Spinach is a great source of plant-based protein!

Spinach is among the richest vegetables in protein. Although, it isn’t a complete protein, spinach can help us meet us daily needs.

How much protein do we need?

The recommended daily intake of protein for most people is only 0.8 g per kg (2.2 lbs) of body weight.

Only active people require more protein. In fact, people with minimal, moderate, and intense physical activity should get at least 1.0 g, 1.3 g, and 1.6 g of protein per kg (2.2 lbs) of body weight, respectively.[1,2]

For instance, an 80 kg (177 lbs) person doing moderate physical activity should get approximately 100 g of protein a day. On the other hand, a 59 kg (130 lbs) person who follows a sedentary life requires only 59 g of protein.

Protein deficiency is rather unlikely, though. People who consume adequate amounts of calories and follow a well-balanced diet, probably consume more protein than they need.

What’s the protein content of raw spinach?

Spinach is among the richest vegetables in protein. Baby spinach contains 2.85 g of protein per 100g. Mature spinach also has the same protein content.[3]

Furthermore, an 1-cup serving of raw spinach provides about 5.1 g of protein.

Does cooking affect the protein content of spinach?

Cooking doesn’t significantly affect the protein content of spinach. On the contrary, as boiled spinach loses water during cooking, it has a slightly higher protein content, as compared to raw spinach.

Actually, boiled spinach contains almost 3 g of protein per 100g.[4]

Therefore, you can eat spinach raw or cooked. Either way, spinach is a nutrient-dense food, which is beneficial for our health.

How much protein is in a glass of spinach smoothie?

A glass of spinach smoothies contains between 70 g and 80 g of spinach. This amount contains approximately 2.5 g of protein. So, drinking spinach smoothies won’t necessarily boost your daily protein intake. You have to add other ingredients high in protein.

If you want to avoid animal-based sources of protein, like milk or yogurt, you could add 1 tbsp of a plant-based protein powder. You’ll find a wide variety of quality plant-based protein powders on iHerb.com.

Avoid adding too many ingredients to your smoothie. You may have a hard time digesting it. Moreover, adding too many ingredients can significantly increase the calorie content of your smoothie.

You can enjoy your spinach smoothie any time of the day. If you’re working out, the best time to drink your spinach smoothie is after exercise.

What’s the amino acid profile of spinach?

Spinach isn’t a complete protein. Actually, protein of spinach consists about 41% of essential amino acids. The rest are non-essential amino acids.

The essential amino acids which are naturally present in spinach are leucine, lysine, threonine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, valine, and methionine.

The main amino acids in spinach are glutamic acid, and aspartic acid. They’re approximately 12% and 11% of the total protein content, respectively. Furthermore, spinach contains many other non-essential amino acids, like serine, proline, glycine, tyrosine, arginine, and cysteine.[5]

As spinach doesn’t contain high amounts of all essential amino acids, it isn’t considered a complete, high-quality protein. So, we have to combine it with a wide variety of other foods high in protein in order to get all essential amino acids.

Common foods high in protein

Certainly, meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs are excellent dietary sources of high-quality, complete protein. Animal-based foods contain all essential amino acids.

But, even people who follow a plant-based diet can get more than enough protein from food. Beans, nuts, seeds, whole-grains, and vegetables contain protein as well.

As most plant-based foods lack of certain essential amino acids, people who follow a plant-based diet should eat a wide variety of foods.

For instance, you could combine beans, rice, and other whole-grains in order to get all essential amino acids from a meal.

Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, and amaranth are the most common plant-based sources of complete protein.

Why should I eat spinach regularly?

Spinach is a super nutrient-dense food. Besides, its high protein content, spinach is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and many phytonutrients with potent antioxidant properties.

Above all, spinach is an excellent dietary source of carotenoids, iron, calcium, potassium, chlorophyll, as well as vitamins C, E, and K!

Therefore, due to its extreme nutritional value, spinach consumption may help fight oxidative stress and inflammations. Most noteworthy, spinach has anti-cancer properties![6]

In addition, spinach, due to its high nitrate content, may help prevent arterial stiffness, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.[7]

Also, it helps us lose weight, as it may increase metabolism, induce the secretion of satiety hormones, and control blood glucose levels.