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March 26, 2019 by Dr. Kyle Varner in Ketogenic Diet , Uncategorized

March 26 is National Spinach Day! While in practice I celebrate this with every other meal, I can’t think of a better time to extol the virtues of this amazing vegetable.

Simply put, spinach is one of the best vegetables on the planet. In fact, it made the number one spot on my list of the top vegetables to eat on keto.

There’s a reason why Popeye consumes it by the can. Your forearms won’t grow to freakish proportions (something he REALLY needs to see a doctor about), but it’s one of the most unsung superfoods of our time.

Spinach has quite possibly the best carb-to-nutrient ratios of any vegetables. Three grams of net carbs per cooked cup is fantastic when you consider it’s loaded with: vitamin A, C and E, niacin, riboflavin, potassium, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium, iron, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Wow!

There’s a bit of a debate when it comes to raw vs. cooked spinach. If you’re looking to make it even lighter, eat it raw as there are almost no digestible carbs.

But when it comes to nutrients you need, cooked vs. raw becomes more important. Raw spinach contains something called oxalic acid.

This binds to some micronutrients like calcium and iron, which means your body can’t absorb them. On the other hand, you can absorb certain nutrients more when it’s cooked.

Eat raw spinach if you need more:

  • Vitamin C
  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Potassium

Eat cooked spinach if you need more:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Zinc
  • Thiamin
  • Calcium
  • Iron

If you’re into gardening, spinach should be the first vegetable you plant. It’s highly nutritious, and you can grow it as soon as the spring soil comes.

What’s even better is there are a million and one ways to enjoy spinach both raw and cooked, you just have to be a little creative…  

1. Keto cream spinach

Keto Cream Spinach

If there’s one thing that makes spinach better, it’s cream. Cheese and spinach is everything you need for a delicious keto snack.

2. Cream cheese spinach-stuffed chicken

Cream cheese spinach stuffed chicken

Why not boost up the previous recipe by adding some chicken? It’s a lean and clean source of protein and can provide some bulk to turn cheesy spinach into a full meal.

3. Mini spinach meatloves

Mini spinach meatloaves

If you want a protein filled mini-snack to eat on the go, look no further than these tiny meatloaves. They’re like savory cupcakes!

4. Ham and spinach mini quiches

Ham and spinach mini quiches

Quiches are a delicious savory dish, but they’re usually packed with pastry. Cut the crust and enjoy them without all those carbs.

5. Spinach almond stir-fry

Spinach almond stir fry

Ground almonds are a great substitute for flour, but their use doesn’t stop there. Mix them with spinach for more texture and flavor!

6. Spinach and pancetta sauté

Spinach and pancetta sauté

Pancetta is a great keto meat. It’s full of fatty oil, to the point where you don’t even need to add any when you cook! Add it with the king of vegetables for a great side dish.

7. Asian meatballs with dipping sauce

Asian meatballs with dipping sauce

If Italian cuisine isn’t your thing, why not look east? Spinach goes very well with these Asian meatballs, and you can even use the sauce for fish too!

8. Miso soup and shrimp with spinach

Miso soup with shrimp and spinach

Broth is a great food for both keto and intermittent fasting, so why not add spinach into the mix? You can add whatever meat you want, and have delicious soup.

9. Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

People often tout this as an entire replacement for food, but it’s not quite that. However, it is an incredibly healthy drink to replace all of the processed garbage that people say is a water alternative.

10. Flatbread

Keto Spinach Flatbread

Pizza is one of those foods you don’t really have to give up when you go keto. Whether you use cauliflower for a base or almond flour like in this recipe, you can enjoy bread alternatives for days. Add spinach into the mix and you’ve got yourself a great dish.

11. Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Zucchini is another great vegetable, so why not use it like a tortilla to hold beef, mushrooms and a bunch of vegetables for a nutrient-dense bite?

Conclusion

Spinach is the king of vegetables. It has practically zero carbs and is packed full of nearly every vitamin and mineral you need. You can incorporate it into a wide variety of dishes and grow it just as easily.

What did you think of spinach before? Do you prefer spinach raw or cooked? Have you tried planting your own? Let us know in the comments below.

This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.

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