The Great Spinach Debate

3010435590_ea783591911I was chatting to a friend the other day about an article I’d read on spinach, one of my favourite foods. The article claimed that spinach, when cooked retained much of it’s original uncooked vitamin content. While initially I found this fascinating, my friend pointed out that she’d heard that we cannot absorb many of the nutrients in spinach for the same reason.

I’ve since done a lot of reading on spinach and found both the article slightly wrong and my friend correct, though mainly about the iron content.  Spinach itself contains an amazing number of vitamins and minerals, as well as being a powerful anti-inflammatory food.  Even aside from the iron absorption problems, it’s a good thing to eat, cooked or uncooked.

Spinach is a non-heme iron, which is usually found in vegetables and is not as easily absorbed into the body as heme sources that come from meat and eggs. Around 90% of the iron contained in spinach will be excreted, unused by the body in your urine. You can however boost non-heme iron absorption with the use of vitamin C. Add a glass of orange juice to your meal or a healthy squeeze of lemon to your spinach.  I take chewable vitamin C daily as it’s a natural anti-histamine and I find it preferable to normal over the counter meds which don’t have the added health benefits of vitamin C.

So I thought we’d solve this problem by making a salad dressing that is high in vitamin C and tastes delicious on spinach.  Here goes!  Let me know how it works for you!

Spinach Salad w/Honey Lemon Dressing (serves 4)

4 cups (170g) of freshly washed spinach
3T (45mL) vegetable oil (olive oil or grapeseed oil)
3T (45mL) honey (agave syrup if you’re vegan)
1/4 (60mL) tsp. paprika
3T (45mL)water
1/8 (30mL) cup lemon juice

I like to use baby spinach so I can leave it whole.  Place in a large bowl.  In the meantime, whisk your remaining ingredients together into a delicious vitamin C rich dressing.  When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the spinach, mix well and enjoy!  You can also add walnuts, sunflower seeds, or my favourite zinc rich pumpkin seeds.

Also if you take a calcium supplement, beware of taking that with your meal if you are eating spinach.  Calcium can also interfere with iron absorption and so calcium rich foods should also be avoided in combination.  There is a science to food combining.  But I suppose that is for another time!  See you soon!


CATEGORIES : Nutrition, Recipes, Wheat Allergy/ AUTHOR : Lo.

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American born Lobelia isn’t just your typical singer-songwriter. A multi-instrumentalist who worked as a studio musician for 10+ years, she has won multiple awards for her songwriting, has been featured in Billboard Magazine, and was one of the original Women of MP3.COM in the early days of the Internet. Now living in the UK after a 7 year stint in Montreal, she hosts several acclaimed songwriter nights at Tower of Song, Birmingham’s best small music venue. An advocate for sustainable touring, she travels the world performing at house concerts and small venues.