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Why Spinach is Good for You

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Updated April 25, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Spinach is a dark green leafy vegetable that is rich in minerals and vitamins. It's a good source of calcium, which is needed for strong bones and teeth, and normal muscle and nerve function.

Spinach also is a good source of iron, magnesium and potassium, while being low in sodium.

Spinach contains several vitamins -- folate, vitamin C and vitamin K. It also has carotenoids, such as beta carotene, which your body uses to form vitamin A. It's also rich in lutein, which is an antioxidant that may help to protect you from age-related macular degeneration, the major cause of blindness in the elderly.

Serving Spinach

You'll find fresh raw spinach in the produce section of your grocery store, usually near the other leafy greens. Cooked and canned spinach is available in the canned vegetable aisle, and the freezer section will have frozen cooked spinach. Raw spinach works well as greens for salads (be sure to wash raw spinach, even when you buy it "pre-washed" and bagged), or you can cook the spinach and use it as a side dish. Frozen and canned spinach can be heated and served or be used as ingredients in a variety of dishes.

Nutrition Information

One cup of raw spinach leaves has 30 milligrams calcium, 24 milligrams magnesium, 167 milligrams potassium, 8.4 milligrams vitamin C, 58 micrograms folate, 2813 International Units vitamin A and 145 micrograms vitamin K. That same cup of raw spinach leaves has only seven calories.

Sources:

National Eye Institute. "Age-Related Eye Disease Study-Results." Access April 19, 2011. http://www.nei.nih.gov/amd/.

United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. "Spinach, raw." Accessed April 20, 2011. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/.

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