Spinach is generally regarded as healthy food, but we might not know all of its benefits. It’s widely known that spinach is a major source of iron, while the Popeye cartoon has long upheld the belief that this vegetable provides our bodies with a lot of strength. Having said that, we should know more about this valuable food to feel motivated about adding more of it to our daily diets.
Spinach is a dark green leafy vegetable and is from the amaranth family of plants. It’s also related to quinoa and beets, which is why some of the health benefits of the plants overlap. With the high level of nutrients, antioxidants, and other essential substances within spinach leaves, we should be making it a frequent part of our meals. Let’s have a look at some of the specifics on spinach health benefits:
Nutrition Facts about Spinach
Before we increase any ingredient in our diet, it’s useful to consider the nutritional profile of that item. In this case, a hundred grams or 3.5 ounces of raw, uncooked spinach will only add 23 calories to our intake. 91 percent of this is water, while the rest gives us 2.2 grams of fiber, 2.9 grams of protein, and a few carbs as well.
Since most of these carbs are made of fiber, they’re still one of the healthiest choices around. The low carb content is also one reason why spinach is a popular vegetable for those following the ketogenic diet. In order to maintain a healthy diet, we would also look for more sources of fiber and learn to love it.
Overall, the fiber in spinach will help to slow down our digestive process and bulk up our waste to avoid constipation. This will also result in our feeling full for longer, consuming fewer calories, and getting satisfied more easily.
There are several kinds of minerals and vitamins present in spinach. We have carotenoids, which become Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin C is also present, which is a potent antioxidant for improving immune function and skin health. Vitamin K1, which is necessary for clotting blood, is also present in every leaf. Other nutrients include iron, folic acid, calcium, and many other elements that are beneficial for many folks, especially pregnant women.
Here are some other compounds present in spinach and their roles in improving our health:
- Lutein: Linked to enhancing eye health and preventing diseases related to its body part
- Nitrates: Help in promoting heart health
- Zeaxanthin: Helps to improve eye health as well
- Kaempferol: An antioxidant that might decrease cancer risks and that of other chronic diseases
- Quercetin: Another antioxidant for staving off inflammation and infection
Health Benefits of Spinach
1. Improving Eye Health
Spinach contains high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are types of carotenoids. These give rise to the rich green color in spinach and other similar vegetables. Human eyes have a lot of the same pigments as well, so consuming more spinach could help to protect our eyes from UV ray damage as well as threats from other sources. They say that green is good for eyes, so it makes sense to eat more spinach for improved vision.
There are also many studies that tell us how these pigments might help prevent issues like cataracts, macular degeneration, etc. The latter two are among the main causes of vision loss these days, so it makes sense to take the necessary precautions straight away.
In fact, studies have also shown how lutein and zeaxanthin could work to reverse any existing damage that our eyes might already have suffered.
2. Possibly Preventing Cancer
Spinach has SQDG and MGDG inside it, which are components that have the potential for slowing down cancer growth. One scientific study should how these compounds could help to slow the growth of a tumor within a human’s cervix. Not only that, but they also led to the decrease of the existing tumor’s size.
Other studies have linked the consumption of spinach to a significant decrease in the risk of several types of cancers. These include breast cancer and prostate cancer. If someone has a higher chance of getting these cancers due to their family medical history, they might do well to look at spinach options more often in the future.
3. Helps Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure levels can lead to a higher risk of stores, heart disease, and much more. We want to avoid this issue as much as possible, as the condition will adversely affect the quality of our lives.
Luckily, it seems like eating spinach on a regular basis might be effective in lowering blood pressure levels the natural way. There have been several studies on this subject, with the main indication being that spinach could help to boost our heart health.
4. Helps Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
Spinach is considered one of the richest sources of potassium, so physicians recommend it for people with hypertension. However, another benefit of this superfood is the reduction of blood sugar levels. It is a highly energy-packed food that slowly digests in your body; thus, preventing any spikes in the blood sugar levels.
5. Provides an Instant Boost of Energy
Spinach helps restore energy when consumed, thanks to the amount of iron it has. Iron is a mineral that catalyzes the process of oxygen transportation in the blood; thus, helping enhance the vitality of your blood.
Consumption of such an iron-packed food helps restore your body’s energy while also improving the process of DNA synthesis and the immune system. However, it is crucial to know that spinach contains high levels of oxalic acid, which might diminish when cooked for a long time.
6. Important for Bone Health
We have all heard that milk is an essential part of our daily diet that contributes significantly to better and healthier bones. However, spinach is also packed with large amounts of vitamin K and magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. These minerals and vitamin K are the basic building blocks of a healthy and strong skeletal system.
7. Helps Keep You Hydrated
An overlooked, but essential benefit of including spinach in your daily diet is that it keeps you hydrated. Spinach has high water content, enabling you to easily achieve your daily hydration goal. You can incorporate it into your meals or consume it in salads.
8. Keeps You Satiated for a Long Time
Scientific studies highlight that spinach is packed with a compound called thylakoid. This compound helps keep you full for a long time. So, consuming spinach enables you to curb your appetite and follow the weight-loss regime with more convenience.
Thylakoid compound aids in decreasing the levels of hunger hormones and keep you satiated for a long time. It is also quite beneficial for overcoming the bad habit of binge eating.
Possible Downsides of Consuming Spinach
With all the upsides of eating more spinach, one may wonder if there are any negatives to consider. It’s true that this particular vegetable might result in health issues that are serious in themselves. We’ll talk about some of them now:
- The Development of Kidney Stones: these come about through the buildup of mineral salts and acid in the body. Calcium stones are the most common, and spinach could add to the collection of calcium oxalate. This is why people who suffer from gout issues and kidney problems are told to avoid spinach as much as possible.
- Interference of Vitamin K1: spinach has high levels of vitamin K1, which leads to blood clotting. Without this addition, we would be bleeding out all over the place, and our wounds or cuts wouldn’t be able to mend themselves. The bad news is that Vitamin K1, especially in such high doses, could react adversely with the medication we’re taking, especially if the latter is a blood thinner. If you’re currently taking any sort of medicine, show your prescription to the doctor and then ask them for an alternative or some guidelines.
- Acidity Issues: Those who routinely suffer from gout, heartburn, and acidity might see an increase in their uncomfortable symptoms after eating spinach. They might even be advised to avoid all leafy vegetables in order to prevent a gout attack.
At the end of the day, we have to think of spinach as being one of the most nutritious leafy greens available today. We might also consider similar options, such as kale, but spinach is probably more familiar and easily accessible to most of the population.
After looking at the research and hearing about past experiences, it’s apparent that this vegetable can benefit our health in many ways. By consuming spinach more often, we can look forward to cleaning out oxidative stress, clearing our vision, and generally lowering our chances of dangerous conditions. We may also have to learn how to cook spinach properly in order to retain its benefits. Other than that, we might also want to get used to consuming raw spinach by using it in smoothies, pizza toppings, etc.