Spinach: The Ultimate Health Guide

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Popeye was right about spinach -- it does boost your muscle power! Researchers found that spinach contains strength-giving properties due to its nitrate content.

But, that's not all. Spinach is rich with other key nutrients that promote not just muscle strength but bone, eye, and skin health as well! It doesn't end here. Spinach also has neurological benefits and metabolism perks! 

Find out in this article how eating spinach can improve your eyesight, strengthen your bones and muscles, and protect your skin against the harmful UV rays. As a bonus, we've also included some easy and yummy tips on how to add spinach to your diet!

What is Spinach?

Spinach belongs to the Amaranthaceae family and comes with the scientific name Spinacia oleracea. This green leafy veggie is a rich source of essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and pigments.

Because of its impressive nutritional content, spinach boasts major health benefits. And experts advise eating spinach regularly to enjoy its perks for your health.

One thing about spinach is it is very durable, too! It can survive all seasons, be it winter or spring. Plus, they’re inexpensive, making them highly accessible for everyone.

And just when you thought spinach’s awesomeness stops here, it doesn’t. This superfood is also easy to add to your meal plans.

Native to the Middle East, spinach is now enjoyed by different nations in a slew of cultural cuisines. It easily became a favorite staple in many kitchens due to its nutritional value and ease of use.

Spinach: Interesting Facts

  • It’s best to eat fresh spinach. This green leafy veggie tends to lose its nutritional properties as days pass by. While refrigeration helps to slow its spoilage, spinach drops half of its key nutrients by the eighth day following harvest.

  • Spinach comes in three distinct varieties: Savoy (dark green, crinkly leaves), Semi-savoy (a hybrid type with slightly crinkly leaves), and smooth leaf spinach (flat leaves).

  • Alma, Arkansas celebrates Spinach Festival during April of every year, organized by the Alma Chamber of Commerce. Alma is the self-proclaimed “Spinach Capital of the World”, a title likewise claimed by Crystal City, Texas.

What are the Health Benefits of Spinach?

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Spinach plays a major role in keeping your body healthy. Its essential nutrients promote these key health perks. Find out what are these impressive spinach health benefits:

Spinach strengthens muscles

This is where Popeye had it right. Research claims that the nitrates in veggies like spinach boost muscle strength. According to an animal study, the experimental rats who were fed nitrates from spinach for a week had much stronger muscles.

The study further reveals that nitrates motivate two proteins that regulate calcium. When these proteins’ levels increase, the body releases more calcium, which encourages stronger muscle contraction.

Spinach promotes better vision

Research claims that spinach is a great source of lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene that all improve eyesight. Cooked spinach supplies the eyes with beta-carotene, helping to reduce the risk of dry and itchy eyes, eye ulcers, and vitamin A deficiencies.

Spinach also contains some anti-inflammatory properties that prevent eye irritation and puffiness.

Aside from its anti-inflammatory properties, spinach also has antioxidant vitamins and xanthophylls, which help protect the eyes against the harmful effects of UV rays.

These essential properties also lower the risk of degenerative diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Spinach lowers inflammation

The anti-inflammatory properties of spinach also help to reduce inflammation. These properties do not only promote heart health and prevent cancer from occurring but also lower inflammation and pain that is often associated with gout and arthritis.

Spinach boosts cognitive function

Research also found a link between spinach and an enhanced cognitive function. According to a 2010 study, the high antioxidant properties and other key nutrients present in spinach positively influence cognitive function.

The important nutrients contained in spinach such as folate and vitamin E help prevent cognitive decline and neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Spinach treats hemophilia

Hemophilia is a rare disorder in which your blood lacks sufficient clotting factors. The body uses vitamin K to help blood clot.

Thus, eating vitamin K-rich foods such as spinach can be beneficial in treating hemophilia. It also helps to control excessive bleeding and stimulate glycogen production to keep the liver working well.

Spinach boosts bone health

The rich vitamin K content of spinach also helps in bone mineralization. Aside from vitamin K, other key minerals such as copper, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese contained in spinach aid in forming strong bones.

As a result, an individual may have a lower risk of developing osteoporosis. These essential minerals also help to keep your nails and teeth healthy.

Spinach regulates blood pressure

Spinach is low in sodium and high in potassium. This mineral composition is beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure.

Spinach also contains folate, an essential B-vitamin that helps reduce blood pressure, relax blood vessels, and regulate blood flow.

By relaxing tensed arteries and vessels and lowering blood pressure, you prevent cardiovascular stress and enhance oxygenation for your body’s optimal functionality.

Spinach improves metabolism

Spinach is also a rich source of protein, which is easily broken down into amino acids that benefit human health. These re-formed mammal proteins are beneficial for the development and growth of muscles.

They also improve metabolism and enhance your body’s healing powers. A new study also concludes that the Thylakoid content of spinach can suppress appetite and hunger, aiding in weight loss efforts.

Spinach helps to prevent and treat cancer

Spinach was also found to contain anti-cancer effects. The different minerals and constituents in spinach such as chlorophyllin, folate, and tocopherol contribute to preventing and treating prostate, lung, bladder, and liver cancers.

Recent studies further show that spinach leaves have two potent anti-tumor promoters that lower tumorous activity and inhibit cancer spread.

Spinach protects the skin

Dietary antioxidants contained in veggies like spinach also protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays and sun exposure.

These antioxidant properties not only protect the skin but also restore impaired skin, thus reducing the risk of skin cancer in the long run.

How Can You Add Spinach to Your Diet?

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If you are not yet adding this superfood to your diet, now’s the best time to start!

Spinach is chock full of important vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and other essential properties that may help improve your overall health.

Experts strongly advise fitting this nutrient-dense veggie into your meal plans. You only need to figure out how.

And since we want you to enjoy the major health benefits spinach provides for you, we’ve made a handy list on how to add spinach to your diet. Try these easy tips, so you too can savor what Popeye enjoyed!

  • Put some color to your soups, casseroles, and pasta by adding spinach to it!

  • Sauté spinach lightly in a little amount of extra virgin olive oil. Top it off with black pepper and some grated cheese.

  • Enjoy your flatbread, sandwich or wrap even more by incorporating spinach into the filling.

  • Perk up your dips! You can search for simple spinach dip recipes online such as the cream cheese spinach dip.

  • You can also throw a handful of fresh spinach into your scramble, omelet or smoothie!

  • Try something new by making a spinach pizza crust! All you need is a food processor, an egg, some cheese of your choice, and less than 30 minutes of prep and bake time.

What are the Potential Risks of Consuming Spinach?

No matter how healthy foods may seem, some just interact with certain medications. It is best to seek professional advice first before consuming spinach, especially if you are taking blood thinners like warfarin.

Sudden dietary changes are not advised for people who are taking these meds, especially adding vitamin K-rich foods as they play a major role in blood clotting.

People with kidney problems are also advised against eating potassium-rich foods like spinach. Kidney issues may result in difficulty eliminating excess potassium from the blood, which may drastically threaten health.

It’s best not to overconsume potassium-rich sources if you have a kidney problem.

Takeaway

There’s no doubt about it. Spinach is an incredible source of nutrients and health benefits, making them a great addition to a nutritious diet.

Eating spinach has been found to bring tons of health perks, from improving eyesight to strengthening the muscles to preventing heart diseases and cancer. Spinach is indeed a healthy food!

But as with all foods, spinach must be added to a well-balanced, healthy diet. While it is packed with vital nutrients, it is not the be-all and end-all of your nutrition goals.

It is recommended to consume other food sources that are rich with vitamins and minerals as well.

Also, remember to speak with your doctor about adding spinach to your diet, especially if you are taking certain medications.

Some superfoods just don’t work well with certain drugs, so it will be ideal to seek the green light of your doctor first before making any changes to your daily nutrition.


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