Mostly known as a source of iron, spinach actually contains other interesting nutritional characteristics. Starting with the carotenoids
Among the winter vegetables, spinach is certainly one of the most loved by the whole family. Thanks to their unmistakable taste and great versatility, since they can be used both cooked and raw in infinite ways.
Belonging to the Amaranthaceae family, a portion of fresh spinach (about 200 g) provides less than 70 calories, a characteristic that – together with the high percentage of water contained and the presence of fiber – also makes them ideal for all those people in conditions of overweight who need to lose a few extra pounds. Their fibers, in fact, (3.8 g per serving) help regulate the gradual entry of glucose and fatty acids, helping to avoid sudden and rapid increases in blood sugar after a meal and controlling the production of insulin.
What they contain
One serving of fresh raw spinach (200 g) contains:
- Water (180 g)
- Proteins (6.8 g)
- Lipids (1.4 g)
- Available carbohydrates (5.8 g)
- Amido (4.6 g)
- Soluble sugars (0.8 g)
- Fibra totale (3.8 g)
- Sodio (200 mg)
- Potassium (1060 mg)
- Calcium (156 mg)
- Magnesio (120 mg)
- Fosforo (124 mg)
- Ferro (5.8 mg)
- Rame (0.32 mg)
- Zinco (2.86 mg)
- Selenio (2.0 μg)
Benefits for health
Spinach, in particular, is very rich in beta-carotene (they contain 3830 μg per serving). This feature makes them an ideal food to bring to the table at any age for the natural functioning of the skin and mucous membranes and the health of the eyes, being also a source of vitamin A. In addition, it supports skeletal growth and helps the immune system to work. correctly.
And speaking of the immune system, spinach also contains 108 mg of vitamin C per serving, also useful for maintaining normal blood vessel function, facilitating iron absorption and participating in the formation, growth and repair of bone and connective tissue.
Valuable sources of folic acid, essential for pregnant women to promote the development of the embryo, thanks to this presence, spinach also helps to prevent many cardiovascular risks to our health.
Its antioxidants, including vitamin E (Tocopherol), promote cell renewal by counteracting the harmful action of an excess of free radicals in the body.
The vitamin K contained in them plays a fundamental role in the blood clotting process and ensures the functionality of the proteins that form and keep bones in shape.
For these reasons, spinach are vegetables that should not be missing from our tables, even 2 or more times a week, as advised by Dr. Valentina Schirò, nutritionist biologist, in the article The diet with spinach: regulate the intestine and strengthen the immune system.
For the presence of calcium oxalates, people suffering from kidney stones and osteoporosis should consult with their family doctor before taking spinach.
Uses in cooking and recipes
From appetizer to side dish, these vegetables lend themselves to numerous preparations, both raw and cooked.
For a last-minute aperitif, Spinach Chips represent a healthy and light snack capable of surprising guests: they are prepared in a few minutes and are served with a sauce based on yogurt, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and sesame seeds.
In winter, the Thick Spinach Soup with Croutons, much like a puree, is a treat for the palate and a support for the immune system. Typical of the northern areas of Russia, where the cold is decidedly very pungent, it is prepared with chopped onions and garlic and browned in oil and then added to spinach and finally accompanied by pieces of bread.
Also perfect for making savory pies or quiches of great effect.
In spring and summer, fresh spinach can then be combined with seasonal fruit for a colorful and fresh side dish, such as fruit and spinach salad or spinach and avocado salad, a real concentrate of beneficial substances from green soul, light and rich in nutritional properties.