Spinach is a nutritious vegetable and is known for its antioxidant properties. But is that antioxidant reaching to you? With the same question in mind the researchers at the Linköping University in Sweden tried out various methods of consuming spinach while retaining the antioxidant lutein. In a previous study these researchers had found that lutein can reduce inflammation of immune cells of patients suffering from artery disease. Moreover, lutein can even get stored in the immune cells thus giving it a boost. So now that we know how important this antioxidant is, let’s find out how to consume it right.
Cooking Spinach Right
“What is unique about this study is that we have used preparation methods that are often used when cooking food at home, and we have compared several temperatures and heating times. We have also investigated methods of preparation in which the spinach is eaten cold, such as in salads and smoothies,” says Lena Jonasson, professor in the Department of Medical and Health Sciences and consultant in cardiology according to Science Daily.
The scientists bought baby spinach and saw levels of lutein while frying, steaming and boiling it up to 90 minutes. It showed that the longer spinach is boiled, the lesser antioxidant it contains and if it is fried at a high temperature, lutein gets drained in just two minutes. Plus reheating the vegetable in a microwave too further damages such antioxidants. “Best is not to heat the spinach at all. And even better is to make a smoothie and add fat from dairy products, such as cream, milk or yoghurt. When the spinach is chopped into small pieces, more lutein is released from the leaves, and the fat increases the solubility of the lutein in the fluid,” says postdoc Rosanna Chung principal author of the article.