For juicing and smoothie preparations, it is best to choose fresh baby spinach leaves as they are tender as opposed the mature leaves which may be stringy or leathery. Freezing the leaves weakens the health benefits, while cooking for just two minutes enhances the benefits. Only half a cup of cooked spinach delivers three times as many nutrients as one cup of the raw vegetable! Hence, steaming the leaves in minimum amount of water for two minutes, then using the mixture in drinks provides maximum benefits.
Green Spinach Smoothie
- ½ cup freshly steamed, then cooled to room temperature spinach
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 3-4 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients together until smooth, add ice and enjoy.
Spinach is one of the richest sources of iron with 100 grams supplying 25% of the daily recommended allowance. In addition, the same quantity satisfies nearly 47% of the daily needs of vitamin C, and 402% of the vitamin K needs. It also contains significant amounts of vitamin A, B6 (pyridoxine), B1 (thiamin), riboflavin, folates and niacin. Furthermore, it supplies good amounts of minerals like manganese, magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper, along with antioxidant phytonutrients like, beta-carotene, lutein, zea-zanthin and omega-3 fatty acids.
Health Benefits of Spinach
Spinach contains the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid which has been shown to reduce glucose levels in the blood and enhance insulin sensitivity. Dark green leafed vegetables like spinach house chlorophyll which is successful against preventing cancerous effects of heterocyclic amines, compounds produced during high temperature grilling of foods. The high amounts of vitamin K in spinach aids calcium absorption, which leads to enhanced bone health. Deficiency of iron is a commonly associated with premature hair loss, which can be rectified with iron rich foods like spinach.
While everyone is familiar with bone building benefits of iron, not many people realize that it is also good for digestion. Spinach protects the lining of the stomach which prevents ulcers and eases constipation. Additionally it removes toxins from the colon. The abundance of nutrients in spinach like vitamin A are beneficial for growth of body tissues like skin while vitamin C is necessary for building collagen, a compound necessary for young looking skin.