By Shubhra Krishan, Care2, January 4, 2013
Full of nutrients and delicious taste, spinach is a winter superfood. But what’s the best way to eat it? Read the following surprising facts about this leafy green:
- It’s wiser to choose tender baby spinach leaves. The larger the leaves, the more mature they are and more likely to be tough or stringy. Also, spinach leaves that are placed under direct light in the stores have been found to contain more nutrients than those stored in darkness.
- Cooking spinach actually increases its health benefits! Just half a cup of cooked spinach will give you thrice as much nutrition as one cup of raw spinach. That’s because the body cannot completely break down the nutrients in raw spinach for its use.
- As an exception to the advice above, research studies show that taking spinach in juice form is actually the healthiest way to consume it. Blend spinach with other vegetables or fruits to create a delicious glass of juice, or try a green smoothie.
- There’s a compound in spinach called oxalic acid, which blocks the absorption of calcium and iron. An easy way to solve this problem is to pair spinach with a food high in vitamin C. Mandarin oranges and cantaloupes spring to mind here. Another way to reduce the power of oxalic acid is to boil the spinach leaves for at least two minutes.
- Freezing spinach diminishes its health benefits. The way to get the best from the leaf is to buy it fresh and eat it the same day.
- Do place spinach on your ‘organic shopping’ list, because the leaf tends to be sprayed heavily with pesticides that don’t come off with normal washing.
- Everyone talks about the benefits of spinach in nourishing the eyes and building bones. What few know is that it also very good for digestion. Spinach eases constipation and protects the mucus lining of the stomach, so that you stay free of ulcers. It also flushes out toxins from the colon.
- Another lesser known benefit of spinach is its role in skin care. The bounty of vitamins and minerals in spinach can bring you quick relief from dry, itchy skin and lavish you with a radiant complexion. Regular consumption of fresh, organic spinach juice has been shown to improve skin health dramatically.