Remember Popeye? He knew a thing or two about spinach and here’s why. Low in calories, low in fat, spinach is packed with zinc, protein, fibre, iron, and calcium. Not to mention pigments, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. In fact, spinach is one of the best body fuels money can buy. And the list of benefits is as big as his biceps after a couple of tins of the green stuff.

spinach improves eyesight

Spinach leaves are a rich source of several vital antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as antioxidants like beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. This powerful combination of compounds contribute to healthy eyes, especially worth noting if you suffer from itchy or dry eyes or eye ulcers.

SPINACH strengthens muscles

It may not give your muscles an instant bulge like our cartoon sailor friend, but research from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute has shown that spinach really does help to build strong muscles. We’ve always been told to eat our vegetables and now we know why.

SPINACH increases your metabolism

High in pretty much anything that’s good for you, this leafy green superfood is also rich in fibre – making it a great metabolism booster that can increase your fat burn by 30%. Spinach also contains iron, which helps your body to absorb all the vitamins and minerals you need to stay happy and healthy.  

SPINACH contributes to healthy skin

Think how much people spend on creams and lotions and potions to keep their skin soft and healthy looking. Well we’re not saying throw them in the bin and sleep with a spinach mask. (Is there such a thing? If not, we claim the copyright.) But leafy greens like spinach are loaded with nutrients that can play a big part in improving the complexion, repairing the growth of skin cells, slowing the ageing process, even relieving acne.

SPINACH helps keep your hair looking good

It’s the same thing when it comes to your hair. Spinach supplies the right kinds of nutrients and antioxidants to make you look like an ad for shampoo. All that iron helps red blood cells to transport oxygen to the hair follicles – essential for hair growth and reducing the number of broken ends.

SPINACH reduces inflammation

Spinach contains more than a dozen anti-inflammatory elements, including the two key compounds neoxanthin and violaxanthin. They not only help to reduce inflammatory conditions like arthritis, but also protect the heart from dangerous inflammation and diseases such as osteoporosis, migraine headaches and asthma.

Spinach-based recipes (the stuff Popeye’s dreams are made of)

So don’t just look on spinach as a damp looking side dish. This vitamin-packed versatile bit of veg is quickly becoming the number one ingredient in healthy drinks and smoothies. Fancy giving it a go? Here we are a few ideas.

 

Spinach Banana Pumpkin Smoothie

Get all this together:

  • 1 ice cream scoop of organic pumpkin puree (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 2 mashed small to medium-sized organic bananas
  • 1 lovely big handful of organic spinach
  • 1 to 2 dates (depends on how sweet you want it)
  • 120 ml unsweetened vanilla or plain almond milk
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • A handful or two of ice

Now what?

  • Place pumpkin, bananas, spinach, date(s), unsweetened almond milk, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a blender.
  • Blend on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Add ice and finish blending.

Spinach Feta Wrap

This is what you need:

  • 1 7-inch whole-wheat tortilla
  • 25 grams sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 450 grams fresh spinach
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg white, lightly whisked
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled low-fat feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

Over to you:

  • Place the tortilla on a microwave-safe plate and heat on high for one minute.
  • Sauté the mushrooms and pepper for two minutes.
  • Stir in the spinach and sauté for another couple of minutes until they wilt.
  • Add the eggs and cook, stirring often until they are set.
  • Place the egg scramble in the centre of the tortilla, then top it with the crumbled feta and sun-dried tomatoes. To wrap, fold up one end, then both sides. Serve immediately or wrap in foil and take it somewhere nice.

The Classic Spinach Salad

Clear the worktop and put all this out:

  • 100g chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 pound sliced bacon
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 80ml cooking oil
  • 2/3 pound sliced boneless chicken breast
  • A generous handful of spinach, stems removed, leaves washed
  • 1 small red onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tart apple such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Now get ready to impress:

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Toast the walnuts until golden brown and let cool.
  • In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until crisp, drain on kitchen paper and then crumble.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with mustard, salt and pepper and finally the oil.
  • In a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the dressing with the chicken. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so the chicken absorbs the dressing.
  • Add the walnuts, bacon, spinach, onion, apple and remaining dressing and toss.

Health Benefits of Spinach

From spinach to spinning

This advertorial on behalf of the National Association for the Promotion of Spinach was brought to you by E². Whether you want to build muscles like Popeye or stay as slim as Olive Oil, find your Fitness on Demand. Download the free app today.

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