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Spinach has been providing humans with bountiful nutrition for more than 2,000 years. By the time this cool-season annual reached western Europe in the 11th – 15th centuries, it was already an established crop and widely cultivated in the Middle East and Asia. It has long been considered the Captain of Leafy Greens,” which is an apt title for this vitamin- and mineral-packed veggie. However, raw spinach contains oxalic acid which, when eaten in large quantities over time, can actually interfere with the absorption of some of the nutrients like calcium and iron for which spinach is famous. Also, because our bodies cannot metabolize spinach quickly, it can produce gas, bloating, and stomach cramps. This is not to say we shouldn’t eat raw spinach; we absolutely should because it’s loaded with all kinds of other essential nutrients like vitamin C, niacin, potassium, etc. that are more available to our bodies when eaten raw. But to capture all of the benefits of spinach, it behooves us to eat it in other ways as well. Dried spinach is a delicious, high-nutrition option!

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