Like many other vegetables, spinach is full of beneficial vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. One of these compounds is lutein, a pigment found in many green leafy vegetables.
You can buy spinach all year round, fresh, frozen and canned. The nutritional content of spinach varies if eaten cooked or raw. In this article we will explain the advantages of eating raw spinach, in addition to mentioning its benefits.
Characteristics of spinach that you should know
Like many other vegetables, spinach is full of beneficial vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. One of these compounds is lutein, a pigment that is also present in many green leafy vegetables. It is an antioxidant that works with the immune system and has anti-inflammatory properties.
In detail, other characteristics of spinach are:
- It is a vegetable composed mostly by water.
- It contains very few carbohydrates but is high in protein.
- It is very rich in vitamins and minerals and at the same time it is a very good source of omega 3 fatty acids.
- Minerals: calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.
- Vitamins A, C, E, K and Vitamins of Group B (including folic acid)
Why should we eat raw spinach?
Researchers from the University of Linköping in Sweden have proven that lutein is especially beneficial for the cardiovascular system because it helps maintain arteries in good condition.
Lutein breaks down with heat, so if cooked they lose most of their beneficial effect. Therefore, if you are interested in conserving this specific nutrient to improve your cardiovascular system, you should eat them raw.
In addition, the researchers wanted to check how much lutein is available with different cooking methods: cooked in water, steamed or sautéed at different temperatures.
The highest amounts of available lutein were found in shakes made with raw spinach, especially those containing dairy products (which can be replaced by vegetable milks). Spinach that had been cooked showed lower amounts of lutein, especially in long cooking.
The consumption of raw spinach allows a better use of some of its main nutrients.
More reasons to eat raw spinach…
In the case of spinach, eating them raw can be a good way to protect their high content of vitamin C. Raw spinach also has fewer calories than cooked and seems to retain better folates, which are largely lost during cooking.
Another advantage of eating raw has more to do with our tastes. Since it is a way to keep its texture crunchy, very pleasant in salads or garnishes.
Benefits of eating spinach
1. Protect your brain
Several components of spinach such as potassium, folate and various antioxidants provide neurological benefits to people who consume it regularly.
According to neurology, folate reduces the appearance of Alzheimer’s disease, so spinach is a very good option for people who are at high risk of neuronal or cognitive impairment.
2. Regulates blood pressure
Spinach has a high potassium content and a low sodium content. This mineral composition is a benefit for patients with high blood pressure since potassium helps regulate blood pressure while sodium increases it.
For its potassium content, spinach supports the treatment against high blood pressure.
3. I could fight some cancers
Spinach is composed of several important elements that have been found promising in the treatment and prevention of various types of cancer. The different components of spinach, such as folate, tocopherol and chlorophyllin, act through different mechanisms that are beneficial against this disease.
4. Strengthen your bones
Spinach is a good source of Vitamin K, which works in the retention of calcium in the bone matrix, which leads to bone mineralization. Apart from this, other minerals such as manganese, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus also help in the construction of strong bones.
This in turn can prevent a person from developing osteoporosis. These minerals are also essential to keep teeth and nails healthy.
5. Strengthen your muscles
A component of spinach, called the C0-Q10 factor, which is an antioxidant, plays an important role in strengthening the muscles. Especially the heart muscles that pump blood continuously to all parts of the body.
Finally, we remind you that because it is prone to form oxalates, those who suffer from arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis and renal colic should avoid it. If you do not identify with these cases, you can enjoy it regularly without problem.