We’ve each got our ‘things’ right? I’ve wondered for a while, whenever I’ve prepared spinach, “What is a ‘serving’ of spinach?” Is it the amount that covers a salad plate? Is it the tiny side dish that results from sautéing an entire bunch or bag of leaves?
I recently have delved deeper into the fiber-sphere and happened to find info at med.umich.edu about my ongoing spinach question. As you may know, FIBER is our magic tool for improving our microbiome, which in turn helps improve our overall health, relating to emotional and cognitive health, blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, cancer, and more. Recommendations are for women to have 25 grams of fiber a day and for men to have 38 grams.
There are about 2 grams of fiber in either one half cup of boiled spinach or 1.5 cups of raw spinach. It’s difficult to quantify how many servings ‘a bunch’ of spinach would have and even bags come in varying 4-6 cup sizes. And then are we talking about loosely packed cups, densely packed cups … so many questions!
So I decided to put it to the test. I started with a bag labeled as having 6 cups. I was able to pack 6 cups fairly densely but without overflow from that bag. Then I sautéed it … and came up with… exactly one cup of cooked spinach. So now you know – If you’d like to serve cooked spinach, figure on one bag per 2 people.
Going back to the fiber issue – so are 2 or 4 grams of fiber ‘worth it’ to eat spinach? YES! Popeye knew almost a century ago that it was a ‘best buy’. It has many other benefits – related to its chlorophyll, lutein, protein, vitamin A and K, and potassium, magnesium and manganese content. As such it protects eye health (lutein), bone health (vitaminK), blood pressure (potassium), skin health (vitamin A), and possibly sugar control. It also contains iron but should be eaten with a vitamin C containing fruit to improve absorption. It contains calcium as well, which isn’t easily absorbed from spinach because of its oxalate content. Cooking spinach does decrease its oxalate content and improve calcium absorption. If you have a history of kidney stones, be sure to check with your physician before indulging.
With all of its benefits, spinach is a good component of a nutrition plan that otherwise contains lots of fiber – think lentils, beans, split peas, whole grains, and everything in the produce aisle. It doesn’t get any easier than sautéing spinach with a little garlic in olive oil or broth. Here are many other simple suggestions, and here’s one of my favorite simple spinach salad recipes, shown above, with strawberries, sliced almonds and poppy seed dressing.
Even if you never knew you had spinach questions, I hope I’ve answered them. Let us know if you have a favorite spinach recipe, or what you think of mine.