Had a great surf and hang today with our favourite family trio. You know you're onto a good friendship when guests bring a bouquet of veg 🙏
Silverbeet is a fantastic source of micro, macro nutrients and minerals, and there's always a hearty discussion to be had among nutrition nerds as to whether you should eat your spinach raw or cooked. There are in fact benefits and draw-downs to both.
NEGATIVES FOR RAW
Raw spinach contains high amounts of oxalate which binds to calcium and iron and can hinder absorption. Although bypassing any absorption issues is quite simple and can be achieved by consuming vitamin C within a few hours of eating your raw spinach. Maintaining a healthy microbiota through the regular consumption of probiotic promoting foods will also alleviate the risk of iron and calcium malabsorption from regular raw spinach in one's diet.
The oxalic acid in spinach can also cause the levels of calcium oxalate in your urine to rise, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. If you're one who's prone to kidney stones steaming your spinach is probably the safest bet.
BENEFITS FOR RAW
As far as the largest spread in nutrient values is concerned between cooked and raw; when we go gram for gram raw spinach contains 2/3s more Vitamin C than cooked spinach and 1/5 more folate (when comparing daily values).
Now, eating your spinach raw will improve the absorption of folate, vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium. Folate is a crucial nutrient for anyone affected by mood issues and in order to ensure the folate can be used correctly by the body during the methylation process, consuming spinach as a source is far better option than taking folic acid in isolation.
BENEFITS FOR COOKED
Cooking your spinach improves absorption of a selection of micro, macro nutrients and minerals including iron, thiamin, calcium, protein, zinc and vitamins A and E. As well as some very useful carotenoids; beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are a class if phyto-nutrients that have important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and positive immune activity when consumed.
The particular carotenoids in spinach produce a range of benefits from eye and circulatory health (lutein and zeaxanthin) to assisting in the stabilisation of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol; as well as promoting the bodies natural protection against sun damage (beta-carotene). These benefits are thought to be a result of the immediate and flow on effects the prevention of oxidation in the body achieves.
If cooking your spinach remember to avoid soaking it in boiling water directly; this is the cause of the largest loss in nutrient content. Lightly steaming is the best option when cooking your spinach; on the stove that is, no microwaves 😲
Looking at the data (some of which we've covered here) a case can be made for consuming both raw and cooked spinach, and it is probably wise to consume a mix of raw and cooked spinach to reap the full benefits of both methods of consumption.
How do you guys eat your spinach?
Have a healthy weekend!