leafy green spinach
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a member of the Chenopodiaceae family along with beets and Swiss chard. The three types of spinach are: savory, crinkled leaf, and plain leaf.

sources at bottom of page

Nutrition

Spinach is packed with vitamins and minerals. It is especially rich in iron, with each 1 cup serving providing 36% of recommended daily allowance. Raw spinach contains oxalates that may limit the body’s ability to absorb minerals. Oxalates are reduced when spinach is cooked, but so are some vitamins.   Spinach is a great source of potassium, which 98% of US adults were found to lack in sufficient quantities. Along with many other nutrients, spinach also provides an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, magnesium, zinc, dietary fiber, phosphorus, and beneficial plant compounds.

FAT
There is little or no fat in spinach
FIBER
Spinach is high in insoluble fiber content
ANTI-OXIDANTS
Spinach is full of antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, neoxanthin and violaxanthin which also have anti-inflammatory properties. Spinach also contains powerful antioxidants like alpha-lipoic acid and chlorophyll.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
Along with the anti-inflammatory antioxidants already mentioned, spinach is one of the best sources of quercetin that is also known to reduce inflammation and prevent infection.
BLOOD
The high iron content in spinach aids hemoglobin production which allows blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Iron also prevents anemia, which is common in women.. Spinach cooked in water reduces the oxalates in spinach so the body can absorb the minerals more easily. The vitamin C and vitamin K aids blood clotting to help wounds heal.
ANTI-CANCER
Spinach is rich with cancer fighting phytonutrients, antioxidants, and flavonoids. The chlorophyll in spinach has powerful anti-carcinogenic and anti-cancer properties. The leaves of spinach have compounds that reduce tumor risk. The carotenoids in spinach have been found to be effective against prostate, breast, and other cancers. The flavonoids in spinach help prevent ovarian cancer.
HEART
Potassium in spinach is effective at improving circulation, lowering blood pressure and reducing stroke risk. Vitamin K helps blood clotting. (Vitamin K may also counter blood thinner medication).
VISION
Vitamin A is a component of rhodopsin, a protein that absorbs light to aid vision and prevent age-related eye degeneration and cataracts. Spinach has antioxidants such as Zeaxanthin. Like lutein, zeaxanthin can also improve eye health.
DIGESTION
The high content of insoluble fiber in spinach aids digestion by helping food flow through the digestive system easily.
WEIGHT LOSS
Spinach is a nutrient rich, low calorie food that aids digestion and promotes a feeling of fullness.
SKIN AND HAIR
The vitamin A gained from consuming spinach helps produce sebum, a nutrient that moisturizes hair. Vitamin A also helps aid the body to create tissue. Spinach also helps prevent hair loss due iron deficiency.
BONE
Spinach provides a source of potassium, calcium, and vitamin K that helps promote bone density, prevents fractures, and reduces bone degeneration.
ASTHMA AND ALLERGY
Spinach is rich with beta-carotene and magnesium that help to promote healthy immune function and reduce the symptoms of allergies and asthma.
DIABETES
The antioxidants in spinach such as alpha-lipoic acid, help to lower blood sugar and increase insulin to reduce the risk of diabetes. These nutrients aid digestion and promote weight loss to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Where is Spinach Grown

AROUND THE WORLD
Spinach is believed to have originated in Persia and found its way to China sometime after 600A.D. and then reached Europe by the 13th century.

In 2018, world production of spinach was 26.3 million tonnes

China is the top producer of spinach, responsible for 90% of the world supply.

Top producers in order by (millions of tonnes) are China (23.8), United States (0.38), Japan (0.23), and Turkey (0.23)

IN THE U.S.
In 2018, the US was the 2nd largest producer of spinach contributing 3% of the world supply.

Four states dominate 98% of US domestic spinach production with approximately 70% grown in California and the rest coming from Arizona, New Jersey and Texas.

China exports most of their spinach to the US which accounts for 15% of total US spinach imports

In Season

Spinach can be purchased year round as fresh, frozen or canned.

Spinach is a cool weather crop, normally planted about 4-6 weeks before the last frost of spring and 6-8weeks before the last frost of fall and harvested  60-80days after planting.

Spinach can be grown indoors under LED lights year round.

 

Economic Impact

AROUND THE WORLD
Spinach is a multi-million dollar industry that supports jobs all over the world.

Spinach derivatives, such as extracts, pasta, and powder, also have grown in popularity on the world health market.

IN THE U.S.
In 2016, The US sold 5.57 million pounds of fresh spinach and 78,450 tons of frozen and canned.

The total value of US spinach harvest in 2016 was $10.79 million for all spinach, with $281.8 million sold fresh.

The US is the largest exporter of spinach with the majority sent to Canada.

Environmental Impact

Spinach is a relatively fast-growing plant that can be cultivated in cooler temperatures. Spinach crops can sequester carbon from the atmosphere and support micro-organisms in the soil.

Spinach typically requires nutrient rich, healthy soil to grow successfully. The amount of spinach that can be grown per acre depends on soil quality, irrigation method and weather conditions. It also matters whether it is harvested by being clipped or bunched. The average yield in the US was 15,000 pounds per acre for fresh and processed spinach in 2016.  There has not been evidence of excessive deforestation to grow spinach, because it has been typically produced in the same places for many years without slash and burn farming practices.

Spinach can be grown indoors in hoop houses under natural light or in buildings under LED lights which can open opportunities for urban farming. This may allow cultivation to be adaptable to climate change.

WATER USE
Spinach requires significant irrigation for pre-plant, soil preparation and post plant, seed sprouting. It then requires regular irrigation to grow, depending on weather and climate. Commercially grown spinach is usually irrigated by sprinklers. Regenerative agriculture and organic farming techniques can maintain soil moisture to reduce irrigation needs.
PESTICIDES AND HERBICIDES
Insect and plant disease can severely damage spinach crops. Commercially grown spinach ranks number seven on the Environmental Working Group’s 2015 Dirty Dozen list because of excessive exposure pesticides. Less toxic pest control can be done with hydrogen peroxide and regenerative farming.
FERTILIZER
Commercial spinach is regularly fertilized leading to possibilities of air pollution and point source pollution. Organics spinach farms use natural manure from chicken waste.and compost

Social Impact

Spinach is labor intensive due to weed management, harvest handling, packaging and transport.  This provides employment opportunities for many communities. It also opens possibilities for abuse.  Fair Trade certifications help to protect workers.

Spinach can be grown on a small scale and provide food security and help with food equity.

 

Food Safety

Spinach does not have much natural protection. There are multiple possibilities for germs and pathogens to contaminate spinach from all the processes from farming, harvesting, packaging, transporting, and storage.  Food safety protocols to clean, chill and separate are important to limit leafy green exposure,  Special attention needs to be taken to keep leafy greens away from animals and animal feces. In some countries, spinach is packaged in bags filled with nitrogen gas in order to protect it and conserve it’s freshness. Thoroughly rinsing fresh produce under running water  helps to remove most germs and dirt.  The FDA does not recommend using detergent or vegetable wash.  Triple wash labels are used to show safety protocols have been used.

 


Spinach Nutrition Facts Infographic

Avocado Nutrition Facts
[click to enlarge]


5 FACTS ABOUT SPINACH

5 FACTS ABOUT SPINACH NUTRITION

  • Top nutrient-rich food list of George Mateljan Foundation
  • 37% more potassium than bananas
  • 30% more iron than beef
  • 36% daily iron in 1 cooked cup
  • 340% of your vitamin K, 35% manganese, 25% of vitamin C in 3cups
National Organization for Women’s Health, WorldAtlas.com,LiveScience.com, VeryWellFit.com

5 FACTS ABOUT SPINACH PREP

  • Commonly served fresh, steamed, boiled, or sauteed
  • Some vitamin C and B vitamins are lost when cooking spinach
  • Only about 10% of iron and calcium are absorbed from raw spinach
  • Cooking with oil helps with mineral absorption
  • Eating some meals with raw and some meals with cooked spinach might be the best way to get the most nutrition
VeryWellFit,com, LiveScience.com, Healthline,com

5 FACTS ABOUT SPINACH ORIGINS

  • The English referred to it as the “Spanish vegetable” because it came through Spain via the Moors.
  • Botanists can trace the first culinary use of spinach back to ancient Persia
  • Catherine de Medici, the Italian wife of France’s Henry II had personal cooks prepare if for her
  • World War I, wine spinach juice was given to French soldiers treat hemorrhaging
  • Oldest record in medical writing from the Mediterannean by al-Rāzī in 10th century
BBC Good food, WorldAtlas.com,Filaha Texts Project,GardeningKnowHow.com
 



 

 

SOURCES

Nutrition

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/729422/nutrients
https://www.ars.usda.gov/is/np/NutritiveValueofFoods/NutritiveValueofFoods.pdf
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050323124809.htm
(LS) https://www.livescience.com/51324-spinach-nutrition.html
(VW)https://www.verywellfit.com/spinach-nutrition-facts-calories-and-health-benefits-4114717#citation-7
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/spinach#nutrients
https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/world-leaders-in-spinach-production.html
https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/729422/nutrients
https://cals.arizona.edu/fps/sites/cals.arizona.edu.fps/files/cotw/spinach.pdf
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=43#nutritionalprofile

Antioxidants

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26022682/
(VW)https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2018/4069167/
(LS)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11684396/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21384253/
(VW)2-Vitamin A fact sheet for health professionals. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated 2020.

Anti-inflammation

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18417116/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25709776/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15080624/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0753332215000773

Weight gain

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/11/1626
(VW)Nour M, Lutze SA, Grech A, Allman-Farinelli M. The relationship between vegetable intake and weight outcomes: A systematic review of cohort studies. Nutrients. 2018;10(11). doi:10.3390/nu10111626

Blood

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/11458
https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/470008/nutrients
https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/nutrition/
(VW)5-https://jkms.org/DOIx.php?id=10.3346/jkms.2013.28.6.934
(VW)6 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/.
(VW)7-https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminK-HealthProfessional/
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/anemia
=

Anti-Cancer

https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bbb/66/2/66_2_248/_pdf
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2018/4069167/
https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-3-19
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11739884/

Heart

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22019438/
https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Potassium_UCM_306021_Article.jsp
https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/121112p50.shtml
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/issue/172/5

Digestion

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-foods-to-improve-your-digestion
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24876314/
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gut-microbiome-and-health

Weightloss

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/11/1626
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24876314/

Brain

https://www.livescience.com/51324-spinach-nutrition.html
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/spinach

Vision

https://www.scripps.edu/hanneken/macular_degeneration/treatments.html
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12626691/

Skin and Hair

(VW) https://jkms.org/DOIx.php?id=10.3346/jkms.2013.28.6.934

Bone

https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/nutrition/
https://books.google.com/books?id=LhSLKVmauGoC&pg=PA404

Diabetes

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17065669/

Asthma

(VW)8 https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/food-allergies
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10400482/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3269605/

Where Grown

http://www.vegetablefacts.net/vegetable-history/spinach-history/
http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QC
https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/world-leaders-in-spinach-production.html
https://web.extension.illinois.edu/veggies/spinach.cfm
https://www.agmrc.org/commodities-products/vegetables/spinach#:~:text=Four%20states%2C%20California%2C%20Arizona%2C,for%20fresh%20and%20processed%20spinach.
https://usda.library.cornell.edu/

Season

https://www.almanac.com/plant/spinach
http://foodsmartcolorado.colostate.edu/eat-resources/spinach.php
https://bonnieplants.com/how-to-grow/growing-spinach/
https://web.extension.illinois.edu/veggies/spinach.cfm

Environmental Impact

https://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/fvwretail.pdf
https://www.unilever.com/Images/sustainable-spinach-good-agricultural-practice-guidelines–2003_tcm244-409827_en.pdf

Land Use

https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/7212.pdf
https://www.urbanharvest.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/spinach-in-the-houston-area-2014.pdf
https://reeis.usda.gov/web/crisprojectpages/0226261-use-of-hydroponic-and-led-technology-to-grow-high-nutrient-lettuce-spinach-and-arugula-in-a-small-urban-high-density-indoor-farm.html
https://www.agritecture.com/blog/2020/5/29/from-casinos-to-urban-ag-a-hydroponics-farm-growing-spinach-in-singapore

Water

https://www.almanac.com/plant/spinach
https://coststudyfiles.ucdavis.edu/uploads/cs_public/79/02/79023ea8-80a8-4fba-b69e-5d60225dbf8b/2015_organicspinach-finaldraftjan29.pdf
https://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/bitstream/handle/1969.1/165409/1076/Leaf1076.pdf?sequence=4&isAllowed=y
http://www.fao.org/3/s2022e/s2022e02.htm
https://extension.usu.edu/yardandgarden/vegetables/spinach

Pesticides

https://www2.ipm.ucanr.edu/agriculture/spinach/
https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/147260925.pdf
https://www.apnikheti.com/en/pn/agriculture/horticulture/vegetable-crops/spinach#PESTCONTROL
-https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php

Fertilizer

https://www.apnikheti.com/en/pn/agriculture/horticulture/vegetable-crops/spinach#CHEMICALFERTILIZER
https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/147260925.pdf
https://www.almanac.com/plant/spinach
https://www.britannica.com/topic/vegetable-farming
https://coststudyfiles.ucdavis.edu/uploads/cs_public/79/02/79023ea8-80a8-4fba-b69e-5d60225dbf8b/2015_organicspinach-finaldraftjan29.pdf
http://www.fao.org/3/s2022e/s2022e02.htm

Social Impact

https://escholarship.org/content/qt67w2p91c/qt67w2p91c.pdf?t=p1ze07
https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8032.pdf
https://www.noble.org/globalassets/docs/ag/pubs/economics/nf-ae-12-02.pdf

Food Safety

https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/leafy-greens.html
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/01/25/spinach-recall-why-its-vulnerable-salmonella-other-bacteria/2678256002/
https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-voices/fda-outlines-2020-action-plan-help-advance-safety-leafy-greens”>https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-voices/fda-outlines-2020-action-plan-help-advance-safety-leafy-greens
https://extension.umn.edu/preserving-and-preparing/vegetable-blanching-directions-and-times-home-freezer-storage
https://www.foodsafetynews.com/tag/spinach/

 

 

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