Spinach is a stand-out vegetable that is considered a superfood because it is chock full of powerful, cancer-fighting antioxidants and a long list of vitamins and minerals.
Popeye was certainly onto something as countless studies show regular spinach consumption is linked with bone and heart health, among a number of other benefits like healthy skin and hair.
Spinach can be easily incorporated into any meal plan. Not only is it inexpensive and simple to prepare, but it is also low in carbs and calories. Keep reading to find out how this green, leafy vegetable can be incorporated into your low carb diet and how it can positively impact your health.
Is Spinach Keto Friendly?
Along with other leafy greens, spinach is a non-starchy veggie that is low in sugar and carbs, making it a perfect addition to the Keto Diet.
Furthermore, spinach is one of the best sources of dietary potassium and magnesium, two important electrolytes that help combat the dreaded Keto flu. For these reasons, spinach is a stand-out vegetable for low carb diets, like Keto.
How Many Carbs are in Spinach?
A 100 gram serving of Spinach contains only 3.6 grams of carbs. A 100-gram serving equals about 3 and 1/3 cups of raw or ½ cup of cooked spinach, which contains about the same amount of carbs.
How Many Calories are in Spinach?
A 100 gram serving of cooked spinach contains only 23 calories. A full cup of raw spinach contains only 7 calories. Creamed spinach and spinach salads containing cheese and dressing can significantly increase the calorie content. Steamed spinach is a lower calories method of preparation. You can also add a handful of spinach to your smoothies to boost nutrients.
|Serving Size: 100 grams of Spinach|
|Total Fat 0.4 grams||1 %|
|Saturated Fat 0.1 grams||0 %|
|Sodium 79 milligrams||3 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 3.6 grams||1 %|
|Dietary Fiber 2.2 grams||8 %|
|Sugar 0.4 grams|
|Protein 2.9 grams||6 %|
Spinach is beneficial for maintaining strong bones, as well as helping with digestion, lowering the risk for heart disease and improving blood glucose control in diabetics. Spinach has anti-cancer properties and is also associated with a lower risk of anemia and asthma. This leafy green veggie also helps maintain eye-health along with healthy skin and hair.
Packed with Nutrients
Spinach provides an exceptionally high amount of potassium, about 839 milligrams per cup, which is almost twice the amount in a banana. Spinach is also a good source of plant-based iron. This leafy, green veggie is a great source of calcium, vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate copper, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamins B1, B2 and B6,. It also provides a good dose of choline, phosphorus and zinc.
Builds Strong Bones
The University of Maryland Medical Center extensively studied the link between vitamin K and bone health over two decades. It was determined that vitamin K is a vitally important nutrient that maintains the health of bones as it works along with vitamin D to increase bone density. Vitamin K also helps balance calcium in the body and may reduce the rate of bone fractures.
Spinach is an excellent source of plant-based iron, providing 36% of your daily needs per serving. Iron is important for your blood to produce hemoglobin, a blood protein that oxygenates the organs. Consuming iron-rich foods is important can prevent and treat iron deficiency.
Maintains Heart Health
Regular consumption of potassium-rich foods is linked with a reduced risk of stroke and widens the blood vessels to lower blood pressure. These effects are attributed to a reduced risk of death from heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.
Spinach contains a number of important cancer-fighting phytonutrients. It is rich in the antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin, neoxanthin and violaxanthin. All of these have anti-inflammatory properties which lower your risk of developing cancer.
Spinach also contains concentrated amounts of chlorophyll, which also has anti-cancer properties. A review of anti-cancer diet research published in Nutrition Journal found that chlorophyll helps expel hydrophobic molecules that are linked with cancer.
Spinach is rich in beta-carotene which lowers the risk of developing asthma and reduces the symptoms in asthma sufferers. A study from the Annals of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology found that participants with asthma did not display symptoms during intense exercise when consuming 64 milligrams of beta-carotene over a one-week period.
Spinach contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are linked to the prevention of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. The Scripps Research Institute found that those who ate spinach 3 times weekly had a 43% lower risk of developing these conditions.
Spinach is generally safe in normal food amounts. Increasing your consumption of spinach suddenly could be harmful if you are prescribed blood thinners such as Warfarin, as the vitamin K is spinach has blood coagulation effects.
Spinach is also linked to high levels of pesticides. Organic spinach is a better option and be sure to wash it thoroughly before eating.
Individuals with kidney disease should avoid consuming too much potassium as it could result in high potassium levels in the blood, which can be dangerous or fatal for those with kidney problems.
How to Add More Spinach into your Low Carb Diet
- Incorporate spinach into your zucchini lasagna or other low carb pasta dishes.
- Boost the nutrients in your soups, stews, or casseroles by throwing a handful or two into your dishes. (There’s no need to steam it beforehand, it will wilt down during the cooking process.)
- Sautee spinach in a tablespoon of olive oil and season with butter, salt and pepper and serve alongside chicken or fish.
- Add spinach to your burgers, sandwiches and wraps instead of iceberg lettuce to boost nutrients of your lunch.
- Use raw spinach as a base for salads.
- Add spinach to an egg omelet or scramble for a nutrient-packed breakfast.
- Throw a handful of spinach into a smoothie or green juice for an energy boost and a daily dose of vitamins.
Is Spinach Good for Weight Loss?
Spinach may help you in your weight loss journey because it is low in calories and packed with goodness. It is full of satiating fiber along with a long list of vitamins and minerals, which can help fight the battle of the bulge. Spinach is a vegetable that has a high water content, which is also linked to weight loss.
Low vitamin C levels in the bloodstream have been shown to correlate with increased body fat and waist circumference. Dark leafy green veggies like spinach are ideal for weight loss because of their high vitamin C content, which assists weight loss.
Is Spinach Good for Skin & Hair?
The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University claims that vitamin A has anti-aging benefits on the skin.
Additionally, vitamin C rejuvenates the skin and helps in wound healing. Spinach provides a good dose of this vitamin to build and maintain collagen, which provides structure and elasticity to skin and hair.
Is Spinach Helpful for Diabetics?
Yes, spinach is a great food choice for diabetic individuals to add to their meal plan.
Alpha-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant in spinach that is linked with lower blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity. It also reduces peripheral neuropathy or numbness in the extremities in diabetics.
Is Spinach Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?
Folic Acid or folate is crucial for expectant mothers as it can help prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida. The Centers for Disease Control recommends supplementing with 400 micrograms of folic acid for pregnant women.
Although supplements are recommended, eating spinach can also help increase your folate intake, providing 66% of your daily needs per cup (cooked).