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Spinach, the Superfood

Updated on September 16, 2013

Super Spinach!

Arguably the very most nutritious food on the planet is spinach. I mean, how can one plant have so many nutrients in it? Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is extremely rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamin A, lutein, vitamins C, E, and K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, B vitamins, calcium, potassium, and folic acid. Oh, you thought I was done? There's more! Copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium, and omega 3 fatty acids are also abundant in spinach. Also, opioid peptides (rubiscolins) have been found in spinach in recent studies. This lens will look further into some of the multitude of nutrients that spinach has to offer as well as delicious spinach recipes and growing spinach.

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Photo Credit: irrigationdirect.com, via Creative Commons
Photo Credit: irrigationdirect.com, via Creative Commons

Tips On Growing Spinach

Tips on Growing Spinach

- Find a spot in which the spinach will get plenty of sun in cold weather and some shade in warmer weather.

- Loosen the soil at least one foot deep. Spinach plants send out deep tap roots that need that loosened-up soil.

- Spinach likes nitrogen-rich soil, so work well-cured manure into the soil.

- Plant the seeds as early as possible. Four to eight weeks before the last expected frost is best.

- Buy fresh seeds each year since spinach seeds do not store well.

- Plant the seeds ½ inch deep and two inches apart.

- Thin the seedlings to about six inches apart when they are about four inches tall to prevent overcrowding.

- Keep the soil moist and feed the plants with nitrogen-rich manure tea every 10 days until the plants are about six inches tall.

- Mulch the growing plants in order to prevent weeds and retain moisture.

- Use the leaves as necessary for salads and cooking, and be sure to harvest the entire plant before it begins to flower.

How To Grow Spinach

Photo Credit: allrecipes.com, via CC, click on image for recipe page
Photo Credit: allrecipes.com, via CC, click on image for recipe page

Add Some Spinach to Those Layers!

The next time you make lasagna, try adding in a bunch of spinach. I usually use one whole package of bagged, fresh, raw spinach in my lasagna. Just pack it in the layers. Don't be afraid to use a whole bunch because the spinach will shrink down quite a bit. This makes for delicious lasagna that the whole family will love, plus you're adding in a very nutritious food that will load up the lasagna with tons of beneficial nutrients.

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Photo Credit: dangerousandbeautiful.com, via CC, click on image for website

Yep, Toss it in Your Smoothies Too

I LOVE to pack spinach into my smoothies! Guess what? The smoothies don't taste like spinach, so don't give me that "ewww!" look. Spinach is absolutely LOADED with good, healthy components like calcium, so you're really giving your smoothie an extra boost by utilizing some fresh spinach.

I like to blend up one yogurt, some frozen berries and/or pineapple or mango, a couple baby carrots, and about 10 baby spinach leaves, along with some apple juice or just plain water. This makes a great-tasting a super healthy smoothie. I like to use frozen fruit because then there is no need for ice, which waters down the smoothie, which I can't stand. I personally love a lot of flavor.

It's All In the Greens! - Green Smoothies: Healthy and, Yes, Delicious!

So What's So Great About Iron?

A 60 gram serving of boiled spinach contains around two milligrams of iron and, since when you boil vegetables much of the nutrients are released into the water, the iron content in raw spinach is a bit higher. Most of the iron in our bodies, about 65 to 75 percent, is found in the blood as hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein used to carry oxygen to the tissues of our bodies. So, it can be said that iron assists in the delivery of oxygen to the cells in our bodies. When paired with vitamin C, iron is much more readily absorbed, and it just so happens that spinach is full of vitamin C as well as iron. Iron is also involved with producing energy. While liver, red meat, soybeans, and seafood may provide more iron than spinach does, spinach is still a great source of this beneficial nutrient.

Photo Credit: allrecipes.com, via CC
Photo Credit: allrecipes.com, via CC

Jamie's Cranberry Spinach Salad Recipe

From Allrecipes.com

This spinach salad has rave reviews on Allrecipes.com. It has 2,252 reviews and still maintains a 5-star rating, and that is pretty darned impressive. With the wholesome calcium in the almonds and the vitamin C in the cranberries, what's not to love? You'll also need poppy seeds, sesame seeds, some sugar, some oil, vinegar, and onion. For the rest of the ingredients and the complete recipe, check out Jamie's Cranberry Spinach Salad Recipe on Allrecipes.com.

The Scoop on Vitamin A

One cup of boiled spinach contains roughly 234% RDA of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is helpful in improving low-light vision and color vision. Vitamin A also supports immune function, bone metabolism, reproduction, and embryonic development. It reduces the amount of free radicals within the body and prevents oxidation of cholesterol, which is the process by which cholesterol damages the arteries. When paired with Vitamin C, which is plentiful in spinach, it can do other amazing things such as reduce inflammation in asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Spinach and Feta Pie

Garlic Sauteed Spinach - By Barefoot Contessa

Photo Credit: foodnetwork.com, click on image for site
Photo Credit: foodnetwork.com, click on image for site

This garlic spinach look so yummy! Since you're not boiling it, most of the nutrients will stay in the spinach. The recipe says you can use a large pot or a crock pot to make this perfect complement to a steak dinner, or any other dinner for that matter. You'll need fresh baby spinach, olive oil, garlic, lemon, and a bit of butter, salt, and pepper for this recipe, and see the recipe page at the Food Network for the complete instructions.

Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts - By Rachael Ray

Made with ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, and mushrooms, this is the perfect dinner for the whole family to enjoy. Rachael Ray brings us yet another wonderful recipe! What I love about it is that when it is finished cooking you can slice the chicken breasts and fan them out on a pretty platter. To top off what are already delicious stuffed chicken breasts is a yummy sauce made with butter, flour, white wine, and chicken broth. The complete recipe is available at the Food Network. Enjoy!

Thanks For Stopping By! - Let's Hear From Ya!

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    • Stephanie36 profile image

      Stephanie 4 years ago from Canada

      You're making me hungry! Great info here!

    • merfzel profile image
      Author

      merfzel 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      @steadytracker lm: So good.. thanks for visiting :)

    • steadytracker lm profile image

      steadytracker lm 4 years ago

      I love spinach. My mom used to make this spinach dip with pumpernickel rye bread and I could never get enough of it.

    • Bercton1 profile image

      Bercton1 4 years ago

      Indeed great food with lots of health benefits and l love it . Nice recipe and great lens!

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      Very nicely done. I love spinach!

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Spinach is healthy! I always prefer it.

    • merfzel profile image
      Author

      merfzel 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      @renewedfaith2day: Sounds awesome, doesn't it?

    • renewedfaith2day profile image

      renewedfaith2day 4 years ago

      Garlic Sauteed Spinach...My mouth is watering as I write this.

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 4 years ago

      I always loved spinach. So does one of my daughters' but not the other. Kale is another favourite we all like.

    • merfzel profile image
      Author

      merfzel 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      @Craftypicks: Oh man... canned spinach is the worst! Thanks for visiting this lens and my others!

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      I hated spinach growing up because my mother made it out of a can. I didn't taste it fresh until I was an adult and discovered I loved it. Thanks for the recipies.

    • whiteskyline lm profile image

      whiteskyline lm 4 years ago

      I love every recipe you have on here, and the pics look so tasty...the lasagna, sauteed spinach, spinach salad, pie, stuffed chicken breast. I just got some spinach dip from Trader Joe's yesterday too, I love spinach dip...I guess I like spinach a little bit.

    • merfzel profile image
      Author

      merfzel 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      @litbern: LOL..I haven't tried growing it myself, but I love to throw it in foods like lasagna... adds so much nutritional value. Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      litbern 5 years ago

      great lens :) I like cooking so thanks for the recipes and eating spinach but i do not have a green thumb - will leave that to others - hehehe