Spinach does so many good things to your body because it has a lot of health benefits. It is one of the most nutritious vegetables and because it’s so high in fiber and nitrates, it boosts energy levels and decreases hunger pains.
The dark green leaves are packed with vitamins A, K, E, C, B-1 to 3 as well as iron. It also offers natural immune system boosters for those who work outside all day or during cold and flu season. Spinach is an excellent source of potassium-laced folate which helps guard against dementia. One cup packs 7 milligrams for adults; ideal amounts that could help decrease the risk of heart disease or prevent cataracts by regulating blood pressure and diminishing the risk of many cancers including colon cancer and lung cancer.
Salads are a great way to get the health benefits of spinach because it takes longer for our bodies to chew through salad leaves than it does to bite into a piece of fruit. Salads are also an easy meal if you have some extra vegetables on hand or are in some other way pressed for time. This is because mixing many different types of leaves together often means that some will provide ingredients needed by others — so they compliment each other nicely!
Omega-3s and iron are some of the best nutrients in spinach. Omega-3 fatty acids and iron deficiencies can lead to decreased growth and heart problems, as well as cognitive impairments such as memory loss. Spinach contains both of those nutrients, so if you’re not getting enough from other sources it’s something to consider adding to your diet!
What is spinach?
Spinach is the world’s versatile green, containing both Vitamin A and C, iron, calcium, magnesium, and more. There are many different varieties of spinach with varying coloring; however, despite this difference, they still share the same flavor.
A few people have a sensitivity to one or both types of oxalic acid found in spinach which causes a bad reaction to consuming it. For those with a sensitivity to these acids, spinach can be an allergen as well as an irritant. Spinach also contains goitrogens that can interfere with thyroid function if eaten in excess–especially if iodine intake is not sufficient from other sources such as seafood or dairy products.
Some maintain that it was spinach, not cabbage or its close relative kale, which gave rise to sauerkraut because it is easy to care for even during winter months when delicate sprouts are difficult to grow. Some indigenous North Americans had long-boiled dressing made with maple syrup and ground pumpkin seeds for flavoring instead of vinegar. Europeans adopted this popular native green more than 200 years ago on their own continent’s chilly northern borders where the green turns into a hearty fall crop after others harvest. Merely by adding cream and pepper it becomes an entire meal soup.
Spinach is a go-to vegetable for many home cooks because of its versatility. It adds color to any dish and packs tons of great nutritional punch.
The leaves are edible, but due to the high iron content, they sometimes can leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth (especially if spinach is eaten raw). Fortunately, it’s easy to cook with or hide in dishes like pasta sauce. You can also temper the flavor by adding creamy dressings like Ranch Dressing or Sour Cream. As one of nature’s superfoods pick up some spinach on your next trip to Whole Foods Market!
How to grow spinach?
Spinach benefits greatly from organically fertile ground or composted manure, so try to grow it in a spot with plenty of earthworms. It also requires deeply dug soil because the roots need air and rainwater to nourish them well.
The best way to do that is by making sure that you regularly turn over the top layer of dirt in your garden every few weeks–a process known as “double-digging.” Double-digging loosens up your soil, which means it will be better able to retain moisture when things get dry, like during late summer. Ideally, you should do this in April for the best results. You can use any kitchen container with good drainage holes in its bottom for this.
Genetically, spinach is a cool-season green and should be planted in fall or winter while it’s cooler–usually September through November or January through March. Late planting people tend to get less pest pressure than early planting because cooler temperatures slow down insects’ reproductive cycles.
Chemical compounds in spinach:
Spinach is rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. It promotes eye health because it contains carotenoids that are good for the retina, zeaxanthin- found to combat inflammation in the immune system and may ward off arthritis flares through its anti-inflammatory properties. Thanks to beta-carotene content spinach help with bone health by giving them minerals needed for strong bones. Spinach also contains riboflavin which is an important part of our metabolism because it breaks down molecules into energy that cells need. Recent studies have shown that people who eat spinach regularly are less likely to suffer from high cholesterol or if they already have heart disease their chance of death drops significantly.
Spinach has vitamin K (10% of the RDA), potassium (8% of your daily needs), folate (8%), iron (8%), magnesium, copper, manganese, and zinc. It also has some carotenoids like beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, several flavonoids including lutein which is helpful in fighting macular degeneration. There are even more phytonutrients with potential benefits that are only now being studied. You can’t live on spinach alone but it serves as an excellent source of vitamins and minerals at a very low cost.
Spinach hydrates your body:
Spinach is indeed one of the richest sources of fluid. That’s because it has a high percentage of non-starch compounds, including 98% water. Consider the next time you are preparing to dine on some green!
A study reported that hydration can lead to weight loss by decreasing salt cravings. On average, adults should drink enough fluids every day to produce at least 2 liters (68 ounces) or 8 cups (~2 pints) for women and 3 liters (102 ounces) or 12 cups (~3 pints) for men. The average person needs 64 oz/day – 128 oz/day depending on activity.
Spinach reduces your appetite:
Spinach reduces your appetite by making you feel fuller, for longer periods of time. When people are trying to lose weight, they will often start by completely cutting out chips, cookies, sweets or other junk foods that provide empty calories and taste good but don’t do anything positive for the body.
Although this is a good first step towards living healthier, it doesn’t help manage hunger without undertaking additional steps. What if after reading this article the person just isn’t feeling hungry at all-or not as frequently? That individual will inevitably find themselves needing to restrict dinner portions or reduce the amount of food eaten throughout the day because their stomach seems like it’s always full.
Spinach reduces your appetite because it is a good source of roughage- an indigestible plant cell wall. This causes a feeling of fullness that could last for hours after eating, without being too high in calories.
The suggestion to eat spinach at dinner because it will help you feel full and reduce food craving later in the evening is backed up by this study which found that eating a salad or spinach at meals reduced calorie intake from snacks later in the day. Interestingly, when only vegetables were consumed before dinner but not during dinner, no effect was observed on subsequent caloric intake from snacks over the course of the day.
Spinach reduces your appetite because it has a high serotonin content. Eating vegetables rich in serotonin is proven to increase the production of chemicals in your brain that suppress your appetite. In other words, the more spinach you eat, the lower levels of serotonin will be going into or being used by your body and that makes you feel less hungry for other food.
Spinach helps prevent osteoporosis:
Spinach, as well as other leafy green vegetables, contain a significant amount of calcium and vitamin C which play a critical role in bone development and prevention against osteoporosis – due to these nutrients they have been termed “bone-smart”.
Another contributor to this is that spinach helps decrease the likelihood of developing high blood pressure from consuming large amounts of salt or potassium. Lowered BP also decreases the chance of developing osteoporosis as well as additionally prevents kidney stones from forming due to small cuts within kidneys – both major contributors for preventing osteoporosis. For those who don’t eat enough dairy products on a daily basis, spinach can be an excellent substitute due to its calcium content.
Spinach helps prevent osteoporosis by making the bones less brittle. Food that creates peroxide is an excellent source of antioxidants and can help with preventing osteoporosis because it’s been shown to slow down bone-dependent cellular aging. Examples of foods that have been demonstrated to have this effect are spinach, strawberries, almonds, and garlic.
Spinach reduces the risk of iron deficiency:
Spinach provides a rich source of iron, with 3.4 mg per 100 g dry weight or about 10% of this essential nutrient in a single serving. Iron deficiency is the most widespread nutritional disorder in the world, leading to anemia and many related health problems, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is also the most common nutritional disorder in women. Spinach is rich in iron and calcium, which together comprise the active components of the two major dietary approaches. These two minerals compete for absorption, so a diet containing both may allow more iron to be absorbed from the other sources without inhibiting its own absorption because of competition.
This could be because amino acids affect how we digest food or aid with enzyme production through interaction with minerals found at bodily sites responsible for digestion and energy production. Ingesting foods including spinach can cause an increase in nutrient absorption rates by consuming minerals needed for good health at a faster rate, which helps to build up our nutritional stores faster to prevent deficiency from ever happening.
The key to preventing iron deficiency anemia is to increase dietary intake through food containing iron (and other natural minerals) and dietary supplements for those who cannot consume large amounts of food. Some good choices include whole grains, spinach, beans, poultry, beef liver, dried figs, and molasses among others that can be applied proactively to prevent anemia even before you notice symptoms!
Doing this provides necessary building blocks for red blood cells which carry oxygen around our bodies; without them, we would die within minutes.
Spinach boosts your immunity:
Spinach is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals most notably including vitamin A, Vit D, C, E, and K along with the mineral calcium. It’s also filled with carotenoids that function as antioxidants to protect from damaging free radicals in the body. In addition, spinach contains antioxidants such as beta-carotene which has been shown in studies to stop free radical damage within cells stimulating immune system cells to do their jobs better. So yes! Spinach does boost the immune system making it an excellent choice for winter months when colds are going around.
The spinach plant contains large amounts of malic acid, a naturally occurring compound that provides antioxidants for the body through its ability to neutralize free radicals in cells – including those that contribute to several diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and cancer – as well as aids in maintaining regular cell growth thereby boosting immunity. The best protection against any type of disease is skin-to-skin contact because kids touch other kids all the time – but explain what would happen if they are not washing their hands after touching spinach leaves?
Furthermore, spinach is a rich source of vitamins A and C that may help to maintain a healthy and functioning immune system and to fight off infection, while vitamin C serves as an antioxidant that supports immunity. The trace mineral selenium found in spinach has been shown to be necessary for the production of natural antioxidant enzymes including glutathione peroxidase, which again helps fight infection and disease by neutralizing dangerous free radicals before they can damage otherwise healthy cells. In short, regular consumption of spinach makes you healthier from the inside out!
Green leafy vegetables are rich in a compound called sulforaphane, which can be internally converted into forms that have anti-cancer, anti-diarrhea, and anti-allergy properties. So while consuming them doesn’t create immunity itself, it does fill your body with the tools necessary to fight infections and combat illness on an ongoing basis.
Not only is spinach high in nutrients like iron, fiber, and Vitamin K but it’s also packed with antioxidants phenols such as beta carotene which has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular disease by eliminating inflammatory free radicals from our bodies before they cause damage. Furthermore, studies show that people who consume spinach regularly may experience decreased risks of dementia.
Spinach assists baby development:
Spinach is rich in folate, which is important for pregnant and nursing mothers because it lowers the risks of neural tube defects and pregnancy-induced hypertension. Folate deficiency is not uncommon among pregnant and breastfeeding women and can lead to birth defects such as spina bifida. A diet that includes both spinach and other food sources of folate helps maintain a healthy maternal status with respect to this nutrient.
Spinach is a rich source of folic acid. Folate may play a critical role in the development of a baby’s brain and spine in the uterus, and during their early years when they’re getting plenty of protein from solids. Adequate maternal folate status can help prevent neural tube defects, including spina bifida. In addition to folates, spinach contains all essential amino acids that babies need for growth. And…. if it is cooked with fresh or low-acid tomatoes or red peppers, spinach has enough vitamin C to meet most toddlers’ needs for this nutrient too!
The folic acid found in spinach is what contributes to healthy brains, hearts and it can also help with birth defects like neural tube defects (NTD). Women of childbearing age need 400 micrograms per day. One cup of raw spinach leaves contains 181 calorie-equivalent grams of protein which might be suitable for meat-loving vegetarians who still want to get adequate protein intake. It’s rich in phytonutrients like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin that act as antioxidants; this means that your DNA is protected from oxidative stress. Spinach protects against heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol levels – the bad kind. Spinaches help in preventing colon cancer because they are high in antioxidant compounds.
Spinach promotes eye health:
Spinach has all the vital nutrients for promoting eye health, including Vitamin A, Lutein & Zeaxanthin which are all antioxidants that protect the macula. Lutein is actually more concentrated in dark green vegetables like spinach than it is in other vegetables because of the pigment chlorophyll which concentrates valuable micronutrients to its center.
Spinach is packed with vitamin A which the body converts to retinol. Retinol helps reduce inflammation in the eye, promote fluid drainage and prevent infections along with promoting healthy night vision. The leafy green also contains high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin which are critical for healthy eyes. All in all, spinach is a great food for your eyes!
The American Optometric Association has issued a position statement on eye health and higher-than-necessary levels of vitamin A that recommends that people who eat plenty of leafy green vegetables should use vitamin supplements only if they cannot eat five servings or more per day. It also advised against taking very high doses (more than 10,000 IUs/day.
Spinach also contains lots of folates, which supports healthy eyes because it helps cells in the cornea reproduce quickly enough to keep pace with surface damage from light exposure. This process is critical for maintaining healthy levels of tissue renewal in the cornea, which can be harmed by UV rays not blocked by your glasses or contact lenses if they don’t wear anything else on their eyes with SPF protection.
Spinach has antioxidants that prevent your cells from being damaged by free radicals:
Spinach, as a leafy green vegetable, has a higher level of flavonoids and antioxidant activity than other vegetables. In fact, it contains more calcium, vitamin C, iron, and beta-carotene per serving than any other leafy green vegetable!
Along with eating plenty of dark-green vegetables like spinach on the diet, you should also take supplemental antioxidant supports to ensure that your body remains properly hydrated on the inside and protected against further free radical damage externally. Natural plant sources of vitamin E include almonds, avocados (yes even if they’re processed) pumpkin seeds (pepitas), apricots (dried), wheat germ oil (or flaxseed oils.
Spinach supports heart health:
According to researchers, spinach contains a particular type of antioxidant that can prevent stiffening and other characteristics associated with cardiovascular disease.
The plant compound indole-3 carbinol (I3C) has been found to enhance the body’s production of nitric oxide, which reduces vascular stiffness. Nitric Oxide is key for controlling blood pressure, as high levels of nitric oxide will cause the arteries and capillaries to dilate and allow more blood flow. When there’s less dilation, it means higher blood pressure because not as much blood is able to flow through tightened vessels.
Moreover, it has antioxidants that fight against the detrimental effect of free radicals thereby reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.
Spinach is high in iron, which can be difficult for some people to digest. Iron supplementation with ferrous sulfate has been shown to have many side effects including constipation with bloating, vomiting, heartburn, or nausea.
Spinach is good for you, but eating too much can give you some unwanted side effects. The most common of these are indigestion and gas. They also make your teeth yellow, though this effect will fade soon after eating them ceases.
The oxalates in spinach are powerful bind-to-proteins molecules that encourage the formation of kidney stones or gallstones. This happens because spinach greens contain a pigment called “phylloquinone” which comes from the word phyllon, meaning leaf, so it would be expected to have an oxidizing effect on some other molecule – more often than not some kind of protein molecule which is made up of various amino acids joined together in chains with peptide bonds.
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