The problem with Spinach!
Rich in Iron and therefore great for your blood, spinach seems like a fantastic fertility food.
It’s also packed with Magnesium, Vitamin A (precursor to vitamin A), Vitamin C, Folate (natural folic acid), loads of chlorophyll (helps make blood cells) and lots more!
BUT – it’s not all as it appears on the surface.
Spinach is packed full of iron at 2.6mg per 100g, compared to 2.5mg per 100g of beef.
However, it’s important to note that there are different types of iron.
Beef contains haem iron whereas spinach contains non-haem iron. Non-haem iron is harder for your body to absorb and use. This reduced absorption of iron is further intensified by the polyphenolic compounds that also exist in spinach.
When we compare the two we find that spinach provides us with 1.7% absorption rate, which provides a meager 0.044mg of iron.
Compare this to the beef where we have a 20% absorption rate, and this delivers a 0.5mg of iron absorbed.
So although spinach starts out as having slightly more iron, beef ends up the more nutritious way to get your iron!
And as if all that wasn’t enough – spinach also puts many people at risk of developing stones, such as kidney or bladder stones and this may further complicate your fertility journey if you’re prone to stones.
The high content of oxalates in spinach causes it to react with calcium, reducing your possibility of using the calcium and also forming it into stones.
It’s therefore important to do the following to reduce this effect:
- Always eat spinach cooked
- Eat it 2 times per week max
- Use some lemon juice squeezed over the spinach to reduce the oxalates
Key nutrients of Spinach:
Beta-Carotene (precursor to Vitamin A): This helps you create Vitamin A once absorbed. Vitamin A Is necessary for the growth and repair of many body cells including bones, teeth, collagen, and cartilage. It’s also involved in cell differentiation where cells become specific types of cells such as a liver cell or a blood cell. This is vital for the development of your healthy baby, and so Vitamin A should be sufficient in your diet in a food form. Supplementation does not offer balanced forms of Vitamin A.
Vitamin B1: Thiamin is involved in the production of energy through the breakdown of sugars and carbohydrates. This is important for cellular health, which may also influence the health and energy of sperm and egg cells. It’s also important for energy support during pregnancy.
Vitamin B9: Folate is an important nutrient for general and fertility health. It’s involved in the creation of DNA as well as the building of proteins, and many other important functions including the healthy development of your baby’s’ spinal cord. During pregnancy folate also supports the growth of the placenta and helps to prevent several types of birth defects, especially those of the brain and spine.
Vitamin C: For fertility health, Vitamin C is important in the process of absorption and also in its ability to support the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K is an essential nutrient necessary for responding to injuries as it regulates normal blood clotting. Vitamin K can be particularly useful if you suffer from heavy and/or painful periods as it can help slow down the blood flow and reduce cramping.
Phosphorus: Is an element that plays an important role in how the body uses carbohydrates and fats. It is also needed for the body to make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues. It is essential in our diet and particularly in children when growth and development occurs.
Calcium: Calcium is needed to build and maintain strong bones, support heart health, and for optimal function of the muscles and nerves. It is also required alongside Vitamin D to aid in its use throughout the body.
Iron: Is a mineral that the body uses to carry oxygen in the blood and plays a key role in strengthening the immune system and helps regulate body temperature.
Magnesium: Supports a healthy immune system as well as keeps bones strong. It is also great for stress, and combined with vitamin B6 can help induce sleep and alleviate symptoms of bloating and weight gain associated with PMS.
Potassium: Is an electrolyte which counteracts the effects of sodium, helping to maintain consistent blood pressure levels – another important element for pregnancy.
CHINESE FERTILITY MEDICINE USES IT TO:
- Clears Heat
- Lubricates the Intestines
- Stops bleeding
- Strengthens the Blood
Clears Heat: in certain patterns of health imbalance, we find an increase in heat signs such as: thirst, dry skin, constipation, feeling hot, hot hands and soles of feet, red face, inflammation of the skin and more. Spinach has a cool to cold quality once consumed and so can be used to combat the symptoms of heat above.
Lubricates the Intestines: the high water and moisture content, along with the cooling quality helps to lubricate the intestines in cases of constipation or sluggish bowel movements caused by heat or dryness. Combined with beef this effect is intensified.
Stops Bleeding: spinach has an astringent effect on the blood meaning that it can stop bleeding when the cause is too much heat – as explained above. Bleeding caused by too much internal heat in your body will show as nosebleeds, heavy menstrual bleeding (and feeling hot) with bright red blood, along with one or more symptoms of heat as described above.
Strengthens the Blood: being so rich in nutrients including chlorophyll (which helps us create new blood cells), spinach is a good tonic for the blood and has been used for this in China for centuries. As a blood tonic, it helps to build the volume of blood in your body, which is particularly useful following heavy menstruation or childbirth. For heavy cycle bleeding, and due to its cooling quality, it should be used mostly during the follicular phase.
Season available: Spinach is available all year round but is in season during the late winter, spring and summer.
How it’s typically cooked: Always wash spinach before consumption. Spinach is very versatile and can be eaten alone or with other foods. It can be added to stir-fry’s, casseroles, stews, curries, pureed or blended into sauces.
Caution: Spinach contains a high amount of oxalate. If you have a history of kidney stones please avoid or eat rarely.
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Andrew Loosely is The Natural Fertility Expert and author of The Ultimate Fertility Guide. One of the most sought after consultants in the Fertility community, he is famous for helping thousands of people around the world to transform their fertility health, to conceive and birth their babies. Find out more