Spinach is a beautiful vegetable that should be in everyone’s diet. The vegetable is packed full of a lot of nutrients and yet is a low-calorie food. Eating spinach is beneficial to the body, from the hair on your head to the soles of your feet. So if you want to lose weight, maintain your weight, and remain fresh and healthy, adding spinach to your diet is an excellent idea.
The nutrients present in spinach are essential for the functioning of the organs and systems of the body. It enhances the immune system, keeps your heart healthy, to mention but a few. With a lot of minerals and vitamins that have different functions in the body. Not only that, but it is easy to incorporate this superfood into your diet. It can be eaten raw, blended into a smoothie, mixed in a salad, steamed, or cooked on its own or with other dishes.
Nutritional Facts of Spinach
Before we discuss the various health benefits, the nutrition facts for 100grams of spinach include:
- Calories: 23
- Water: 91%
- Protein: 2.9 grams
- Carbs: 3.6 grams
- Sugar: 0.4 grams
- Fiber: 2.2 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
- 86 grams (g) of protein
- 30 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 81 g of iron
- 24 mg of magnesium
- 167 mg of potassium
- 2,813 international units (IU) of Vitamin A
- 58 micrograms of folate
Other constituents of spinach :
Fiber: spinach is rich in insoluble fiber. Fiber eliminates toxins from the body and aids the digestion process. This helps keep the body healthy and free of toxins and also prevents constipation.
Vitamins and minerals: spinach contains several vitamins and minerals necessary for the upkeep of the body. They include vitamins A, B6, B9, C, E, K, calcium, iron, folic acid, potassium, and magnesium. These vitamins also help boost the immune system.
Plant compounds: this nutrient-dense vegetable includes important plant compounds like lutein, kaempferol, nitrates, quercetin, and zeaxanthin.
Top Health Benefits of Spinach
Maintains blood pressure
Spinach is rich in nitrates. Nitrates play an essential role in maintaining blood pressure. Nitrates are converted to nitric oxide in the body, and nitric oxide is responsible for the flexibility of the blood vessels. The abundant amount of nitric oxide in the body results in vasodilation, while in small amounts, it constricts the blood vessels resulting in high blood pressure.
Spinach also contains antioxidants and vitamin C that help reduce stress levels, which results in normalized blood pressure. This reduces the risk of developing heart problems and other complications associated with blood pressure, including stroke, heart attacks, and others.
Spinach improves cardiovascular health
The presence of nitrates in spinach helps lower blood pressure, making the arteries less stiff, ultimately reducing the risk of heart problems. Also, excess fats usually accumulate in the arteries, which thickens and hardens the arteries and results in conditions like atherosclerosis, ischemic heart attacks, and stroke. Eating spinach reverses this or prevents this from happening. This is mainly due to the presence of lutein.
Spinach also contains potassium, which helps the heart function properly, and helps reduce the effect of sodium in the body.
Spinach is rich in antioxidants
Asides from the many minerals and vitamins of spinach, it also has many beneficial antioxidants like kaempferol which has been proven to help reduce the risk of cancer growth and spread. There are other antioxidants, like quercetin and others.
Antioxidants fight against free radicals; free radicals are byproducts of metabolism that usually cause harm to the body. They also cause oxidative stress, usually associated with aging, cancer, diabetes, and other complications. But regularly eating spinach releases antioxidants that help fight against all this and improve overall health.
Aids in weight loss
If you are aiming to lose some extra pounds, then you should add spinach to your diet. Spinach is rich in fiber, which improves digestion, clears toxins from the body, regulates blood sugar, and prevents constipation.
Aside from that, spinach is suitable for those who usually eat more food than they should. It contains thylakoids which lowers hunger level hormones while increasing hormones that make you feel full. Spinach makes you feel full, so it reduces the amount of food you eat and helps curb your appetite.
Strengthens the immune system
Spinach is packed full of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that boost the overall functioning of the immune system. The body’s immune system is the system charged with fighting against harmful foreign substances like bacteria and viruses and preventing them from causing disease. It also sends cells to sites of infections and injuries to initiate a healing process.
Proper functioning of the immune system is essential for a long healthy life; otherwise, the person is prone to falling sick constantly and probably not recovering. The nutrients in spinach help to keep the immune system running properly.
Helps maintain blood sugar levels
Spinach is helpful for both diabetic and non-diabetic patients because it helps reduce blood sugar levels. Spinach has a low glycemic index and high fiber content, which reduces insulin dependency, making it a healthy food choice. Also, since the fiber is insoluble, it doesn’t cause an immediate spike In blood sugar levels.
It also contains an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid which reduces blood sugar levels and also increases insulin sensitivity. It also prevents stress-induced complications in diabetic patients.
Strengthens the bones
Regularly Eating spinach helps in keeping your bones strong and healthy. Spinach contains vitamin K, an essential vitamin responsible for producing osteocalcin, a protein that regulates calcium in the bones. It also contains calcium, a mineral that has been proven necessary in building strong, healthy bones and reducing the risk of bone disorders.
The body is constantly rebuilding and replacing old bone tissues with new ones. Insufficient calcium results in an inadequate amount of new bones to replace the old, weak, and brittle bones, usually the cause of osteoporosis. Calcium is not only required for healthy bones but for healthy teeth too.
It has anti-inflammatory properties
While inflammation is one of the immune system responses to a site of injury or infection that hastens the healing process, it usually involves swelling, pain, and response. Although these can be pretty uncomfortable, they’re part of the healing process. Although inflammation is a good thing, chronic inflammation is not. It occurs when inflammation persists for a long time and is unhealthy and painful since it is associated with the symptoms of acute inflammation.
Spinach contains neoxanthin and violaxanthin, anti-inflammatory properties that help regulate inflammation, keep it in check, and prevent organ damage that usually ensues after a long period of chronic inflammation.
It improves eye health
The eye is a vital organ. It is one of the sense organs that helps us sense happenings around us. Some of the nutrients found in spinach responsible for excellent eyesight include; beta carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, and chlorophyll. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids usually stored in the macula and the part of the eye that acts as a sunblock, preventing the macula from degenerating.
Spinach also contains vitamin A, an essential vitamin that improves vision by maintaining the mucus membrane. Also, vitamin C helps reduce the risk of cataracts.
Supports brain health
regularly Eating spinach maintains the cognitive ability of the brain and reduces the rate of aging. It also reduces oxidative stress, thus improving motor and cognitive skills and enhancing memory and mental capacity. Although, spinach inhibits the activity of cholinesterase, an enzyme-linked to the gradual decline and development of Alzheimer’s.
So if you want your cognitive ability to be as good as that of someone years younger than you, then try to eat spinach constantly.
Risks of eating spinach
Like everything other good things which should be done in moderation, spinach should be eaten in moderation. Some of the risks associated with overeating spinach include:
- Blood clotting: spinach is rich in vitamin K, known for its blood clotting properties. This is why patients on blood-thinning medication should not eat large amounts of spinach, as it counters the effect of such medication.
- Kidney stones: these are usually acid and minerals salt clumps that block the kidney. Since spinach is high in potassium, calcium, and oxalate, eating in high quantities might result in the clumping of these minerals, leading to kidney stones.
- Since spinach is rich in insoluble fiber, you might feel bloated after eating a lot of it, and this might result in you passing outgas a lot
You are what you eat, and when you eat, you’re either healing yourself or making yourself sick. Since your health depends mainly on what you eat, why don’t you add nutrient-dense spinach to your diet today and enjoy its benefits? After reading all these benefits, I do hope you’re thinking of incorporating spinach into your diet.
Aside from these, there are many more benefits of spinach, including glowing skin and healthy hair. This means you’re not only taking care of the inside but also your outward appearance.
And if you think all greens are boring, don’t forget that there’s no one way to eat spinach. So, have fun and live healthily.