This bright green veggie, which is closely related to beetroot and chard, has long been known to have some pretty amazing health benefits. As well as eating it raw in salads and smoothies, it’s a highly nutritious ingredient that you can sneak into lots of different meals – fussy eaters won’t even notice it’s there!
What are the health benefits of spinach?
There are so many reasons why spinach should be a mainstay in your vegetable drawer. As well as being a rich source of iron, spinach is also1:
- High in fibre – spinach contains high amounts of insoluble fibre (around 2.2g per 100g of spinach) which is beneficial for your digestive system.
- Rich in vitamin C – in addition to various other vitamins and minerals, spinach is a rich source of vitamin C, which supports the immune system and contributes to normal collagen formation needed for normal function of skin.
- A good source of carotenoids – these compounds are helpful for a number of reasons, but namely because they aid the body in producing vitamin A, which contributes to the maintenance of normal vision2.
How to cook spinach in a healthy way
When it comes to cooking fresh spinach, you’ll have a few different options, some of which are healthier than others. In general, the best methods use little or no oil. Consider3:
Steaming your spinach – place it in a steamer above a pan of boiling water, cover it with a lid and leave it to cook until soft.
Blanching your spinach – bring some water to the boil, add in the spinach and then drain after a couple of minutes.
Wilting your spinach – after washing your spinach, keep it in the colander and place it in an empty sink. Using your kettle, pour boiling water evenly over the spinach and leave to drain.
After you’ve cooked your spinach, you can either eat it like that or add it into other dishes. Remember to always wash your spinach thoroughly before you cook it to remove any grit or dirt.
Three tasty ways to eat spinach
Keen to incorporate this healthy green into your weekly meal line up? Here’s a handful of inspiring cooking ideas:
- Add some to a curry
Spinach is a popular ingredient in lots of curries, especially dishes like saag paneer. Its earthy taste is perfect for complimenting spicy sauces, plus it soaks up flavours well thanks to its high water content.
- Toss a handful in pasta
If you’re a pasta fan yet want to make it slightly healthier, spinach is the perfect veggie to add. If you’re making a tomato-based sauce, throw some spinach leaves in at the end and stir. You could also use it as an extra layer in lasagna.
- Sauté it as a side
Spinach also works well on its own as a side dish. Try steaming or gently boiling some, draining it and then sautéing it in a little oil and some seasonings. You could even add in some fried onion or garlic for an extra burst of flavour.
Have a look at our complete range of cooking ingredients to help you create curries, soups and stews which you can effortlessly enhance with a handful or two of spinach. For more recipe inspiration and nutritional information, browse our other guides in The Health Hub.
Last updated: 30 April 2020