It's spinach season!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I have been on quite the spinach kick lately. My favorite way is to sauté some mushrooms in olive oil and garlic until they’re lightly browned and then throwing handfuls of fresh spinach into the pan. It’s fun to watch it wilt down when you stir it all together. Sometimes I add some chicken into the mix and sometimes I top it with a little parmesan, but I always dump it over whole wheat pasta. Good stuff and a quick meal. I’m glad that I like spinach so much because holy cow! – do you have any idea at all how good this stuff is for you?

Spinach is always near the top of any “superfoods” list – and with good reason. Calorie for calorie, spinach (and other green leafy vegetables like it) provides more nutrients than any other food. I’m sure you already know about the iron content and all, so here are a couple of other interesting facts about spinach:

Spinach is an excellent source of both vitamin C and beta-carotene (through vitamin A). Did you know that these two nutrients are kind of an antioxidant tag team? Vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant and beta-carotene, a fat-soluble antioxidant, team up to prevent cholesterol from becoming oxidized. And if cholesterol can’t become oxidized, it can’t stick to and build up in the walls of your blood vessels. And if it can’t build up in there, it can’t block your arteries. And if your arteries are free and clear? Much less chance of heart attack or stroke. If you can get this one-two punch from a single vegetable source, why wouldn’t you?

One cup of boiled spinach can provide you with 294.8% of the daily value for vitamin A and 29.4% of the DV for vitamin C.

The vitamin K provided by spinach is almost 200% of the RDA in one cup of fresh spinach leaves and over 1000% of the RDA in one cup of boiled spinach. When I first read this I was like, “Waaaa? How can you get so much more Vitamin K from a cup of cooked spinach than from a cup of fresh spinach?” And then I remembered the incredible shrinking spinach trick and realized you could fit a whole lot more COOKED spinach in that cup than raw. I think a cup of fresh spinach leaves shrinks down to about a teaspoon of cooked, doesn’t it? Okay, probably not, but it seems like it when you’re throwing more and more leaves into the pan and getting very little cooked spinach in return.

And you’ve all heard of foods that help to fight internal inflammation, right? Guess what’s on that list of foods? That’s right! Spinach. Beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin K all have anti-inflammatory properties that have been helpful in reducing symptoms of people with inflammatory diseases, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

I am not going to list ALL the benefits of spinach – this is already too long. Just trust me and eat it. Oh, and by the way – spinach season runs from September through October and then again from March through May. So now’s the time to get it when it’s freshest and has the best flavor.

You have NO IDEA how proud I am that I got through this post without mentioning that spinach-loving pride of the Navy, Popeye. But I can resist no longer.



16 comments:

Bonnie said...

Great reminder to eat more spinach! I usually buy it by the bagful and use it in soups, salads, and for meals but haven't done that in quite a while. Will pick some up this week!

I am Harriet said...

Stopping by via SITS to say "hello".
Have a great day!

Rachael said...

i love spinach, but i haven't bought any since summer. i need to add it to my list for my next trip to the store!

Julie said...

Good thing you mentioned popeye at the end, he might have gotten his feelings hurt.

Proud Wifey And Mommii of 3 said...

stopping by from SITS jus to say Hello

Jessica

resplendentlife said...

I love spinach and you're right it is a super green veggie...probably the tastiest if the Super Dupers. I'm so excited that I introduced my kids to kale while they were young, now they eat it with no problem and it is another super duper green!

Arlette said...

Oh we love Spinach and I use them so often even at the farmer's market I do spinach pastries with onions , sumac, olive oil, lemons and pomegranate molases and hot sauce and spices (spinach is squeezed to the max so it will soaks all the yummy flavours)
thanks for your welcome

Dawn said...

i used to eat spinach like crazy... and i don't think i've had any since that big spinach scare, and got out of the habit!! but next time i'm at publix i'm buying it!! thanks!

Single Girl said...

OK I love Spinach. I put it in egg white ompletes, the best.

THanks for stopping by, I didn't mean you were old!

Last year at my dad's surprise 50th birthday party said "PaPa how old are you?"

and he said I'm fifty

Then she said "Wow PaPa, you old"

so now we tease him about being SOOOO old. But I guess to a three year old, 50/51 is really old.

Happy sunday!

Lisa said...

I love spinach and your recipe sounds delicious - I'm definitely going to have to give this a whirl!

Alexis AKA MOM said...

Sounds yummy! Love the popeye, he's so cute! Stopping by from SITS :).

MomToTwo said...

I love fresh spinach. I've been throwing it in pasta and just serving it by itself. And I toss the frozen stuff into spaghetti sauce and layered pastas, too.

pam said...

I need to eat some more spinach. I just read something very interesting and could be beneficial to me!!

Anne said...

I LOVE baby spinach salads! Baby spinach with chopped walnuts and a little bit of raspberry vinaigrette - YUM!

Cyndi said...

We had some spinach and artichoke dip last night, but the cream cheese probably cancels out the good stuff, huh?

Nana said...

I love spinach. In fact I will be planting some very soon now. Thanks for you kind words about the salon.