I am continually amazed at how many good-for-you stuff is packed into those small green leaves, and it seems that every time I read another health article, spinach is the answer to most health problems...need antioxidants? Eat spinach. Need protein? Eat spinach. Need omega-3's? Eat spinach. Need iron? Eat spinach. When I was prego, I started to get a metallic taste in my mouth, and the doctor prescribed more iron. I wanted to stay away from red meats, but the nurse couldn't offer any other sources of iron besides a hearty steak. Of course, with a little research, I discovered that spinach was my answer.
Check out this chart and how many nutrients are included in one cup of boiled spinach (that's a lot of spinach since spinach shrinks so much when boiled).
Note the health benefits to just a few of those ingredients:
Vitamin K--aids in blood clotting. Babies are given a vitamin K shot within 24 hours of birth for this very reason. Nursing moms, think of a diet rich in spinach and what can be transferred to a baby via nursing. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help treat osteoporosis and arthritis.
Vitamin C--it's not just in oranges. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C. It fights stroke, heart disease, contains antioxidants that build our immune systems, lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels, protects colon cells from free radical damage, and the list goes on.
Omega-3--known to help the brain and eyes. Especially great for pregnant and nursing women because omega-3's play a key role in helping with both the developing fetus and newborn.
Protein--"Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood."--quoted from WebMD
Iron--Plain and simple, iron gives you (and your children) energy.
The list goes on and on. In general, (and this is strictly my non-professional opinion), when it doubt, if you are fighting any sort of health condition, eat spinach. You really can't go wrong loading your body up with this many good nutrients.
I get a huge container of organic baby spinach from Sams for about $4. It easily lasts me 1-2 weeks, and I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate it into my meals. Right now it's most commonly found in my scrambled eggs, chopped small and added as a topping on Mexican food, boiled and mixed in with any baby food, and, of course, the main ingredient in spinach salads. (Here's my favorite Oriental Chicken and Spinach Salad--I substitute the Equal with a healthier sweetener.)
How do you eat your spinach? Please comment and leave any favorite spinach recipes or suggestions for adding more to your diet.