Jump-start your health with a serving of spinach

October 9, 2015

If everyone ate more spinach, we'd all have less diabetes, not to mention diseases like heart disease and cancer. No, spinach doesn't have any special power to lower your blood sugar, other than some soluble fibre and the fact that it's a vegetable, so that like almost all vegetables, it has little impact on your blood sugar. But the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the lower your risk of being overweight and of developing diabetes. It's that simple. But spinach is so all-around good for you, with so many nutrients and so few calories, it's a must for a successful diet.

Despite what Popeye may have thought, spinach is not a very good source of iron. That's because the iron it contains isn't absorbed very well by the body. But it's loaded with other nutrients that can help stave off or treat just about every health concern, especially if you have diabetes or any of the risk factors for it.

Because spinach contains lots of potassium and magnesium, it (and other dark greens) can help keep blood pressure in check. Thanks to its store of carotenoids, it's one of the most antioxidant-rich vegetables on Earth. These antioxidants are powerful weapons against diabetes-related complications, including heart disease and nerve damage, not to mention cancer.Speaking of antioxidants, spinach is a surprisingly good source of vitamin C.

A 250-millilitre (two-cup) serving of raw leaves (enough for a nice-size salad) provides 28 percent of a day's allowance while dishing out only 14 calories. With such a small calorie count, spinach can help lower the overall calories of any dish you add it to.

Because spinach shrinks so much, it is measured as a 125-millilitre (1/2-cup) serving of cooked spinach. This is the official serving size, but when it comes to spinach, the more the better.

Jump-start your health with a serving of spinach

Oh, so many possibilities

Look for any and every opportunity to "go green," from good old spinach salad to these ideas.

  • For a super-nutritious side dish, sauté spinach (Swiss chard or kale works well, too) and sliced onions in olive oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Stir steamed spinach into mashed potatoes so you get less potato and a lower GL with every bite. Top with sliced scallions.
  • Top pizza with spinach.
  • Steam spinach, then purée with parsley and lemon juice and use as a sauce for chicken or pasta.
  • Make spinach pesto. Purée raw spinach with almonds, garlic, olive oil and a bit of Parmesan cheese, then toss with whole grain-pasta and chickpeas.
  • "Beef" up lasagna with spinach instead of meat.
  • Serve spinach with garlic and olive oil over pasta cooked al dente. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • For a quick soup, purée steamed spinach with garlic and low-fat plain yogurt.

Which ever way you opt to enjoy this power green, remember that it is highly versatile, making it an easy addition to any meal.


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