Let’s take a look at the nutritional benefits of fresh, frozen, and cooked spinach.
Fresh, Raw Spinach
One cup of fresh, raw spinach offers 56% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A, a nutrient absolutely essential for the retina to be able to process low-light and colors. In addition to being a good source of vitamin A, fresh, raw spinach is also a great source of niacin, zinc, dietary fiber, protein, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. All of these nutritional benefits make raw spinach a great addition to your diet.
When spinach isn't in season, you can buy frozen spinach. In terms of nutritional value, it's a close second to fresh spinach. Spinach does lose water-soluble nutrients when it is blanched or steamed pr
ior to being frozen, but after that, the flash freeze locks in the remaining nutrients, which are usually at their peak in frozen spinach. This is because vegetables destined for the freezer are picked at the peak of ripeness (and nutritional value) and then frozen. Vegetables destined for the produce aisle are often picked before they are ripe, in expectation that they will finish ripening on the way to your local grocery store.
Experts agree that to get the most nutritional value from your vegetables, you should eat them at the peak of freshness, but they don't have to be raw. In fact, studies have shown that raw isn't always better, at least in terms of nutritional value.
While cooking vegetables can cause them to lose some of their water soluble nutrients, cooking also helps vegetables supply more antioxidants to the body. Spinach is one vegetable whose nutritional value can be increased by steaming or boiling, so if you like boiled or steamed spinach, don't worry, doing so won't ruin its nutritional value.
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