Spinach, the Superfood
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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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 Â½ 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
Throw Some Spinach in that Salad!
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.
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.
Jamie's Cranberry Spinach Salad Recipe
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
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!