Author: Francesca - Mr Lee's Team
One of the healthiest eating habits you can adopt is to include more plant-based foods into your diet. Nowadays, with so many processed foods in supermarket aisles, eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruit as part of an overall balanced diet and active lifestyle is extremely important. There are many varieties of vegetables available, and spinach is undeniably a premium choice to incorporate into your diet.
We asked Nutritional Therapist, Lucy Baldwin, all about the benefits of these dark leafy greens.
Why is spinach a superfood?
Packed with antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, spinach is a fabulous go-to if you are looking to reduce your oxidative stress in the body and boost your immune system as well as nourish your nervous system. Spinach fuels your body with an abundance of plant compounds all existing together in beautiful synergy and we all know what happened to Popeye when he had a few cans of spinach…
What is spinach good for?
The list is endless! Where to begin?
- Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients packed with high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron and calcium.
- Spinach also boasts many plant compounds that can improve health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- This wealth of combined nutrients all aids in reducing inflammation, promoting eye health, fighting cancer and regulating blood pressure.
- It is also high in insoluble fibre which is beneficial for digestion.
However, it is important to note that due to its high content of vitamin K, which plays an important role in blood clotting, those taking blood thinning medication such as warfarin should always consult their doctor before eating large amounts of spinach. In addition, due to its high content of oxalate, people who are at risk of kidney stones should limit their intake.
How do I incorporate more spinach into my meals?
Spinach is an extremely versatile ingredient when it comes to cooking because you can eat it raw, steamed, boiled or fried. Add it into salads, stews or soups, incorporate it into your pasta or rice sauce, include it in a wrap or sandwich, or in a spinach omelette. Play around and experiment! If you have some left over and don’t want to waste food, it always makes a fabulous healthy addition to your home-made smoothies.
Check out our Executive Chef's spinach salad with toasted pine nuts and an Asian-inspired dressing which is perfect for summer BBQs.
If you are pressed for time to prepare lunchtime meals, then Mr Lee's mouth-watering Tai Chi Chicken or Zen Garden Vegetable noodles include spinach mixed with real pieces of chicken, broccoli florets and ginger all in a warming chicken broth.
How to get children to eat more spinach?
In the short-term you can disguise spinach in foods you know your child likes to eat, for example, you could include pureed spinach in pasta sauce, soups or smoothies. However, your child learns about food choices from you, so the best way to encourage your child to eat more vegetables is to let your child see you eating and enjoying yourself. It’s normal for children to say they don't like a particular vegetable but try offering small amounts with another healthy food that your child likes. Some children need to try a food up to 10 times before they accept it, and another 10 times before they decide they like it! Finally get your child involved in cooking with you, they will enjoy washing and tossing spinach leaves, make it fun and engaging and educate them about where food comes from as this will help to connect them with what they eat.
So what are you waiting for? Start making a conscious effort to add spinach to your shopping list and enjoy! You can start by trying our Tai Chi Chicken and Zen Garden Vegetables rice noodles, available on Ocado and our online store.