Will the protein in spinach really give us “Popeye” forearms and make Olive Oyl smile? It’s doubtful, but there are some real benefits to consuming spinach protein as part of our daily diet. Let us take a closer look at the benefits of spinach and how it can help us.
Spinach is an edible flowering plant, with its leaves commonly being eaten. Baby spinach as we know it, is when the spinach is harvested when it is young. Hence the baby leaves.
Eating spinach doesn’t have to be the boring old way, by boiling it to within an inch of its life, rendering it not only tasteless, but also nutrient deficient. No, spinach is great over a salad, dressed with some low-fat salad dressing. It is also very tasteful stuffed into other vegetables.
So how much protein in spinach is there?
On its own (as in raw), there is not as much as when it is cooked. The reason for this is the density of the spinach is increased when it is cooked. But remember, boiling it for too long will make it less effective as you will boil away all the other essential nutrients housed within spinach.
A cup of spinach (uncooked), contains less than 1g of protein per serving. However, a cup of spinach that is cooked in water alone with no added salts, will contain around 5.35g of protein. Quite a drastic increase wouldn’t you say?
But with the above information on spinach, we can see that spinach itself does not have a very high protein content. In order to get the required daily intake of protein, spinach should be supplemented with other protein sources. Sweet potato protein is also another good plant-based protein.
Increasing and pairing your spinach protein
Protein is vital to the function of the human body, and the building blocks of protein are crucial. But spinach itself is an incomplete food such as sweet potato protein. Bringing their protein amount up, it is good to eat spinach with other protein sources such as chicken, fish or beef.
For those that are vegetarians, other plant-based proteins of varied sources will help. Remember, that spinach shouldn’t be considered as a solid or reliable source of protein alone, due to its low protein amount. It should always be eaten in conjunction with other sources. But it doesn’t have to be boring.
There are many ways in which you can enjoy spinach, without it tasting as bad as we all remember from childhood. Or at least that’s what we like to remember.
Are there other nutrients in spinach?
Yes, there most certainly are. Eating spinach as a raw food, you will benefit from its low fat content and high iron content. Eating a serving of spinach has around 0.9mg of iron. This alone makes up for around 10% of your daily intake requirements, depending on your age, gender and activity level.
Included in spinach, is also an essential mineral called potassium. There is admittedly small amounts of this trace mineral, but it is effective for heart health. Fibre is also found in spinach and that is good for a healthy digestive system. As bodybuilders with a high protein diet will know, fibre is important.
Ideas for using spinach in your diet
While cooking it is better in terms of increasing the protein amount per serving, there are other great ways to enjoy spinach. The taste differs when eating it raw, compared to eating it cooked. Eating spinach raw is great on a salad.
A normal green salad mixes and tastes well with baby spinach. As the leaves are small on baby spinach, they blend in nicely and are not over powering in taste.
Spinach can be frozen and still retain its goodness and nutritional values. With this ability, spinach can be used in pastries, soups, stews and various pasta dishes. Spinach can also be cooked very quickly and the preparation time for it doesn’t take very long at all.
So, the take away from this article, should be that the protein in spinach is useful, but not enough for the daily protein intake. Make sure you add other sources of protein to your diet for maximum effect.