Spinach is a green leafy vegetable full of antioxidants, minerals, and nutrients. It is also known as a superfood due to its high amount of iron. Not only that, but it is also beneficial for our skin, hair, and bones. It is healthy and consists of very few calories.
There are numerous benefits of spinach, one of the most notable ones being that it improves the level of blood glucose for those with diabetes. Apart from this, it also strengthens bones and reduces the risk of developing cancer. Most importantly, it provides the body with vitamins and minerals.
Spinach is very popular in the Mediterranean, Southeast Asian countries, and the Middle East. The best thing is that it is quite cheap, and you can easily incorporate it into other diets without a hassle.
In this article, you will find out about the nutrients that can be found in spinach, the advantages it provides to the body, and how to incorporate it into your daily diet.
Fast Facts on Spinach
Recent studies in the United States of America showed that a hundred gram serving of spinach has 28.1 micrograms of vitamin C, which amounts to 34% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. So, you can only guess how healthy it is for you.
There are three types: flat, semi-savoy, and savoy.
You can eat it raw, cook it on its own, or add it to a variety of dishes.
A single cup of spinach has:
- 59 grams of folate
- 30 mg of calcium
- Approximately 1 gram of protein
- 7 calories
- 168 mg of potassium
- 0.82 gram of iron
- 2813 international units of vitamin A
Apart from the above, spinach accommodates for vitamin K, phosphorus, thiamine, and fiber. The majority of the calories in spinach come from carbohydrates and protein.
Iron is important because it provides the body with energy. The central element in spinach is iron. We recommend adding foods consisting of vitamin C along with spinach because it will improve the rate of absorption in the body. A good example would be to use citrus fruits such as lemon.
In each cup of spinach, there is 250 mg of calcium. There are also plenty of oxalates, which holds together the calcium in the body. However, calcium from spinach is quite difficult for the body to absorb as compared to calcium from dairy products.
Apart from iron, spinach also contains large amounts of magnesium. Magnesium not only speeds up the metabolism in the body, but it is also responsible for many other things. For instance, magnesium strengthens the muscles and nerves, maintains a regular heartbeat, and keeps the immune system strong. Moreover, magnesium also keeps the blood pressure at normal levels and takes care of a zillion and other reactions occurring in the body.
Benefits of Spinach
Below are a few benefits of eating spinach:
- Diabetes management
- Cancer prevention
- Asthma prevention
- Lowering blood pressure
- Bone health
- Digestive regularity
- Healthy skin and hair
Spinach contains an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, which helps in lowering the glucose level and increases the sensitivity of insulin. Moreover, it also helps patients with changes from oxidative stress. Many studies related to alpha-lipoic acid have shown that it also decreases peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy.
Prevention of Cancer
Chlorophyll is the main element in spinach and other green leafy vegetables. In 2013, researchers experimented on 12,000 animals. The study revealed that chlorophyll is capable of blocking carcinogenic effects and preventing cancer. Carcinogenic effects occur due to grilling food on very high heat, for example.
Prevention of Asthma
In a study conducted on children aged 6 to 8 who had asthma and children who did not have asthma, it was revealed that asthma was quite common in those who did not take in the proper nutrients. Since spinach has a lot of beta-carotene, it helps to reduce the risk of asthma.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Spinach contains a high ratio of potassium, which is why it is best for those with high blood pressure. Potassium reduces the level of excessive sodium in the body. If your body does not have enough potassium or it has a higher level of sodium, there is a high chance of developing high blood pressure.
If your body does not have the proper amount of vitamin K, your chances of breaking a bone increase significantly. An appropriate and adequate amount of vitamin K is important for our bones. It improves calcium absorbance and reduces the amount of calcium excretion through the urine.
Spinach has a lot of fiber and water in it, which keeps the digestion system strong and prevents constipation.
Healthy Skin and Hair
Spinach contains a lot of vitamin A. Vitamin A induces oil production in spores and hair follicles, which keeps the body moisturized. This oil can also result in acne growth. In addition, vitamin A is also responsible for tissue growth in the body.
The vitamin C within spinach results in collagen and provides structure to the hair and skin. Hair loss is typically a result of an iron deficiency. Thankfully, regularly consuming spinach helps to reduce hair loss due to its high iron content.
You can eat spinach however you want, raw or cooked. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate it into your diet every day:
- Add it to soups and casseroles
- Fry it in olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and Parmesan cheese
- Put it inside a sandwich or a wrap
- Make artichoke, goat cheese, or spinach dip
- Make a spinach omelette
Spinach contains vitamin K, which is responsible for blood clotting. Do not suddenly change your intake of vitamin K if you are taking medicines such as warfarin to thin your blood.
If you are a kidney patient, make sure not to consume too much potassium, because if the kidney cannot remove an excessive amount of potassium, it can result in death.
Spinach, despite some of its risks, is a great and versatile vegetable with many benefits.