The American Diabetes Association call spinach a superfood because of its low calories and high quality of nutrients. For diabetics and everyone else, adding spinach to your diet once a week helps to promote heart health, vision, skin, immune system, bowel health and cancer prevention.
A cup of cooked spinach contains a whopping 888 micrograms of vitamin K and 18866 IU of vitamin A. This is more than 100% of the daily required value of these vitamins.
Vitamin K is vital for blood clotting and helps to strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin A enhances vision, increases blood cell production and boosts your immune system. Spinach also contains vitamins B2, B6, folic acid and vitamins C and E.
Eating spinach once a week boosts your levels of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, copper and zinc. Just 1 cup of cooked spinach contains 245 milligrams of calcium and 157 milligrams of magnesium – two minerals that are important for heart and bone health. Magnesium also increases insulin sensitivity and helps improve blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Spinach is also a good source of fiber, providing 4.3 grams in a single cup of cooked spinach with only 41 calories. Adding fiber to your diet has a great impact on digestive adn heart health. Fiber helps to prevent constipation, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome. The fiber content of spinach along with other nutrients also helps balance blood sugar levels.
Cooking With Spinach
Spinach is available fresh, frozen and canned. If you are using fresh spinach, be sure to wash it thoroughly with water just before using it. Steam, saute or cook spinach in a microwave or on a stovetop. Stock your freezer with frozen spinach and add it to meals and smoothies.
• American Diabetes Association: Diabetes Superfoods [http://www.diabetes.org/foodand-
• Oregon State University; Micronutrient Information Center: Vitamin A
• Mayo Clinic; Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet
• University of the District of Columbia: Spinach
• USDA: Nutrient Data Library: Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt