Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and vitamin C. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, protein and choline. Additionally, spinach is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, pantothenic acid and selenium. In addition to the nutrient richness of spinach in terms of these conventional nutrients, spinach also provides the carotenoids lutein, neoxanthin, and violaxanthin; the flavonoids spinacetin, patuletin, and jaceidin; and naturally-occurring nitrates. (www.whfoods.org)
The rich beneficial components of green leafy vegetable gives it an incredible list of benefits including;
1. Benefits for Weight Loss
Thylakoid found in spinach can curb cravings and hunger which can further help in weight loss. The leaf is low in calories and fat. It is very nutritious and has a good quality of fat soluble dietary fibre. Besides, this fibre aids in digestion prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar and curbs overeating.
Read also: Nutrition Facts about Spinach
Spinach is rich in flavonoids. Flavonoid is a phytonutrient with anti-cancer properties. It has been found to be effective in slowing down cell division in human stomach and skin cancer cells. Moreover, spinach has proven to be effective in providing protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer.
3. Promotes Eye Health and Good eyesight
Antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin in spinach, protect the eye from cataracts. Zeaxanthin is an important dietary carotenoid which is absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes, providing light filtering functions. Besides, it maintains healthy mucus membranes, essential for normal eyesight.
4. Maintains Healthy Bones, Teeth and Nails.
Vitamin K in spinach is vital for maintaining healthy bone. One cup of boiled spinach provides around 1000% of the RDA of vitamin K. This lowers and controls the over activation of osteoclasts. Osteoclasts are the cells that aid in breaking down the bone structure over a short period of time. Vitamin K also promotes the synthesis of osteocalcin, the protein that is essential for maintaining the strength and density of bones. Apart from this, other minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus also help in building up of strong bones. This, in turn, can prevent an individual from developing osteoporosis. These minerals are also essential for maintaining healthy teeth and nails.
5. Maintains Blood Pressure
Spinach is high in potassium and low in sodium. The potassium lowers blood pressure as sodium raise it. This makes the composition very beneficial for patients with high blood pressure. The folate present in spinach also contributes to the reduction of hypertension and relaxes blood vessels, while maintaining proper blood flow. By reducing blood pressure and relaxing the tension of vessels and arteries, you can reduce stress on the cardiovascular system and increase oxygenation to the body’s organ systems for optimal functionality. Vitamin C also plays an important role in lowering high blood pressure. Peptides are also effective in lowering blood pressure as they inhibit the angiotensin I-converting enzyme.
6. Relaxes the Body
It contains tremendous amounts of zinc and magnesium. This enables you to sleep better at night, making way for more effective healing. Magnesium helps in replenishing your lost energy within seconds. A good quality sleep rests your tired eyes, thus relaxing your body as a whole.
7. Promotes Gastrointestinal Health
Consuming more of spinach promotes gastrointestinal health. The beta-carotene and vitamin C present in it protect the cells of the body’s colon from the harmful effects of free radicals. Besides, folate prevents DNA damage and mutations in colon cells.
8. Brain and Nervous Function
Consuming spinach daily makes your brain young and active. Spinach contains folate, vitamin K and vitamin C which help in modulating the hormone production of our nervous system. In addition, vitamin K promotes a healthy nervous system and brain function by facilitating the synthesis of sphingolipids, the crucial fat that makes up the Myelin sheath around our nerves. And so, spinach can be beneficial in correcting behavioural and cognitive issues.
9. Prevents Atherosclerosis and Heart Attack
Excessive fat deposition can cause thickening of the human artery wall resulting in Atherosclerosis. Heart attacks are caused due to the hardening of the artery walls. Spinach is rich in Lutein content which prevents thickening of the walls of arteries, thus reducing the risk of heart attack. Besides, spinach contains a high-quality nitrite which not only helps in preventing the occurrence of a heart attack but also cures the heart diseases associated with fat deposition.
10. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Neoxanthin and violaxanthin, found in spinach, are two anti-inflammatory epoxy-xanthophylls that regulate inflammation. Thus, reducing the inflammation and associated pain from conditions like arthritis, gout, osteoporosis, migraine headaches and asthma.
11. Aids in Calcification
Being rich in vitamin K, spinach aids in calcification. This is because this vitamin is a crucial component of the process called carboxylation which produces the matrix Gla protein. This directly prevents calcium from forming in tissue, thus fighting atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
12. Boosts Immunity
Vitamin A in spinach protects and strengthens the entry points into the human body, such as mucous membranes, respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts besides being a key component of the white blood cells that fight infection. One cup of spinach gives you much as 337% of the RDA of vitamin A.
13. Prevents Anaemia
An excellent source of iron to prevent anaemia. It is important for menstruating women, growing children and adolescents. Iron is also needed for good energy because it is a component of haemoglobin which carries oxygen to all cells of the body. Moreover, it provides a lot fewer calories and is fat and cholesterol free.
14. Cures Acne
To get rid of acne, you can make a face mask by blending spinach with little water and applying it on your face for about 20 minutes. This removes dirt, oil and inflammation from your skin, refreshing and rejuvenating it from within.
Ravi Teja recommends, drinking spinach juice with other vegetable juices mixed in the following proportions, ½ tomato, ¼ cucumber, 1 carrot, 1 celery, ½ red pepper, ½ cup cabbage, 1 green onion and a handful of spinach. Blend these ingredients to get the juice and drink it daily. This, he says, is effective for skin healing and prevents acne.
15. Protects Skin from Sun
It is rich in vitamin B which protects your skin from the harmful ultra violet rays. The ultra-violet rays cause sun damage, skin cancer and premature ageing of the skin.
16. Anti-ageing Benefits
The free radicals in your body damage your skin, thereby causing pre-mature ageing. These free radicals are destroyed by the antioxidants in spinach. So, when you eat spinach regularly, you will maintain your skin and slow down age related degeneration, making your skin look younger and rejuvenated.
17. Repairs Skin and Improves Complexion
Rich in vitamin K and folate, spinach gives you a clear complexion by minimizing acne, bruising on the skin and dark circles. The bounty of vitamin and minerals in this vegetable give you quick relief from dry itchy skin, thus providing you with a radiant complexion. The vitamin A improves skin tone whereas vitamin C aids in skin cells growth. Moreover, the antioxidants and nutrients give you a uniform skin complexion, making your skin look radiant.
18. Promotes Hair Growth
Vitamins B, C and E, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids are present spinach and are required for healthy hair growth. Iron helps the red blood cells carry oxygen to hair follicles which are essential for healthy hair growth and strong strands.
19. Prevents Hair Loss
Hair loss is often caused due to the deficiency of iron. This mineral strengthens the hair strands by enabling the blood cells to carry oxygen to the hair follicles. Deficiency of iron causes anaemia which results in hair loss among others. Spinach is rich in folate and iron. Whiles folate aids the creation of red blood cells, iron helps them carry oxygen, thus combating hair loss.
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