If your knowledge of spinach is limited to what you learned from Popeye, you’re not alone. The iconic 1930s cartoon sailor was known for his love of spinach and would become instantly stronger after eating it. While spinach won’t exactly give you the same levels of superhuman strength, it does offer a range of impressive health benefits that you might not know about.
Spinach (Spinach oleracea) is part of the amaranth family and is related to beets, chard and quinoa. Spinach is believed to have originated in Ancient Persia, but today, China is the largest global producer. In 2020, 32 million tonnes of spinach were consumed globally, with China making up 92% of this consumption1. Spinach features on the Knorr Future 50 Foods list, a list of 50 ingredients we believe we should be eating more of, because of their advantages to our health, but also the planet.
Keep reading to learn more about the nutritional value of spinach, its sustainability credentials, and a selection of our favourite spinach recipes…
Spinach Calories and Nutritional Facts
As per USDA 100g of raw spinach contains 23 calories, 2.9g protein, 3.6g of carbohydrates, 2.2g of fibre and (0.39g) of fat2. Spinach is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Niacin (B3) and folate. It also contains antioxidants and smaller amounts of minerals including calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Health Benefits of Spinach
Spinach is a real powerhouse vegetable, offering a whole variety of health benefits. From helping to combat tiredness to maintaining a healthy heart, here are all the ways eating spinach can be beneficial to your health:
It supports your immune system
Spinach is high in Vitamins A and K, and folate, which are all immune supporting nutrients. Having a strong immune system makes it easier for your body to fight off bacteria and viruses to prevent you from getting sick.
It boosts energy levels
Spinach is naturally rich in iron, which supports energy levels by helping your red blood cells to deliver oxygen to where it’s needed around the body. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of an iron deficiency, so eating leafy vegetables like spinach is a good way to up your iron levels.
It maintains strong bones
Spinach is a rich source of Vitamin K, which we need for supporting healthy bones and promoting blood clotting. Spinach also contains calcium and magnesium, which are both key nutrients for bone and teeth maintenance and for preventing conditions like osteoporosis.
It helps you stay hydrated
We all know that staying hydrated is important but drinking water isn’t the only way to keep your fluid levels up. Spinach is made up of 93% water3, so incorporating it into your meals is a great way of increasing your water intake through your food.
It keeps your heart healthy
Eating spinach may help to prevent heart disease. Spinach is a source of potassium which has been shown to help keep your heart healthy. It also contains nitrates, which are important for good heart health as they can help to lower blood pressure, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes.
Is spinach good for the environment?
Yes, spinach can be harvested year-round, so it’s able to feed more people nutritiously compared to crops with short harvest windows. Different varieties of spinach can also be cultivated at different times, so planting different types allows for a more continuous supply and higher yields.
Spinach Recipes to Try
Spinach is an extremely versatile food, so it’s easy to add it to different meals and snacks. Spinach leaves come fresh, canned and frozen and can be eaten cooked or raw. Raw spinach leaves are mostly used in salads or as a garnish on pizzas. Spinach can be cooked by steaming, sautéing, and stir-frying and can also be stirred straight into pasta sauces, curries, and soups.
Have we managed to tempt you? If you’re looking for inspiration on how to cook spinach, try serving up one of these impressive spinach recipes for your friends or family:
Our classic spinach dip uses Knorr Vegetable Dry Soup Mix as a surprise added ingredient for extra flavour.
This crowd-pleaser would make a great main course at your next dinner party.
Spinach leaves make up the base of this kale, tofu, and sun-dried tomato salad.
Try this delicious, creamy dip with warm pita bread or crudités.
A simple, veggie-friendly dinner option, using frozen spinach and Knorr Cream of Broccoli Soup Mix.
A twist on chicken noodle soup, with chicken meatballs and baby spinach.
For more fun facts about foods that are good for you and the planet and to discover some new recipes, download the Knorr Future 50 Foods cookbook for free!