Can you eat Raw Spinach?
In this brief article, we will answer the question, “can you eat raw spinach”. We will also discuss the health advantages provided by it along with risks associated as well as how to properly store raw spinach and if the nutritional value of raw spinach changes after cooking.
Can you eat Raw Spinach?
Yes, you can eat spinach raw. Spinach is a versatile vegetable that can be prepared or eaten raw. It can be purchased fresh, frozen, or tinned.
Besides, raw spinach it’s a nutrient-dense vegetable that’s high in fibre and a variety of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (1,2).
How to eat raw spinach?
To safely eat spinach, first choose fresh, green, crisp spinach leaves. After that you must wash them properly under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris. Then you dry the spinach leaves and you can eat them as a standalone salad or incorporate them into various dishes (2).
Below are some ideas that you can utilize to add raw spinach to your diet:
As a kale substitute
You can add spinach instead of kale in your smoothies. It is just as nutritious and can be used for a change of taste.
As a lettuce substitute
You can use raw spinach in green salads instead of lettuce. Both are cruciferous vegetables and go hand in hand when it comes to consuming a nutrient rich salad.
Sprinkle on pizza
Disregard your guilt of consuming pizza by adding spinach leaves on top. Being a vegetable, they not only help with a feeling of satiety, but also add valuable nutrients and minerals to your not-so-healthy diet.
Add in wraps, burgers or sandwiches
Raw spinach can be used instead of lettuce leaves and go perfectly with veg and non-veg burgers, wraps or sandwiches. Among the four lettuce types, it has the most amount of fibers and minerals.
What are the health benefits of eating raw spinach?
Spinach is high in nutrients and has been linked to a variety of health advantages. Spinach is a good source of carotenoids, polyphenols (para-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, ortho- coumaric acid), vitamin A, C, E, K and minerals like Zinc, calcium, potash, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus (1,2).
It has been demonstrated to reduce oxidative stress, improve eye health, and lower blood pressure (1,10,11).
Reduces oxidative stress
Free radicals are metabolic byproducts. They can induce oxidative stress, which speeds up the ageing process and raises your chances of cancer and diabetes.
Spinach, on the other hand, is high in antioxidants, which help to counteract oxidative stress and lessen the harm it causes.
In one study, spinach was found to help reduce oxidative damage in eight healthy persons. Despite the fact that this was a tiny study, the findings were corroborated by additional animal and human studies.
Important for eye health
Spinach is high in zeaxanthin and lutein, which are carotenoids that give some foods their colour.
These pigments are abundant in human eyes, and they protect your eyes from damage caused by sunshine. Furthermore, zeaxanthin and lutein have been shown in multiple studies to help reduce macular degeneration and cataracts, two primary causes of blindness.
These substances may even be able to repair the damage that has already occurred.
Monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) and digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG), two components found in spinach, may help to prevent cancer growth.
These chemicals were found to help reduce tumour growth in the cervix in one research. They also reduced the tumour’s growth.
Helps reduce blood pressure
Blood pressure is a measurement of how high or low Spinach has a lot of nitrates, which have been demonstrated that can help in lowering the blood pressure, as well as, heart diseases are also reduced.
What are the risks of eating raw spinach?
If you take blood thinners like warfarin, it’s critical that you don’t suddenly reduce the amount of vitamin K-rich foods you eat. Spinach is rich in vitamin K, so for those whose kidneys aren’t totally working, consuming too much spinach can be dangerous (2,3).
It could be dangerous if the kidneys are unable to eliminate excess potassium from the blood. It’s critical that persons with kidney difficulties don’t drink too much potassium. Spinach is best ingested as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet (3).
Moreover, it’s important to note that raw spinach can occasionally be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli or Salmonella, which can cause foodborne illnesses. To reduce the risk of contamination, it is recommended to thoroughly wash raw spinach under running water and consume it within a few days of purchase (2,4).
How to properly store raw spinach?
Spinach like other greens leaves should be stored near 0 °C (32 °F) with 95 to 98% relative humidity. Crushed ice can be placed in baskets or boxes to assist keep the temperature low and the relative humidity high. Greens in general may be preserved for around 2 weeks if treated properly (5).
Even if you buy spinach in bags that say it’s prewashed and ready to eat, keep it refrigerated and wash it before consuming it to reduce the danger. Keep raw meat and poultry separate in your refrigerator and avoid chopping spinach on surfaces that have come into contact with them.
Does the nutritional value of raw spinach change after cooking?
Yes. After cooking, fresh spinach’s nutritional value may vary in certain ways. Due to heat exposure and water loss during cooking, several nutrients in spinach may be diminished.
For example, cooking may result in a partial loss of water-soluble vitamins including vitamin C and B vitamins (6). Additionally, spinach’s overall antioxidant level may be lowered by cooking (7).
It’s important to remember that cooking spinach has certain advantages as well. Iron and calcium are two minerals whose bioavailability may be improved by heat, making them easier for the body to absorb. Oxalic acid, a substance that can prevent calcium and iron absorption, can also be broken down by boiling spinach (1,8,9).
In this brief article, we answered the question, “can you eat raw spinach”. We also discussed the health advantages provided by it along with risks associated as well as how to properly store raw spinach and if the nutritional value of raw spinach changes after cooking.
1 .Lasya, C.S. Spinach and its health benefits: A review. The Pharma Innovation Journal, 2022; SP-11(8): 1232-1239.
2. Miano, T.F. Nutritional Value Of Spinacia Oleraecea Spinach-An Overview. Inter J Life Sciences and Review, 2016, 2, 12.
3. Vitamin K. NIH, 2021.
4. What You Need to Know about Foodborne Illnesses. FDA, 2022.
5. The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks. Agricultural Research Service Agriculture, Handbook Number 66, 2016, 353-354.
6. Zeng, C. Effects of different cooking methods on the vitamin C content of selected vegetables. Nutrition & Food Science, 2013, 43, 438-443.
7. Czarnowska-Kujawska, M., et al. Effect of different cooking methods on the folate content, organoleptic and functional properties of broccoli and spinach. LWT, 2022, 167, 15.
8. Wang, Z., et al. Effects of Cooking Conditions on the Relationships Among Oxalate, Nitrate, and Lutein in Spinach. Food Science and Technology Research, 2018, 24 (3), 421, 425.
9. Shimada, Y. The Effect of Soaking on the Soluble Oxalic Acid Content of Spinach. Chugokugakuen J. 2014, 13, 27-31.
10. Rawyler, A., Siegenthaler, P.A. Transversal localization of monogalactosyldiacylglycerol and digalactosyldiacylglycerol in spinach thylakoid membranes. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Biomembranes
1985, 815, 287-298.
11. Gao, Q.M., et al. Mono- and digalactosyldiacylglycerol lipids function nonredundantly to regulate systemic acquired resistance in plants. Cell Rep. 2014,11;9(5):1681-1691.