I don’t know about you but I really enjoy spinach whether it’s raw in a salad or cooked in a recipe. I have seen several lists of “superfoods” from various sources and spinach is almost always somewhere in the top ten. It certainly is good for us and has lots of uses whether we throw it in a salad or steam it or use it in soup, shred it for burritos, throw it on a vegetable pizza, make a spinach dip, buy spinach pasta or… well, you get the idea… it’s very versatile.
Spinach is over half carbohydrate, 30% protein and about 14% fats; what a great breakdown. It’s also full of nutrients of all kinds and is especially noted for exceeding dark green lettuces like Romaine in iron, calcium, folate plus it contains generous amounts of other great antioxidants and phytochemicals like magnesium, vitamin C, beta-carotene and more. You get all this for about 7 calories in a cup of raw spinach. Wow! You really cannot beat that!
This wonderful vegetable does a lot for us… it’s good for our eyes, good for our heart and arteries, it can lower the risk of most cancers, it supports the immune system and as if that isn’t enough it is valuable as a brain food. Hmmm… I’m putting spinach on my grocery list right now.
Have you ever heard someone say “spinach has oxalic acid so don’t eat too much of it”? Yeah… I’ve heard that too. Does it stop me from eating raw or steamed or baked or sautéed spinach? No. And here’s why… even though spinach contains a lot of calcium, most of it is unusable because of the oxalate which it contains and that does interfere with the absorption of calcium in the spinach but eating spinach (and all of its wonderful attributes) does not interfere with calcium absorption from other foods.
We know that cooking destroys some nutrients but it releases others (like beta-carotene) and makes them more available to us. So the answer to the question is pretty obvious – eat it both ways – raw or not raw. Just be sure to eat it often. I really like that conclusion.
What is interesting is that there are other foods that contain high amounts of oxalate such as nuts, chocolate, tea, beet greens, kale, beets, tomatoes and strawberries. Why aren’t we told about these? Hmmm… nuts and chocolate?… maybe we can guess why. However, people who have a tendency to form kidney stones are told to stop eating these foods but… only 10% of oxalates in the body come from our food. So if you restrict these foods but continue eating excessive amounts of animal foods, refined foods, caffeine and alcohol you will not prevent kidney stones anyway.
Mom said to eat your spinach and Popeye said so too… but not out of can. Ugh!