Whether you eat it in salad or enjoy it wilted in soups or stir fries, spinach is a nutritious and delicious food. This antioxidant-rich vegetable is full of gut-friendly fiber as well as many important vitamins and minerals. The nutrient-dense quality of spinach can be a healthy addition to any wellness regimen. However, for those with FODMAP intolerances, is spinach safe? Read below to find out if spinach is low FODMAP and how you can safely add it to your healthy eating routine.
Health benefits of spinach
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is full of nutrients needed for optimal health. This veggie is well known for its roughage, or fiber content that benefits digestive health. However, spinach also contains important nutrients like the antioxidants vitamins A and C, as well as iron, magnesium, and folate.
One cup of raw spinach contains about 7 calories, nearly 1 gram of protein, .7 grams fiber, 181-percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin K, and 56-percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for vision and immune health, while vitamin K is vital for blood clotting and in promoting bone health.
The antioxidant properties of spinach are also important for reducing risk of inflammatory conditions. This is because antioxidants like vitamins A and C help fight oxidative stress and reduce inflammation that can lead to increased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Spinach and FODMAPs
The FODMAPs present in spinach all depend on the type of spinach you consume. When it comes to baby spinach, often found in salads, 1.5 cups is the limit for low FODMAP consideration. Any more than this contains levels of fructans that are considered higher FODMAP. However, you may be able to tolerate multiple servings of baby spinach. Therefore, just test it out with one serving first and see how your digestive system responds.
English spinach, the mature form of spinach, differs from baby spinach in its FODMAP content. According to Monash University, raw English spinach is a fully green light vegetable at a 2-cup serving. This means that this form of spinach should be tolerated by most people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and can be eaten freely according to your appetite.
How to add spinach to your eating routine
Spinach is a very versatile vegetable. Although spinach is great in salads, it can be enjoyed cooked as well. In fact, cooked spinach may provide more antioxidant-rich beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Enjoy cooked, or wilted spinach in soups or in stir-fries with low FODMAP seasonings like Lemon Herb seasoning by Casa de Sante.
If you want to squeeze some spinach in your morning meal, there are several options. You can either add spinach to your omelette, or in a smoothie. For your smoothie, a cup of baby spinach goes great with some plant-based milk and a scoop of vegan, low FODMAP protein powder for extra nutrition. You can also enjoy spinach in dinner dishes like this spinach and olive pasta recipe that uses gluten-free pasta and heart healthy olives to make it a low FODMAP and nutrient-dense dish.
Take home message
Spinach is a vegetable that is overflowing with health benefits for all parts of the body. Fortunately, it’s also a low FODMAP vegetable that can be enjoyed by those with digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). So, fill your plate, or blender, with spinach so you can reap the health benefits of this colorful and wonderfully nutritious vegetable. Check out some other low FODMAP vegetables on this convenient, printable shopping list by Casa de Sante.
-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD of LighttrackNutrition.com