Nutrition facts and recipes from one of nature's best superfoods.
Spinach Nutrients - Part Two
(The mineral/element content of any plant product is dependent on the presence of such minerals in the soil in which it is grown. Soils lacking in individual minerals will produce fruits or vegetables that are also deficient in that mineral. Accordingly, the mineral composition of spinach will vary widely depending on the conditions of the soils in which it is grown. Ideally, seek spinach grown in enhanced organic soils to ensure maximum mineral content.)
Calcium - Although abundant in spinach, the calcium story is one of the few "negatives" for this dark green leafy vegetable. The calcium within spinach is not well absorbed by the human body. Spinach contains an "antinutrient" called oxalate that binds to calcium and prevents its absorption in the human body. The ratio of calcium to oxalate found in spinach prevents the absorption of around 95% of the calcium within the spinach, allowing only around 5% to be absorbed and be useful as a nutrient. (Oxalates are common in many vegetable products, though play a much worse role in some. Soy, for example, is so heavy in oxalate content that it not only prevents calcium absorption from the soy itself, it seeks out calcium in the human cellular structure, binds to it and depletes the body of existing calcium reserves. This can result in many calcium deficiency diseases and the lumps of coagulated, oxalate-bound calcium are a common cause of kidney stones. Why ever Soy is considered a "health food" is hard to fathom, short of commercial interests.)
Copper - Spinach is a moderate source of this essential trace mineral. Copper is a co-factor with enzymes involved with skin and hair colour and condition. It plays a role in brain nerve function, blood formation, bone strength and resistance to disease.
Iron - Spinach is one of the best plant sources of this essential trace mineral. Iron is a major component of red blood cells and serves to transport oxygen to cells and for muscle development. Iron is also essential for developing resistance to infection.
Magnesium - Spinach is a moderate source of this essential nutrient mineral. Magnesium assists various B group vitamins in their function. It is essential for energy production and cell replication, maintenance and repair, is a co-factor for many hormones and is essential for nerve impulse transmission. It is also one of the bone compound minerals.
Manganese - Spinach is a moderate plant source of manganese and a superior source than animal or fish derived food. Manganese helps to maintain a healthy nervous system and a deficiency is well noted in numerous mental illnesses. Human enzymes require manganese for proper function, as does the thyroid and female sex hormones. Manganese is one of the range of minerals necessary for strong and healthy bones and assists vitamins B, C & E fulfill their functions. It stimulates glycogen storage, synthesises structural body cell proteins and the manufacture of RNA & DNA.
Phosphorus - Spinach is a moderate plant source of this essential mineral. It is an important structural component of bones and teeth, is necessary for the metabolism of sugars for energy, it activates the B group vitamins, aids calcium absorption and is a cofactor for numerous enzymes, and it's alkaline nature reduces blood acidity levels.
Potassium - Spinach is a moderate source of dietary potassium - a very major mineral in the human body. Our daily requirements of potassium are roughly equal to our requirement for calcium. Potassium helps maintain water balance within the body, preserves the acid-alkalie balance within the body, assists nerve impulse transmission (in conjunction with sodium), stablises the internal structure of human cells, plays an important function in heart and other muscle composition and strength.
Selenium - Selenium is one of the most important and at the same time most deficient trace minerals in the modern human diet. Soil quality is the major factor. Given the right soils, Spinach provides some, albeit small levels, of selenium. Selenium acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. assists in preventing cancers, promotes male sex hormone production, preserves normal liver function, works synergistically with iodine to boost thyroid function, maintains healthy eyes, hair and skin
Sodium - Sodium is readily found in every food product and even moreso in processed foods. The health issue we face is one of excessive sodium, rather than a lack of it as is the case with many other minerals. The real health story in relation to Spinach is that it is low in sodium - a desirable trait given the excessive intakes in modern diets.
Zinc - Spinach is a moderate plant source of essential dietary zinc. Zinc works synergistically with calcium for the mineralization of bone. It is essential for male sperm production and the metabolic processes of numerous glands. Zinc boosts immune response, regulates insulin activity and optimises liver function including the release of Vitamin A for use throughout the body.
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