Popeye was a huge fan of spinach for good reason. Spinach is low in calories and fat-free, yet loaded with nutrients. Baby spinach is regular spinach that is harvested earlier, which makes the leaves small and more tender. The nutritional information is the same for mature and baby spinach. Baby spinach is extremely versatile and can be enjoyed many ways. To reap the benefits of this super food, include more baby spinach in your diet.
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A 1-cup serving of raw baby spinach contains just 7 calories, is fat free and contains 1 gram of filling fiber. You may also enjoy your spinach cooked. A 1/2-cup serving of cooked spinach contains 20 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. In addition, baby spinach is loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Baby spinach is high in vitamin A, vitamin K and folate. One cup of raw spinach provides more than the daily value for vitamin K, which is important for proper blood clotting. Likewise, that same serving contains more than 50 percent of the daily value of vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary for healthy vision, immune function, and skin and bone health. A 1-cup serving also contains 15 percent of the daily value of folate. Folate is a vitamin that is especially important for woman of childbearing age, because it helps to prevent neural tube defects in developing babies.
Meeting Your Minerals Needs
As for minerals, baby spinach is a moderate source of potassium, copper, iron and magnesium. A 1-cup serving of raw spinach provides you with 4 percent of the daily value for potassium and 8 percent of the daily value for magnesium. In addition, a serving of baby spinach contains 5 percent of the daily value of iron. Iron is essential because it is part of all cells and is responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body's organs and tissues.
Enjoying Baby Spinach
Baby spinach is a tender leafy green, so it is especially tasty when served raw in a salad. Pair spinach with fruits, such as strawberries; other vegetables, such as roasted butternut squash; or grilled chicken. Add it to dishes to provide color, texture and flavor. Toss handfuls of baby spinach into soups, stir-fries, egg dishes or pasta to increase the health benefits of those dishes.