficient amount of iron we feel tired, low in energy and can potentially lead to iron deficient anemia.
Looking for spinach recipe?
Again, this is another great one for the plant-based readers, as most other sources of iron come from red meat and other animal based products. If you don’t fancy wilting your spinach in the pan today, try adding it to your smoothie to get as many nutrients on the go as possible.
You don’t just get calcium from milk
Yes, you guessed it. Spinach is also a good source of calcium, despite the fact that the media have been telling us for over 50 years that we must get calcium from cow’s milk. 700mg is around the sweet spot for the amount of calcium an adult should consume, so the 136mg in 80g of spinach is not bad at all.
Have I managed to convince you yet? I dare you to even try and think of another salad leaf that can compare to spinach. If you do, let’s fight it out.