Nutritional Benefits of Spinach Leaves

spinach leaves nutrition

Spinach Leaves are one of the most nutritional and versatile ingredients that we can add to our daily diet in literally hundreds of ways. The benefits of spinach suggest that we should be eating a lot more of it. From breakfast to dinner there is a recipe for spinach. It can be eaten raw, picked straight from the plant or cooked. For vegetarians and vegans Iron and B vitamins are very important. This is usually something we lack in because many diets get these nutrients from meat sources.

For North Americans we usually have very little Vitamin K in our diets since it is usually found in fermented foods and leafy greens. Vitamin K is responsible for regulating blood coagulation and maintaining bone mineral density (maintaining bone mineral density is very important in women). When the body lacks the vitamins and minerals required to function it will actually pull those minerals from the bones resulting in weaker skeleton.

Vitamin K also plays an important part in the absorption of other vitamins and minerals. This is especially true when it comes to bone health. Vitamin K2 in particular. Vitamin K2 in made by the body from metabolizing Vitamin K. After its creation K2 helps build stronger bones by helping the body put calcium into bone tissue.

Without Vitamin D and Vitamin K the body uses calcium to build other tissues and it will take this calcium from bones reducing their strength. That’s why making sure you have plenty of Vitamin D and Vitamin K is important for building bone mineral density which also helps prevent fractures. Having enough calcium in your diet to prevent the breakdown of bones in the first place is just as important. Spinach leaves also contain calcium so clearly its a vegetable power house of nutrition.

Spinach is also full of antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein. This is something we usually get from fruits.

Due to the rich green color of the leaves it is an obvious indication that they are full of chlorophyll. Its been shown that chlorophyll and foods that contain high levels of chlorophyll can help suppress appetite. This is a winning combination for spinach. It has many nutrients we need (as listed below) and helps make us feel full without eating much. Throw in an avocado for healthy fats and it makes a great salad or sandwich.

Nutrition of Cooked Spinach Leaves

The nutritional profile of just 1 cup (180 grams) of cooked spinach leaves is impressive. These numbers vary depending on type of spinach and how its cooked but are generally close depending on the source.

  • Over 888 mcg of Vitamin K
  • Over 943 mcg of Vitamin A
  • 1.6 mg of Manganese
  • 262 mcg of Folate
  • 156 mg of Magnesium
  • 6 mg of Iron
  • .31 mg of Copper
  • .42 mg of Vitamin B2
  • .44 mg of Vitamin B6
  • .17mg of Vitamin B1
  • .88 mg of Vitamin B3
  • 3.74 mg of Vitamin E
  • 244 mg of Calcium
  • 838 mg of Potassium
  • 17 mg of Vitamin C
  • 4 grams of Fiber
  • 100 mg of Phosphorus
  • 5 grams of Protein
  • 35 mg of Choline
  • 170 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids
  • .26 mg of Pantothenic Acid
  • 2.7 mcg of Selenium
  • 1 mg of zinc

Nutrition of Raw Spinach Leaves

Around 80 grams of raw spinach makes a decent sized meal for a salad. Below is the nutrient data for 1 cup (30 grams) of raw spinach.

  • 6.9 Calories
  • 1.1 grams of carbohydrates
  • 41.4 mg of omega 3 fatty acids
  • 7.8 mg of omega 6 fatty acids
  • 0.9 grams of Protein
  • 0.7 grams of Fiber
  • 2813 IU (international Units) of Vitamin A
  • 8.4 mg of Vitamin C
  • 0.6 mg of Vitamin E
  • 145 mcg of Vitamin K
  • 0.1 mg of Riboflavin
  • 0.2 mg of Niacin
  • 0.1 mg of Vitamin B6
  • 58.2 mcg of Folate
  • 5.4 mg of Choline
  • 165 mg of Betaine
  • 29.7 mg of Calcium
  • 0.8 mg of Iron
  • 23.7 mg of Magnesium
  • 14.7mg of Phosphorus
  • 167 mg of Potassium
  • 23.7 mg of sodium
  • 0.2 mg of zinc
  • 0.3 mg of Manganese
  • 0.3 mcg of Selenium

Spinach is a great food for people looking to cut their calorie intake while still getting important nutrients.

For athletes and active people one of the first fitness benefits of spinach leaves is the high amounts of potassium. A lack of potassium has been linked to muscle cramps. This is why people will recommend a banana if you have muscle cramps. Having both of these in your daily diet is a good idea if this is something you are concerned with.

Choline is another vitamin that we usually get from meat sources but is critical in the human body in the right moderation. Its responsible for proper brain function and certain cellular functions.  For vegetarians and vegans broccoli, beans, nuts, tomatoes and of course spinach are great natural sources of choline.

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