What is Spinach? I’m pretty sure you all know what spinach is but I’m going to spend a lot of time on the benefits and some cautions against it. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with spinach. So, I’m going to jump right into it with this one.
What is spinach? It’s a leafy green vegetable. Did you know that it originated in Persia? It belongs to the ‘amaranth’ family and it’s related to beets and quinoa (so that’s why there’s a little bit of protein in it as well). It’s also loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.
What’s more is that it’s considered to be very healthy. It’s shown to benefit ‘eye health’, reduce oxidative stress, help prevent cancer, reduce blood pressure levels, and if you’re old school and you’ve watched ‘Popeye’, you know it gives you muscles to beat up enemies! So, it’s got a lot of great benefits in it.
A couple of key minerals: iron, manganese, calcium, zinc and magnesium. All very important but I’m going to specifically touch on magnesium and zinc. I’ve touched on this in the previous couple of coaching sessions.
Magnesium and Zinc really help with recovery. As you crush your workouts and as you are working out regularly, you need to make sure that you prioritize recovery as well because that’s how you’re going to build muscle. Magnesium and zinc specifically help you do that. Magnesium helps you relax and zinc is a very important mineral for muscle growth and testosterone production. Spinach has these minerals to make sure you have enough in your body.
Spinach is also packed with vitamins E, A, C, K, Folate, Thiamine (B1), Pyridoxine (B6), Riboflavin (B2). I’m going to touch on thiamine and riboflavin. They both help with metabolism which is important for fat loss. Having enough B1(thiamine) in your diet basically enables your body to use carbohydrates as energy. If you lack B1, you’re not going to be able to utilize all those carbs that you eat and exchange it into energy. That’s why B1 is important.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) helps break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates and use them as energy.The B vitamins are super important! You’ll hear a lot of people talk about supplementing B vitamins but guess what? You can get a ton of them from spinach.
Spinach is also super high in fiber. If you need something to help you with digestion, spinach is really good for that. It’s also high-volume and super low in calories. It’s a super food that you should be incorporating into your diet plan regularly.
There are cautions about Spinach. Caution number one is that Spinach is high in oxalates. Oxalate compounds are found in a lot of foods. It’s also a waste product that the body creates when it digests certain foods and it usually comes out as urine. But if the oxalate levels are too high in your body, they will bind to calcium and that’s what makes kidney stones.
When preparing spinach, make sure to reduce oxalates. One of the things you need to do is to lightly steam it or even add things like lemon juice to also get rid of some of the oxalates. It will bring down the oxalate levels and decrease the risk of getting kidney stones.
Now, the other caution is vitamin K1. Spinach is high in that, which is a good thing. K1 specifically helps you with blood clotting. If you’re taking medication which has blood thinning properties, it will affect that. So make sure you check in with your doctor before introducing spinach into your diet.
Lastly, bacteria. Spinach, like a lot of leafy greens, have suffered a lot of E.coli outbreaks. Even more so than meat! So you have to be careful with it and you have to clean it. A lot of the spinach packages always come in and say ‘pre-washed’ but take the opportunity to soak it in a little bit of vinegar and wash them prior to eating. This helps decrease the chances of any E. coli or any salmonella issues that you could get in spinach. These are just some cautions.
Now, how much do you eat? If you’ve seen our meal plan, you know that we always like one portion of veggies with every single meal. You can have spinach in every single meal, at least one serving of veggies a day. I like to mix it up to have variety but at least one serving of spinach a day is fine. It’s really helpful for you and you’re going to get all those benefits of all those vitamins and minerals in your diet.
A couple of things to go over spinach: it’s an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, make sure you’re getting this in your diet. At least, get a fistful per day to get enough veggies in your diet. Avoid, if you have a history of kidney stones or are using blood thinning medication.
Spinach is a superfood I’m sure you all know about, but do you know WHY? Join me to learn:
🔥 WHY spinach can help you BURN more fat
🤦♂️What you have to be careful of if you eat too much
👍How to prepare your spinach the RIGHT way
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