Spinach: benefits and harm for the human body

This plant is rich in iron and contains many other important trace elements and vitamins. But you need to eat it in moderation: abuse can lead to kidney problems. We talk about the benefits and harms of spinach for the body.

Spinach is a leafy vegetable that grows wild in central Asian countries (1). Anyone can grow it in their garden and add it to soup, pies and salads. In this article we tell you all the most important things about the benefits of spinach for the body, as well as the harm it can cause.

What is important to know about spinach

Many people know that spinach is a real superfood because it contains a lot of elements important for the body. We tell you why exactly it is useful (2). 

Spinach has a lot of vitamin K This substance promotes metabolism in muscles and connective tissue, strengthens bone tissue and prevents the development of osteoporosis, and also helps normalize blood clotting levels
Spinach is the leader among greens in iron content The body can get more of this microelement from stewed or boiled spinach. Heat treatment reduces the amount of oxalic acid, which interferes with iron absorption
Spinach improves vision Thanks to lutein – a special pigment that, accumulating in the retina of the eye, prevents its destruction and clouding of the lens 
Spinach affects tissue regeneration Consumption of various types of spinach helps heal ulcers in diabetes and increases the rate of bone healing in fractures.
Spinach is used in cosmetology The plant is often included in skin care cosmetics. Its extract moisturizes the skin and fights early signs of aging

Composition and calorie content of spinach

This vegetable is considered one of the most dietary. It is low in calories, but high in nutrients and fiber. Add spinach, as well as other leafy greens, to every meal, especially if you want to lose weight. 

Calorie content and BZHU

There are very few kilocalories in spinach: only 22 in 100 g of greens (3). Here are the nutritional values ​​of this leafy vegetable:

  • proteins – 2.9 g;
  • fats – 0.3 g;
  • carbohydrates – 2 g. 

Vitamins and minerals

100 g of spinach contains (we give the percentage of the daily value): 

  • vitamin K – 402.4%;
  • carotenoids and beta-carotene – 112.5%;
  • lutein and zeaxanthin – 203.3%;
  • folic acid – 48.5%;
  • vitamin C – 31.2%;
  • vitamin E – 13.9%;
  • manganese – 39%;
  • iron – 27.1%;
  • magnesium – 19.8%;
  • copper – 14.4%.

The benefits of spinach for the body

Spinach is becoming increasingly popular among people seeking a healthy lifestyle. We tell you what its benefits are for women, men and children.

For women

Spinach maintains the hormonal balance of the female body. Thus, the vitamin E contained in its composition promotes the production of progesterone and alleviates unpleasant symptoms during menopause.

Spinach is recommended for women of childbearing age to replenish iron reserves.

During pregnancy, it contributes to the normal formation of the fetus and placenta due to its high folic acid content.

Spinach greens improve skin condition: enhances collagen formation, slows down aging due to antioxidant effects, prevents pigmentation and ultraviolet damage to the skin. Vitamin K activates osteocalcin (a protein that transports calcium into the bones), which is especially important for women during menopause.

For men

Spinach also affects male sexual health. Fat-soluble vitamin E in its composition protects sperm from damage, increases their viability, normalizes the functioning of the sex glands, and enhances potency. Vitamin K promotes the production of the main male hormone testosterone.

For children

Heat-treated spinach can be introduced into a baby’s diet from seven to eight months. It improves digestion and prevents constipation , normalizes the balance of intestinal microflora, and promotes the formation of a healthy skeleton and teeth. Lutein and beta-carotene improve vision, which is especially important for school-age children.

Can spinach be harmful to your health?

Ekaterina Nesvit, nutritionist, candidate of medical sciences, expert of the scientific department of the International Institute of Integrative Nutrition explains:

— The benefits of this vegetable are undeniable, but spinach is contraindicated for people with salt metabolism disorders due to the high content of oxalic acid. For urolithiasis, nephritis, gout, colitis, pancreatic diseases, you must follow a low-oxalate diet and consume no more than 50 mg of oxalates per day. And 100 g of spinach contains about 900 mg of oxalates. For the same reason, spinach is recommended for those who suffer from cystitis or rheumatoid arthritis. A healthy person will only benefit from spinach when consumed in the daily amount.

Recipes for simple and delicious dishes with spinach

In different countries, cutlets, souffles, puddings, and pies are prepared from spinach. It can also be an independent side dish. We have collected recipes for dishes with this healthy vegetable.

1. Spinach, apple and banana smoothie

A smoothie is a thick drink made from a mixture of berries, vegetables or fruits. This is a great healthy snack idea that requires only a kitchen knife and a blender.

Ingredients (for two servings)

Spinach 50 g
Apple 1 PC.
Banana 1 PC.
Water 70 ml
Lemon juice Taste


  1. Rinse the spinach thoroughly.
  2. Peel the banana, cut it into slices and place in a blender container.
  3. Wash the apple, cut it into small pieces and add to the banana.
  4. Squeeze lemon juice over the fruit to suit your taste.
  5. Pour in water.
  6. Add spinach.
  7. Grind everything with a blender until smooth.
  8. Ready! You can pour the smoothie into glasses.

2. Spinach side dish

Not everyone knows, but spinach can act as an excellent side dish for meat or fish. Experiment if you are tired of the eternal choice between rice, buckwheat and pasta.

Ingredients (for two servings)

Spinach 400 g
Garlic (pass through a press) 2 cloves
Butter 1 teaspoon
Salt ½ teaspoon
Freshly ground black pepper ¼ teaspoon
Cream Taste


  1. Rinse the spinach thoroughly. To cook it, use a water bath: place the spinach in a pan with holes and place it in a container of boiling water. Please note that fresh spinach is four times larger in volume than cooked spinach.
  2. After cooking, drain the water from the pan and remove any remaining moisture using a wooden spoon. Then chop the spinach.
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir-fry for about two minutes.
  4. Add spinach to the pan and continue sautéing. When it releases juice and the mass becomes more watery, add cream, salt, and pepper. Cook for another 4 minutes until the cream has reduced by half.
  5. Ready. The dish can be served as a side dish with chicken, meat or fish.

3. Spinach cream soup

A simple dish that many children and adults love. This soup has a very delicate texture and does not leave a feeling of heaviness in the stomach.

Ingredients (for four servings)

Spinach 150 g
Potato 350 g
Cream 250 ml
Water 500 ml
Bulb onions 150 g
Butter 50 g
Dill 1 bunch
Dried garlic 0.5 teaspoon
Salt 0.5 teaspoon
Ground black pepper 1 pinch



  1. Take a saucepan of suitable size and melt the butter in it.
  2. Peel and cut the onion into small pieces. Fry it until golden brown in oil.
  3. While the onions are frying, peel the potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Fry the potatoes in the pan for 3 minutes.
  4. Fill the contents of the pan with water and cook the potatoes until soft.
  5. When the potatoes are tender, add the spinach. Frozen can be placed directly in this form, but fresh must be thoroughly rinsed beforehand. Cook the soup for another 5 minutes after boiling over low heat.
  6. Salt and pepper the soup, add garlic to it. Cook for a couple more minutes.
  7. Blend the soup with a blender until pureed.
  8. Add preheated cream.
  9. Place the soup back on the stove and bring to a boil, stirring. Ready.

How to choose spinach at the market or in the store

Buying high-quality spinach is not always easy: there is a possibility of getting stale greens. Here are some tips to help you choose a good product.

1. Pay attention to the color

The color of fresh spinach is usually very bright. A juicy green color is the main sign of a high vitamin C content. It also indicates that the spinach did not lie in a warehouse for a long time, but came to the counter directly from the garden.

There should also be no yellow or brown spots on the leaves. They may be a result of the greens being damaged by insects or having been treated with pest control chemicals. It is better not to eat such leaves.

2. Smell the spinach.

This life hack is relevant for all products. If you notice an unpleasant odor coming from spinach, do not take it – most likely, the vegetable has been lying on the shelf for several days.

3. Touch the leaves

Place the tip of a spinach leaf between two fingers and squeeze it lightly. If you feel a slight crunch, then the vegetable is fresh and was recently picked from the garden.

4. Check the thickness of the stem

If the spinach stem is too wide, it means the greens are overripe and will taste bitter.

5. Talk to the seller

If you choose spinach at the market or in a special vegetable store, check with the seller in what conditions the greens were grown and how the leaves were processed. This is important because spinach is highly susceptible to pesticides (4).

How and when to pick grown spinach

Typically, this vegetable does not require much effort from the gardener when growing and allows you to enjoy the harvest even with minimal care. It is possible to collect 2-3 harvests per year. 

Spinach yields vary depending on the variety and time of planting. It reaches its maximum in spring and early autumn. The first juicy and healthy leaves can be collected 3-4 weeks after planting. However, the exact time of ripening depends on various factors, the most important of which are the plant variety and weather conditions.

How to properly harvest grown spinach

1. You need to harvest spinach in the morning or evening.

2. Prepare your tools. You will need sharp scissors or a knife and a basket or container to collect the harvest.

3. Cut the leaves carefully, at ground level, being careful not to damage the roots. If you want to harvest for further cultivation, leave small stems. Do not remove more than half the leaves from any one plant. 

4. It is best to harvest spinach regularly to encourage new leaf growth.

5. If the harvest is final, then cut off the rosettes at the root. 

How to properly store spinach

Spinach is best consumed within 12 hours of purchase as it spoils quickly. However, it can also be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature no higher than +5 degrees for no more than 3–5 days. After this time, the process of rotting begins and the spinach becomes unhealthy. 

To keep greens fresh longer, you don’t need to wash them before storing – just put them in a bag and put them in the refrigerator.

Spinach can also be frozen. In this form it can be stored for up to four months. 

Questions and answers

Together with nutritionist Ekaterina Nesvit, we answer the most common questions about spinach. 

Can spinach be eaten raw?

Spinach can be consumed both fresh (in salads, smoothies) and cooked (in omelettes, sauces, soups, main courses). Heat treatment (sautéing, stewing, steaming) reduces the amount of oxalates and also promotes better “release” of carotenoids – useful organic pigments.

In any form, spinach is best consumed with fat for better absorption.

Can you eat spinach every day? In what quantity?

You should eat no more than 100 g of fresh spinach daily and no more than 150 g of heat-treated spinach.

Which is healthier: spinach or arugula?

Spinach and arugula differ in microelement composition. Arugula contains more vitamin C and vitamin B5, and spinach wins in all other respects. It is better to combine both of these types of greens in a complete, balanced diet.

Does spinach retain its benefits when frozen?

If shock freezing technology is used for harvesting, spinach almost completely retains its beneficial properties. 

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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