It is believed that spinach is originated in the Middle East (Persia). It was introduced in Europe lately when the Moors settled in Spain. In France, spinach has long been neglected for a long time, until its nutritional properties were discovered.Indeed, spinach has many nutritional qualities. Firstly this leafy vegetable is extremely rich in minerals and antioxidant vitamins. 100 g spinach provide 529 mg potassium, 100 mg calcium, 58 mg magnesium, 2.7 mg iron (unfortunately poorly bioavailable), zinc, copper, 50 mg of vitamin C, B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B9) and pro vitamin A.

Nutritional information

As the majority of leafy vegetables, spinach provides very few calories (18 kcal per 100 g when eaten plain) and satisfactory amounts of fibers. Eating a serving of spinach stimulates intestinal transit and helps "cleaning" the stomach. Cooking spinach makes available large amounts of antioxidants as lutein, zeaxanthin and carotenoids. Numerous studies have shown that these antioxidants were of preventive interest for eye health: lutein and zeaxanthin help to fight against AMD (age-related macular degeneration) (1) (2) (3). In addition, antioxidants are usually known for their protective qualities: they are involved in cardiovascular protection, they help prevent the emergence of some inflammatory diseases and cancers.

Grown almost all year in France (from different regions), the best times to eat spinach are from April to June and from September to November. Nature is well made: it is at the changes of season that is super vegetable is available to stimulate digestion and elimination while recharging the body with essential micronutrients! Prefer organic spinach, as far as they are often treated significantly.

How to store and taste spinach ?

Choose spinach that has vibrant deep green leaves and stems with no signs of yellowing. The leaves should look fresh and tender, and not be wilted or bruised. Do not wash spinach before storing to avoid spoilage. Place spinach in a plastic storage bag and wrap the bag tightly, squeezing out as much of the air as possible. Place in refrigerator where it will keep fresh for up to 2 days. Spinach salad is perfect with duck breast, fresh sliced figs, blue cheese, pin nuts. Spinach are traditionally cooked with butter and cream, in gratins, pies, lasagnas or in soup (such as watercress). In Oriental, Indian or African cuisine, it is cooked with spices (curry), tomatoes, lentils, etc. Think of the exotic recipes to vary your menus ! Off season, it is easy to eat frozen spinach you will cook to your taste.

Références : (1) Ribaya-Mercado JD, Blumberg JB. Lutein and zeaxanthin and their potential roles in disease prevention. J Am Coll Nutr 2004 December;23(6 Suppl):567S-87S. (2) Bone RA, Landrum JT, et al. Analysis of the macular pigment by HPLC: retinal distribution and age study. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1988 June;29(6):843-9. (3). Ma L, Lin X-M. Effects of lutein and zeaxanthin on aspects of eye health. J Sci Food Agric. 2010 Jan 15;90(1):2-12.

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