Spinach 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Image chosen by Nicole Porlier, Culinary Nutrition Expert
Written by Kris Gunnars , BSc, on October 3, 2015

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable. Scientifically known as as Spinacia oleracea, spinach belongs to the amaranth family and is related to beets and quinoa.

Spinach originated in Persia, but is now produced mostly in the US and China.

It is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, and considered to be very healthy.

Eating spinach may benefit eye health, reduce oxidative stress, help prevent cancer and reduce blood pressure levels

There are many ways to prepare spinach. You can buy it canned or fresh, and then eat it cooked or raw. It is delicious either on its own or in other dishes.

Vitamins and Minerals

Spinach is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A: Spinach is high in carotenoids, which the body can turn into vitamin A (3).
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that promotes skin health and immune function.
  • Vitamin K1: Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting, and one spinach leaf contains over half of your daily need.
  • Folic acid: Also known as folate, or vitamin B9. It is essential for normal cellular function and tissue growth, and is very important for pregnant women.
  • Iron: Spinach is an excellent source of this essential mineral. Iron helps create hemoglobin, which brings oxygen to the body’s tissues.
  • Calcium: Calcium is essential for bone health. This mineral is also a crucial signalling molecule for the nervous system, heart and muscles

Spinach also contains several other vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B6, B9 and E.

Bottom Line: Spinach is an extremely nutrient-rich vegetable. It contains high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron and calcium.

 

 

Red Peppers have more Vitamin C than Oranges

Did you know Red Peppers have more Vitamin C than Oranges?!


Foods With More Vitamin C Than Oranges title: A cup of chopped red bell pepper contains nearly three times more vitamin C than an orange—190 mg. Red peppers are also a great source of vitamin A, which promotes eye health.

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/12-foods-vitamin-oranges/story?id=20729780

Vitamins & Minerals

  • Vitamin C:One medium-sized red bell pepper contains 169% of the RDA for vitamin C, making it one of the richest dietary sources of this essential nutrient.
  • Vitamin B6:Pyridoxine is the most common type of vitamin B6, which is a family of nutrients that are important for the formation of red blood cells.
  • Vitamin K1:A form of vitamin K, also known as phylloquinone. It is important for blood clotting and bone health.
  • Potassium:An essential mineral that may improve heart health if consumed in adequate amounts (2).
  • Folate: Also known as folic acid, folacin, or vitamin B9, folate has a variety of functions in the body. Adequate folate intake is very important during pregnancy (3).
  • Vitamin E:A powerful antioxidant, essential for healthy nerves and muscles. The best dietary sources of this fat-soluble vitamin are oils, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.
  • Vitamin A:Red bell peppers are high in pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene), which is converted into vitamin A in the body (4).

Bottom Line:Bell peppers are very high in vitamin C, and one bell pepper may provide up to 169% of the RDA. Other vitamins and minerals found in bell peppers include vitamin K1, vitamin E, vitamin A, folate, and potassium.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/bell-peppers#section3

Sesame Crusted Tofu served with Bok Choy and Quinoa

Sesame Crusted Tofu served with Bok Choy and Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 oz) block of extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons Coconut aminos sauce
  • 1-inch piece ginger, grated
  • 4 tablespoons chickpea flour or any bean flour
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 8 baby Bok Choy
  • 1 cup red and white Quinoa

Method:

  1. To drain the tofu, put it on a paper towel-lined plate; cover it with another paper towel, and then a tray. Weigh the tray down with a heavy object (such as a large can of tomatoes or beans) and let it drain for 30 minutes.
  2. To make the marinade, whisk together 1 tablespoon of oil (reserving the other 1 tablespoon of oil for cooking later), the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Cut the tofu in half so you have 2 blocks, then slice each block cross-wise into 6 equal slabs; put the sliced tofu in the marinade and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Combine the flour and sesame seeds in a shallow dish; dredge both sides of each tofu piece in this mixture. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add the tofu and fry until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
  4. Steam Bok Choy
  5. Drizzle a little bit of Coconut aminos (instead of soy sauce)
  6. Cook Quinoa as per package

Enjoy!

We recommend having a chilled glass of Off dry Gewürtztraminer-Riesling

Stir Fry Veggies and Chicken and Kale Fusilli Pasta

Stir Fried Veggies and Chicken with Green Peas and Kale Fusilli Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 portobello mushroom
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 5 sundried tomato
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 red pepper
  • fresh basil
  • 1 mango
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2 cups GF Kale and Pea fusillli

Method:

  1. chop the onion
  2. cut up all veggies
  3. Cut asparagus up to the part that gets thicker and discard ends
  4. slice mango in strips
  5. heat oil in frying pan
  6. Add onion until fragrant
  7. Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes stirring them in with onion
  8. Add chopped basil
  9. Add remaining vegetables except asparagus
  10. cover on low heat until vegetables are cooked
  11. Cook chicken breasts
  12. once cooked slice cjicken in strips
  13. Add asparagus and sliced mango and cashews
  14. Boil water for pasta and follow package instructions
  15. Add chicken to stir-fry and serve over pasta

We recommend a dry Riesling from either California or Washington state with this healthy dish!
Enjoy!

Dairy-Free Creme Brulee

by Nicole Porlier, Culinary Nutrition Expert

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk (put cans in fridge overnight) liquid removed)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ice wine
  • 2/3 cup of coconut sugar + more for topping
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 quarts of hot water

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut cream. It’s okay if a tiny bit of the liquid gets into the pan but for the most part, you ONLY want the cream and not any of the liquid at the bottom of the can.
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract and icewine and heat the pan over medium until it just starts to simmer. Once simmering, take off of heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes.
  4. When the coconut cream mixture is nearly ready, cream together the egg yolks and the sugar using a stand mixer or hand mixer. Whisk until the yolks start to get lighter in color and the mixture is a bit fluffy.
  5. While whisking, pour the coconut cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Prepare your baking tray by placing a couple paper towels into the bottom a baking tray with high sides (I used a 13×9 pan and it was great). This will prevent your ramekins from slipping while you carry the tray.
  7. Place four ramekins into the baking tray and pour the crème brulee mixture evenly into the four ramekins.
  8. Take your hot water and pour it into the tray so it fills it up HALF WAY up the side of the ramekins. The water helps the crème brulee to cook more evenly.
  9. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. They’re done once the top is solid but STILL has a good little bit of a jiggle to it, kind of like pudding.
  10. Once out of the oven, let cool enough so that you can touch the ramekins with your hands. Place in the fridge for AT LEAST 3 hours but preferably over night. (they can sit in the fridge for up to 2 days).
  11. When ready to serve, take out of the fridge and pour about 1-2 tablespoons onto the top of each crème brulee. Using a kitchen torch, torch the tops of each ramekin so that the sugar is fully crystalized and it has a nice deep golden brown color.
  12. Serve immediately

We recommend a nice cold glass of Ice wine to pair with this delicious desert!  Enjoy!