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What is spinach?

About the ingredient spinach. Including 909 recipes with spinach, nutrition data, and where to find it.



Spinach  is an edible flowering plant in the family of Amaranthaceae. It is native to central and southwestern Asia.


Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled.

It is a rich source of vitamin A (and especially high in lutein), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Recently, opioid peptides called rubiscolins have also been found in spinach.

Polyglutamyl folate (Vitamin B 9 or folic acid) is a vital constituent of cells and spinach is a good source of folic acid, but boiling spinach can more than halve the level of folate left in the spinach, but microwaving does not affect folate content. 

Vitamin B9 was first isolated from spinach in 1941.


Spinach, along with other green leafy vegetables, is considered to be a rich source of iron. 

The iron in spinach is poorly absorbed by the body unless eaten with vitamin C and calcium. The type of iron found in spinach is non-blood (non-heme), a plant iron, which the body does not absorb as efficiently as blood (heme) iron, found in meat.


Spinach also has a high calcium content. However, the oxalate content in spinach also binds with calcium, decreasing its absorption. Calcium and zinc also limit iron absorption. The calcium in spinach is the least bioavailable of calcium sources. By way of comparison, the body can absorb about half of the calcium present in broccoli, yet only around 5% of the calcium in spinach. Oxalate is one of a number of factors that can contribute to gout and kidney stones.

Types of Spinach

Savoy  has dark green, crinkly and curly leaves. It is the type sold in fresh bunches in most supermarkets. One heirloom variety of savoy is Bloomsdale, which is somewhat resistant to bolting.

Flat/smooth leaf spinach  has broad smooth leaves that are easier to clean than savoy. This type is often grown for canned and frozen spinach, as well as soups, baby foods, and processed foods.

Semi-savoy  is a hybrid variety with slightly crinkled leaves. It has the same texture as savoy, but it is not as difficult to clean. It is grown for both fresh market and processing. Five Star is a widely grown variety and has good resistance to running up to seed.


Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 cup (30g)
Amount per Serving
Calories 6Calories from Fat 1
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 0.1g 0%
Saturated Fat 0.0g 0%
Trans Fat ~
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 23mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 1.1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Sugars 0.1
Protein 0.9g
Vitamin A 56% Vitamin C 14%
Calcium 3% Iron 5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your caloric needs.

Where found

Spinach is usually found in the produce section or aisle of the grocery store or supermarket.

Food group

Spinach is a member of the Vegetables and Vegetable Products US Department of Agriculture nutritional food group.

How much does spinach weigh?

Measure Grams
1 cup 30
1 bunch 340
1 leaf 10
1 package (10 oz) 284

In Chinese:菠菜
British (UK) term: Spinach
en français:les épinards
en español:espinacas

Recipes using spinach

There are 909 recipes that contain this ingredient.

All 909 recipes


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