Is Cooked Spinach Better than Raw?
Check any list of the most nutritious super foods that should be a part of a healthy diet and you are almost guaranteed to find spinach near the top of that list. With its high levels of iron, fiber, phytochemicals, antioxidants, folate, along with a host of other vitamins and minerals it is no wonder that spinach is consistently recommended as a must-have food item. But while the rich nutritional value of spinach is not a subject of debate, the most advantageous way to eat is sometimes called into questions. On one side raw food devotees will argue it is best eaten in its raw form, while others argue cooking spinach is the optimal way to eat the dark leafy green. So where does the truth actually lie? Read on to find out how to make the most of your daily greens!
Advantages of Cooking Spinach
One of the greatest advantages to cooking spinach is that heat can break down the oxalic acid found in it. Because this acid can block the body’s proper absorption of some nutrients, breaking down this acid through cooking allows the body to better absorb nutrients such as iron. Additionally, cooked spinach has been shown to have higher levels of vitamins A, B6, E, and K. Its levels of zinc, iron, calcium, lutein, and beta carotene are also higher than those in raw spinach. It should be noted that cooking methods for spinach matter. To optimize nutrients, do not overcook the leaves and use health cooking fats such as extra virgin olive oil or raw coconut oil. Finally, because the water is cooked out of spinach it is easier to eat more in a single serving.
Advantages of Eating Spinach Raw
Just as cooked spinach boasts nutritional advantages, so does raw spinach. Heat can destroy some nutrients and antioxidants. The vitamin C levels of raw spinach are approximately three times as high as those of cooked spinach. Folate, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium levels are also all higher in raw spinach. Because the water is not cooked out of raw spinach it is also more hydrating than cooked spinach.
The Bottom Line
The macronutrients found in spinach remain the same whether spinach is cooked or raw. Because both cooking spinach and eating it raw provide different advantages when it comes to micronutrients, the best plan of action is to include both cooked and raw spinach as a regular part of your diet. Start off by trying this Mean Green Juice.