The Power of Spinach
by Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital
With two holidays dedicated to this green leafy sensation (Fresh Spinach Day on July 16th and National Spinach Day was March 26th), it should be no surprise why it’s so good for you!! Spinach contains a myriad of nutrient benefits including fiber, folate, calcium, magnesium and vitamins A, C and K. A cup of cooked spinach is a high source of iron with 35.7% the recommended daily value!
We won’t guarantee you get muscles as big as Popeye after squeezing one can into your mouth, but this green leafy veggie does help build muscles among other health benefits! Spinach also aids in reducing the risk of many chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke and cancer, especially colon, lung and breast cancers. Spinach has been shown to have blood pressure lowering properties and anti-inflammatory effects. Spinach also contains a natural compound called oxalic acid, which can inhibit the absorption of calcium. It’s important to watch your intake of oxalic acid if you’re prone to kidney stones.
In terms of cooking and food preparation, spinach is so versatile it can be added to any meal or paired as a side dish for an extra nutrient boost. You can enjoy this veggie raw or cooked!
So do yourself a favor and have some extra spinach today in honor of its day! NWH offers fresh spinach as a salad green in our cafeteria salad bar and below is a fun spinach smoothie recipe to try at home! NWH also has a collection of healthy recipes available.
Green Groovy Smoothie
Courtesy of allrecipes.com
Serves 2 (16 fl. oz. total, 8 fl. oz. each)
1 banana, cut in chunks
1 cup grapes
1-6 oz. container vanilla yogurt*
½ apple, cored and chopped
1 ½ cups fresh spinach leaves
Place the banana, grapes, yogurt, apple and spinach into a blender. Cover, and blend until smooth, stopping frequently to push down anything stuck to the sides. Pour into glasses and serve.
Nutritional Information (per 8 fl. oz. serving):
Calories: 173 calories
Total Fat: 1.5g
Saturated Fat: 1.0g
Total Carbohydrate: 34.5g
Dietary Fiber: 3.5g
Vitamin A: 45%
Vitamin C: 27%
*You can always substitute the vanilla yogurt for low-fat vanilla or Greek yogurt; however, the nutritional information will change slightly.