Yes, it is completely safe to eat spinach raw, especially when you’re eating the younger and milder leaves. It is extremely healthy, and is a great, easy way to get in your daily dose of vegetables.
However, there are a few minor risks you need to be aware of when eating raw spinach. For example, there is the risk that raw spinach leaves can contain oxalic acid, which is a compound that prevents the proper absorption of essential nutrients into the body. Therefore, it can stop you from reaping the benefits of the healthy food you are eating which could, in extreme cases, lead to certain nutrient deficiencies. In general, if you eat spinach cooked then you’ll be better able to absorb the beneficial vitamins and minerals it contains than you would be able to by consuming it when it is raw.
Another risk that has been associated with eating raw spinach is that it can contain E. coli, which can lead to a nasty illness. It can cause you to experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pains. In extreme cases, E. coli infection can even be fatal, which is why it is so important to make sure you are careful when choosing to eat things raw, such as spinach.
How to Avoid Risk?
To eat raw spinach safely there are things you should be doing.
Firstly, It’s important to know how and where you store your spinach. Make sure the bag is sealed, or resealed if you’ve already opened it, and that you keep it in the fridge.
Furthermore, you should always wash spinach before consuming. This was you can make sure you wash away any parasites or pathogens that might be residing on the leaves.
You should also be careful with what you choose to eat spinach with. There are actually certain foods that you shouldn’t eat with spinach. For example, foods that are high in starch such as green bananas, corn and potatoes shouldn’t be mixed with high protein foods such as spinach. The reason for this is because starchy foods require your body to have an alkaline base to digest them properly, whereas proteins (such as spinach) require your body to have a more acidic base, so eating the two together can overwhelm and confuse your digestive system.
How and When to Eat Spinach
The best way you can eat raw spinach is to have it in the form of a salad. So, for example, the spinach leaves can be the main base of the salad, and then you can add things such as cucumber, chicken etc.
Another great idea is to have raw spinach in the form of a smoothie. So, blend it up with some non-starchy fruits, and you will have yourself a tasty, healthy morning or afternoon smoothie!
Whilst it can be argued that cooking spinach will allow more of its nutrients to be available, raw spinach actually contains more potassium and vitamin C.
Vitamin C is one of the essentials for the proper, healthy growth of our bones, cartilage and bodily tissues. It is a vitamin which our body does not naturally produce, and so the only place we can get it from is our diet. That is why spinach, especially when eaten raw, is such a great thing for us to eat because it helps us to get plenty of vitamin C, so we won’t experience any deficiencies.
Potassium is another nutrient that is very important for our body. It helps in ensuring the proper functioning of our body systems, including our nervous system, muscles and even our heartbeat! It also has a role in helping our body to produce protein. Therefore, the fact that spinach is so rich in this mineral will help us to experience a range of great health benefits.
However, if you want to experience the full nutritional benefits of spinach, then it is recommended that you have a mixture of raw and cooked spinach within your diet. This is because, as mentioned, raw spinach has more potassium and vitamin C when raw, although when cooked it has a higher iron content and more of the vitamins that it does contain are accessible. So, both ways of eating spinach bring benefits to your health, so the best thing to do is to try and rotate between eating spinach raw and cooked.
Whilst you can eat spinach any time of the day, a great time to eat it is before bed. This is because spinach contains the nutrient tryptophan, which has properties that help to promote sleep. Furthermore, spinach also contains a lot of vitamin B6 which is able to boost tryptophan and make it better able to carry out its sleep-inducing function.
If you eat spinach every day, you’ll most likely experience weight loss at a faster rate than usual. This is because spinach is rich in insoluble fibre, which is a key factor in weight loss due to the fact that it helps you to feel fuller quicker, therefore helping you to reduce the number of calories you consume.
However, something else that could happen if you eat spinach every day, is you could have some unpleasant side effects. For example, some people who eat too much spinach get kidney stones, abdominal pain and can experience vomiting. Additionally, whilst the property of spinach to lower your blood pressure is a great one, if you eat spinach everyday your blood pressure can end up being lowered too much. If your blood pressure is too low, you can start to feel very weak, fatigued, dizzy and could even end up fainting! Therefore, it’s important that you eat spinach in moderation just like you would with other foods.
Whilst eating raw spinach is perfectly okay and can actually allow you to get more vitamin C and potassium, it is widely seen that cooking spinach will allow you to reap the benefits more, such as those mentioned above. There are also some potential risks that come along with eating raw spinach, however as long as you make sure you purchase your spinach from a reliable source and that you handle and prepare it in a safe, hygienic way you shouldn’t encounter any issues. So, in all, there are benefits to eating spinach both cooked and raw, and which you opt for is completely up to personal preference.