While we were growing up, our parents did not let go of a single opportunity to sneak in some greens in our meals. Green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cabbage and kale are a treasure trove of antioxidants, fibre, minerals and many more significant macronutrients. Spinach is one of the green vegetables that is found in Indian households throughout the year, even though it happens to be a winter veggie. It is also one of the very few green vegetables that escape the bad rep of being ‘flavourless’, ‘bland’ or ‘bitter’. How else do you explain the rich variety of spinach-based delicacies in the country? From palak paneer to aloo palak, these dishes continue to be an intrinsic part of our daily lives. Now, you can probably count 2367 ways in which you can cook spinach, but in how many dishes can you use raw spinach leaves?  

That’s right. In India, we are always advised to cook spinach thoroughly, after it has been rinsed equally well. And guess what, there is a very plausible, scientific explanation for that too.  

Why Should You Ideally Cook Spinach? 

Apart from eliminating the risk of contamination caused due to germs and bacteria that often latch on to these leaves, cooking spinach has many other health benefits too. According to experts, cooked spinach is linked with better nutrient absorption. In other words, it is easier for your body to assimilate iron, and much larger amounts of lutein, beta-carotene and other vital vitamins and minerals if you cook the spinach.  

 Having said that, raw spinach is not any less nutritious. If you wish to have your spinach raw in a fresh salad or similar dishes, it is a good idea to serve it with some citrus fruits. Spinach contains oxalic acid, which tends to hinder nutrient absorption when served raw. Serving the raw leaves with something citrusy, like a lemon dressing or fresh orange chunks can help you absorb these vital nutrients better.