Does Spinach Lose its Nutritional Value When Cooked?

Darin from Oregon City asks, "I know spinach has a tremendous amount of nutritional value when eaten raw but I'm wondering how much of that is lost when you cook it?

I have found in my own studies and research that when it comes to cooking spinach, sautéing is best able to retain its total carotenoid content (in comparison with steaming or boiling or frying). Alternatively, I’ve seen an equally recent study showing far less loss of vitamin C from spinach when this vegetable was steamed for 5 minutes (instead of being microwaved or boiled for that same amount of time). Yet numerous studies also point to the nutrient benefits of raw spinach. For example, about 25% of the folate in spinach can be lost from cooking, and spinach can be thought of as a special nutritional contributor in terms of folate. So as you can see, there are important nutritional benefits to be had from many different ways of incorporating spinach into your meal plan. In the meal plans I discuss in Healthy Body, Happy Life, for example, include spinach in its raw form in smoothies, as well as recipes in which you boil and sauté this amazing vegetable.