Although spinach contains less iron than previously thought, it has a lot of vitamins and minerals. Swiss chard tastes similar to spinach but is a turnip plant.
A super vegetable that makes you strong – was Popeye right? Spinach contains phytoecdysteroids, which are similar to human steroid hormones. In fact, American researchers have discovered that phytoecdysteroids have a positive effect on human muscle growth. But for the green vegetables to really make you strong, you would have to consume more than a kilogram a day.
The iron content of spinach is much lower than previously thought, but still quite decent at around 3.5 milligrams per 100 grams.
Spinach is rich in folic acid
Spinach provides a lot of vitamins and minerals. High levels of folic acid help with red blood cell formation, making up for the lower iron content. A lot of beta-carotene and the secondary plant pigment lutein in spinach reduces the risk of eye diseases.
Fresh, young organic spinach contains less nitrite
But spinach can also have unpleasant side effects: Like many other leafy vegetables, it stores a lot of nitrates, which come from fertilization in conventional cultivation. During storage, nitrate converts to nitrite, which is said to have carcinogenic and immune-suppressing effects. In small amounts, nitrite relaxes our blood vessels for a short time – but too much nitrite is unhealthy. It is, therefore, best for consumers to use fresh, field-grown, and organic spinach and not store the sensitive vegetables at home for days.
Spinach can be used in many ways – raw and cooked
Incidentally, young spinach, also known as baby spinach, is even suitable for raw consumption. You can use the small, tender leaves in salads, wraps, or smoothies.
Contrary to popular belief, spinach that has already been cooked can be reheated and eaten. But it is important that the spinach is stored as cool as possible in the meantime – so put the leftovers in the fridge quickly.
Frozen spinach is a good alternative
Spinach is very sensitive: the valuable ingredients are lost if the heat is too high and the spinach becomes mushy. Fresh spinach should only be tossed briefly in the pan. If fresh spinach is not available, frozen spinach is a good alternative. It is blanched and quenched in water before freezing – this means that around 70 percent of the nitrate remains in the drain water. Frozen spinach can be stored for about ten months.
Creamed spinach: it is better to prepare it yourself than to buy it ready-made
It is better to prepare creamed spinach yourself because finished products contain unnecessary ingredients such as thickeners, sugar, and too much salt. If you don’t have fresh spinach, you can quickly conjure up chopped frozen spinach with cream and spices such as pepper, salt, and nutmeg – plus some finely chopped onion and garlic if you like.
Swiss chard: Beet plant with a spinach flavor
A true multi-talent in the kitchen is also a vegetable that tastes like spinach but is actually a turnip: the Swiss chard. It contains a lot of vitamin K, which is important for our blood and bones. The vegetable has almost as much potassium as spinach. However, chard also contains a lot of oxalic acids, which promotes the formation of kidney stones. Because it also contains a lot of bitter substances, chard is actually not so well suited as a salad. However, if you heat it up, for example by frying it in a pan, these substances are broken down and the chard tastes much finer.