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Health Benefits of Spinach or Palak

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Latin Name: Spinacea Oleracea.

Every one of us knows about Popeye, the cartoon character, who was famous for reaching for a can of spinach, whenever he needed strength. That spinach improves muscle power has been confirmed by researchers, at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. This strength increasing property is due to the inorganic nitrate in it and not its iron content, as was originally believed.
Spinach is digestive and cooling. Cooking spinach does not destroy its beneficial properties. Spinach with crisp and fresh-looking leaves have a higher concentration of vitamin C than the one with pale leaves.


Spinach is grown in Europe, USA and Asia. In India, it has been grown since ancient times. It can be grown in all soils except sandy soil. The plant is about 1 foot in height. The stem is conical and soft with smooth, thick and dark green leaves. In moderate climates, spinach can be grown year-round.

General Information About Spinach

It is always better to dip spinach in hot water before using to remove any soil, dirt or bugs that might be clinging to the leaves. Spinach has oxalic acid in it. Boil spinach for 1 minute to let the oxalic acid run into the water. Spinach is wind causing when cooked. Hence do not eat it cooked in the rainy season.

Nutritional Information

Spinach contains vitamins A, B, C, E and K. It also contains protein, sodium, calcium, phosphorus and iron. It has a long list of amino acids which it contains and 1 cup of spinach provides 6 gms of protein. It has a good amount of vitamin A and K.

Because of the amino acid profile of spinach, it should be mixed with lentils to compensate the amino acid deficiency of lentils.

Spinach has a unique mixture of phytonutrients, flavonoids like methylene dioxyflavonol, glucuronides and carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin as well as neoxanthin and violaxanthin.

How To Consume Spinach

Spinach can be consumed in various ways. As a juice or smoothie, stir-fried, made into a flatbread, chips or cooked as a

In India, we usually use it as a stuffing in parathas or cook it as a vegetable to make various dishes as shown in the videos here.

You may be surprised to know that cooked spinach is better than raw spinach in two ways.

  1. The oxalic in spinach is broken down upon heating making it safer for people who have to avoid spinach because of stone problems.
  2. The breaking down of oxalic acid increases the absorption of calcium and iron by our body as it is not bound by it. Other vitamins and minerals like Vit A and E, protein, fibre, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron become more absorbable as also beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Some Amazing Nutrition Facts

The Pros

  • Low in saturated fat
  • No cholesterol
  • Very high in calcium
  • Very high in dietary fibre
  • Very high in iron
  • Very high in manganese
  • Very high in magnesium
  • High in niacin
  • Very high in phosphorus
  • Very high in potassium
  • Very high in riboflavin
  • Very high in thiamin
  • Very high in vitamin A
  • Very high in vitamin B6
  • Very high in vitamin C
  • High in zinc

The Cons

High in sodium. Just one...

Nutritional Levels In Spinach

 Spinach (Spinacia oleracea), raw,


Nutritive value per 100 g.



(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)



Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA


23 Kcal



3.63 g



2.86 g


Total Fat

0.39 g



0 mg


Dietary Fiber

2.2 g






194 mcg



0.724 mg


Pantothenic acid

0.065 mg



0.195 mg



0.189 mg



0.078 mg


Vitamin A

9377 IU


Vitamin C

28.1 mg


Vitamin E

2.03 mg


Vitamin K

482.9 mcg






79 mg



558 mg






99 mg



0.130 mg



2.71 mg



79 mg



0.897 mg



0.53 mg






5626 mcg



0 mcg



12198 mcg





Health Benefits of Spinach

Spinach acts as a cleanser and nutrient source for the entire digestive tract- the stomach and the small and large intestines.

Raw spinach juice contains all types of cleansing ingredients. Spinach seeds are cooling and are beneficial in liver diseases, jaundice and remove heat from the body. They are beneficial in cough and respiratory diseases too. When the seeds are crushed a thick oil is got. This oil is beneficial in worms and urinary diseases.
Spinach boosts the immune system because of the high levels of vitamins and antioxidants in it. The phytonutrients in spinach give it an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefit.
Spinach is helpful in preventing heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems because of the niacin and selenium, the heart-friendly minerals in it.
It is beneficial in Alzheimer's disease, senile dementia and memory loss due to ageing.

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Practical Applications of Spinach in Disease

Spinach can be used in a variety of health issues, some of which are:

In Swelling of Lungs, Cough and Burning Sensation in Throat

Gargle with spinach juice to get relief.

In Blood Disorders and Dry Skin

Eat cooked spinach.

In Low Hemoglobin Levels

Add 2 tsp honey to 1/2 glass of spinach juice and take for 2 months to raise haemoglobin levels.

In Anaemia

Spinach is very helpful to combat anaemia. Drinking 125 ml spinach juice(1/2 a glass) three times a day removes all blood disorders and gives energy and strength to the body. It also brings a glow to the face and improves complexion if taken regularly since it purifies the blood.

In Pyrrohoea

Spinach juice strengthens the teeth and gums. Those suffering from pyorrhoea should chew raw spinach leaves before eating them.
Drinking spinach juice on empty stomach in the morning relieves pyorrhoea too.
If carrot juice is added to spinach juice it stops bleeding from the gums.

Diseases of The Digestive System

Drinking 1/2 a glass of spinach juice corrects constipation in a few days. In intestinal disturbances, eating cooked spinach is beneficial.
Eating cooked spinach in good quantity for a few days, every day is beneficial in diseases of the stomach. Spinach juice is beneficial in intestinal wounds too.
The fibre in spinach is digestion supportive.

In Increased Frequency of Urination

Eating cooked spinach in the evening reduces the frequency of going to the bathroom at night.

In Throat Pain

Boil spinach leaves. Remove the water and squeeze the leaves too. Gargle with this hot water for relieving throat pain.


Spinach might cause some unwanted allergic reactions like stomach upsets, itching or hives. Watch out for allergic reactions and if you are allergic to spinach stop eating it immediately to stay safe.

People with gout should not eat spinach as the purines in spinach could increase uric acid in the body.

People with kidney and gall bladder problems should not eat spinach as it might aggravate their conditions as spinach contains good amounts of oxalates which could crystallise when their concentration is high in the body.

Some of my other hubs on Healthy Foods


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or embarking on a new health regime.

Dal Palak Recipe

Spinach (Palak) Raita

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2011 Rajan Singh Jolly


Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 23, 2013:

Lisa, good to know you use spinach in a variety of ways. Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate your comments.

Lisa Brown from Michigan on March 23, 2013:


I never knew spinach contained protein, I eat it almost every day. I put it in egg scraambles, on sandwiches, in salads and I eat is just plain all alone.

Thank you as always,


Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 26, 2013:

Hi Aufait,

We get a lot of spinach here in the local market during the winter and it is a great vegetable to make a variety of dishes. I love to have it in yogurt. I'm glad you too like this and consume it in a variety of ways. Thanks for stopping by.

C E Clark from North Texas on January 21, 2013:

Spinach is another of my favorite vegetables. I love it cooked or raw in salads, and on pizza too. Your recipe for cream of spinach soup looks yummy. Of course the dip is always good . . .

Voted up and useful!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 17, 2012:

whatsiasface, to clarify the points raised by you, I wrote

1. " cooking does not destroy its beneficial properties" is connected to the previous sentence "spinach is digestive and cooling". I am referring to these beneficial properties.

Another benefit is that the oxalates are broken down.

2. As per Ayurveda, vayu(air) increases in the body during the rainy season. Since spinach has a tendency to promote this, it should not be consumed during this season to avoid the ill effects of excess air formation in the body. These effects are increase in joint pains, digestion issues, headaches, insomnia, depression, dizziness and confusion.

I hope I have been able to clarify these 2 questions.

Thanks for taking time to read the write ups so thoroughly. I'm honored to be answering these questions.

My writings are ayurveda and yoga based mainly so I guess I should be putting a small statement to that effect right at the top of the hub. Thanks for the suggestion.

I appreciate your visit and thorough read.

whatsisface on July 17, 2012:

okay now i viewed your profile i realize that you are in yoga pranayama and so the statement:

"Spinach is wind causing when cooked. Hence do not eat it cooked in the rainy season." advice of yogic(vedic also?) science info. I would recommend you might better have stated this in a specific yoga sub heading to avoid confusion..Im sure im not the only one who could get confused..i thought you were referring to gastric discomfort, and had no idea its relation to the rainy season.

Whatsisface on July 17, 2012:

I appreciate the comprehensive detail of your hub, sir but please clarify some points i did not understand for future readers. Bear in mind i came hear in google searching some info regarding what i noticed some sites suggesting that cooked spinach has MORE b6 concentration "than raw. I'm wondering how cooking something particularly spinach can INCREASE its b6 concentration compared to raw.

"Spinach is wind causing when cooked. Hence do not eat it cooked in the rainy season." what the halo does this statement mean, sir? Is this a superstition of some kind?

also how does cooking spinach do nothing to reduce its benefits? cooking kills anything..please be specific with statement like this..does it stoically retain its nutrients despite any amount of cook heating? or are you saying that if only cooked for a minute.or saying it still has many benefits even after cooking out some nutrition?

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 07, 2012:

Marisa, thanks for your kind words and the read. I hope you do like the recipe. It's always a pleasure to have you here. Thank you.

Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on March 06, 2012:

Hi Rajan! I have always liked spinach. I enjoy it raw as well as steamed or sautéed. It is definitely a nutritious addition to our diets. I'm currently exploring different methods of adding spinach to my meals. I'm always on the prowl for a new recipe. The cream of spinach soup in the video sounds tempting. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. As always, another informative and interesting hub.

Voted up

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on November 29, 2011:

Hi Ruchira,

Thanks for the read and comments and for voting up the write up.

It is always a pleasure to get comments from you.

Ruchira from United States on November 29, 2011:

Hello Rajan,

AS usual you continue to marvel me with your bucket full of information regarding these wonderful gifts nature has to offer.

Voted up as useful indeed!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on November 26, 2011:

@ Dexter, nice to see you here. I think as we get older our thinking changes and we seem to like some things we hated as children. Anyway, thanks a lot for reading and appreciating and of course voting it up, up and away...I really love your style of saying this.

@ jenubouka, so glad to see you here too. I'm pleased when I get comments that the hub has been informative, makes the effort worthwhile. Really appreciate your feedback. Thanks for voting it up too.

jenubouka on November 26, 2011:

Wow this is a thorough and informative hub rich in facts and remedies. Voted up all the way!

Dexter Yarbrough from United States on November 26, 2011:

Hi Rajan! When I was a young boy, I absolutely hated spinach. As an adult, I really love it. I wonder if there is any truth that tastebuds change as we get older.

In any event, thanks for providing this great information. Voted up, up and away!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on November 26, 2011:

@ WD Curry, thanks for the read and I'm glad that it provided you with new info. Thanks for appreciating the work.

@ Kawaljit, you are right. It's always better to give a boil for a minute and drain this water.

Thanks for your support as always.

Kawaljit kaur from JALANDHAR, Punjab (India) on November 25, 2011:

Rajan jolly ji

you mean that we must give a little boil and drain out water containing oxalic acid and then cook it further? Thanks a lot again. voted up.Really useful.


WD Curry 111 from Space Coast on November 25, 2011:

Rajan, Thanks for the breakdown. Now I know the details about all of the spinach we've been growing. It does best in the fall in Florida. Keep up the good work, brother.

By the way, I never realized there were so many varieties until this year.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on November 25, 2011:

That,s great ,Vinaya. Thanks for being here.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on November 25, 2011:

Wow, what a coincidence I just had rice with spinach.

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