Popeye was right! Why spinach is the nutrient powerhouse you need on your plate

Rich in nutrients, spinach is particularly good for you. Here’s why you need to eat more of this versatile veg. Plus: Deliciously easy spinach-based recipes to make at home.

It seems Popeye the Sailor Man was right all along – eating spinach is really good for you.

This dark leafy green packs a nutritious punch.

It is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre, and is known to provide plenty of health-boosting benefits.

Thought to be native to ancient Persia, spinach was a favourite of Catherine de’ Medici, Queen of France in the 16th century, who ate it at every meal.

While you may not want to eat it quite as often as she did, this veg is so versatile it’s easy to up your intake.

Why you need to eat more spinach

It’s rich in antioxidants

“Spinach has got vitamins C and E … those lovely antioxidants and immune-supporting nutrients,” The House of Wellness nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin says.

It also contains alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to help lower blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity.

It’s packed with potassium

Half a cup of cooked spinach provides up to 400mg of potassium, a vital mineral that your body needs to maintain normal blood pressure, and support healthy nerve and muscle function.

It’s high in magnesium

Zoe says your new favourite leafy green vegetable has high amounts of magnesium – one cup of boiled spinach provides 157mg.

This key nutrient is important for heart health and maintaining healthy bones, and helps prevent migraine.

It helps prevent cancer

Spinach contains carotenoids and chlorophyll, which have been shown to help lower the risk of cancer.

A recent study by Texas A&M University found eating spinach may prevent colon cancer by increasing gut microbiome diversity.

It can reduce unhealthy food cravings

Often crave junk food? Here’s another good reason to add spinach to your plate.

A Swedish study shows this nutrient powerhouse also has properties that can significantly reduce hunger and cravings for “palatable foods” – sweet, salty and sweet-and-fat snacks.

To cook or not to cook spinach?

Research shows eating uncooked chopped spinach ensures you get the highest amounts of lutein – an antioxidant that supports eye health.

But cooking it may increase some of its other health benefits.

Why? Spinach contains oxalic acid, which can block the absorption of minerals but breaks down at high temperatures.

“Whenever you’re cooking something like spinach, it’s always good to cook it in a lipid like an olive oil,” Zoe says.

She says some of the nutrients are water-soluble and can be reduced during cooking, unless you use a quality oil to encapsulate them.

Easy ways to enjoy spinach

  • Blend spinach and water, and freeze into ice cubes to whizz up in smoothies.
  • Add spinach ice cubes to soup, stews and sauces during cooking.
  • Add a handful of raw baby spinach leaves to salads or sandwiches.
  • Top your favourite pizza with baby spinach.
  • Include spinach in frittatas and risottos.
  • Try spinach in bread, banana muffins or vegetable cakes.

“It’s not a very dominant palate, so it’s easy to mix (spinach) into sweets to bump up that fibre,” Zoe says.

Delicious spinach recipes to try

Low-carb spinach quiche

Indulge in the goodness of a scrumptious, protein-packed quiche with a low-carb twist. The goodness of spinach and ricotta combine to create an easy, nutritious and delicious lunch option.

Low-carb spinach quiche

Spinach, radicchio and fig salad

Nature’s palette on a plate, this stunning medley of vibrant greens combined with the subtle sweetness of figs is quick and easy to create for a beautifully nutritious busy-day meal.

Spinach, radicchio and fig salad


Cream cheese and spinach fritters with salmon cream

Easy to whip up, this mouthwatering breakfast delight is a delectable stack of iron and protein-rich goodness guaranteed to satisfy your hunger and become your new brekkie go-to.

Cream cheese and spinach fritters

Green shakshuka with spinach

Add some Middle Eastern flair to your breakfast with this deliciously nourishing vegetarian shakshuka. Bursting with nutrients and enriched with antioxidants, it’s a great way to start the day.

green shakshuka with spinach

Spinach muffins with cheese and avocado dip

Whether you’re on the move or preparing lunchboxes, these kid-friendly muffins offer a delicious way to enjoy a dose of nutritious goodness.

spinach muffins

Broccoli, kale and spinach kataifi pie

Inspired by the popular Greek dish spanakopita, this delectable pie blends iron-rich greens and cheese under a layer of buttered kataifi pastry.

spinach pie

Written by Kasey Markovic and Monique Gill.