What child naturally likes spinach? Probably none. The low fat epidemic caused by the government guidelines, is making it difficult to make vegetables palatable. Traditionally vegetables were served in butter and cream sauces to give flavor. There was a great deal of wisdom here because the fat is necessary for the absorption of all the vitamins and minerals in the vegetables. I have discovered that children love vegetables, including spinach when they are smothered in butter and salt.
Spinach has traditionally been served in a cream sauce. What to do if you are dairy free? That’s easy, use ghee and coconut cream and you will have a delicious dish that will compare very well to any recipe make with milk or dairy cream.
Since Popeye, spinach has always been viewed as a very healthy food, which it is. However, it is also high in oxalates which may be problematic for the people who form calcium oxalate stones in the kidney as well as people with inflammatory bowel diseases. Oxalates are also a source of trouble for some children, particularly those with learning disorders or those who are on the spectrum.
Oxalates bind with calcium and may crystallize. The crystals formed can be quite irritating and painful to tissues where they cause or increase inflammation. These crystals can be especially painful if they lodge themselves in places where they get in the way of the movement of other things through tight places.
Typically, most of the oxalate from the diet is not absorbed, because it will be metabolized by the gut flora or it will be eliminated through the stool. However, when there is inflammation in the gut, a lot of dietary oxalate is absorbed. There can be as much as 50% of the oxalate content of the food absorbed in these cases.
Many find relief in following a low oxalate diet. In these cases, spinach is best avoided entirely. Cooking may reduce some of the oxalates, but not a significant amount. Other leafy green vegetables may be substituted instead. For instance, kale is lower in oxalates.
For more information about oxalates click here.
Spinach is a good source of niacin, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese. As you can see, it has a lot of nutrients.
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