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Spinach

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Spinach Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 91.4 g
Calories: 23 kcal
Protein: 2.9 g
Carbohydrate: 3.6 g
Dietary fiber: 2.2 g
Sugars: 0.4 g
Fat: 0.4 g
Saturated fat: 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.2 g
Vitamin C: 28.1 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.7 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B9: 194 μg
Vitamin A: 469 μg
Vitamin E: 2 mg
Vitamin K: 482.9 μg
Calcium: 99 mg
Iron: 2.7 mg
Magnesium: 79 mg
Phosphorus: 49 mg
Potassium: 558 mg
Sodium: 79 mg
Zinc: 0.5 mg

The mighty spinach has long been renowned as a health food: it gave Popeye his strength, and has been a staple of part of what is considered a healthy diet for a while now.

There is one main reason for this: the astounding nutrient density of spinach. Although in recent years it may have been replaced by kale as the ‘healthiest’ of the leafy greens, spinach has its own distinct benefits and its own distinct taste.

Many of you will know spinach as a staple of salads, but with a mild flavour and little of the bitterness associated with other healthy green vegetables, it is wasted as mere salad dressing. With fantastic nutrient density and potent anti-cancer benefits, spinach is a great food to add to any healthy diet.

It is one of the few foods that may realistically have a claim on being the most nutrient dense. 100g contains just 23 calories, but for those few calories spinach packs a huge micronutrient punch. 100g contains 460% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin K, 187% DV of vitamin A, 46% DV of vitamin C, 19% DV of magnesium, and 15% DV of iron.

This is an enormous amount of nutrition for just 23 calories! And, of course, that’s great for your health. Vitamin K is essential to blood clotting and bone health, vitamin A for eye health, vitamin C and magnesium for your cardiovascular system, and iron to prevent drowsiness.

Iron deficiency is fairly common, so the iron present in spinach is significant, and as an added plus, vitamin C assists in iron absorption, ensuring that all those nutrients directly benefit your health.

In addition to its astonishing richness of nutrients, spinach also has some profound health benefits. Firstly, it has perhaps the highest concentration of chlorophyll of any food; all green leafy vegetables have a significant amount of chlorophyll, and will benefit your health, but spinach is the best of the bunch.

In fact, spinach is so high in chlorophyll that it’s green colour masks the distinct orange colour of beta-carotene, found in large amounts in spinach.

But why is chlorophyll important? Well, in broad terms, it has a number of anti-cancer properties. To begin with, it may protect from a number of ‘genotoxic’ compounds (substances that damage the genetic information of a cell and may lead to mutations, and possibly cancer), meaning it protects from cancer-causing compounds.

Also, chlorophyll has a strong effect on tumour cell growth, and may be a powerful compound when it comes to cancer prevention. Studies on specific cancers are far from complete, but there is a suggestion that chlorophyll may reduce the risk of liver cancer.

In addition, studies on spinach have shown a reduced risk of breast cancer, although that study was examining the effects of vitamin A.