You must be knowing about spinach. It’s the friendly green vegetable that parents ensure to add to their children’s diet. Spinach comes from the amaranth family and is originally from Persia. It has a strong nutritional profile as it contains fiber, antioxidants, vitamins A, C, K. folic acid, iron, and calcium. It also comprises of health-boosting plant compounds such as lutein, quercetin, zeaxanthin, etc. This leafy green vegetable is eaten raw as well as served as a part of dishes. Owing to its high content of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, this veggie is great for health.
Wondering which merits for health it brings along? Here are 11 health benefits provided by spinach:
1 – Improves eyesight and promotes eye health
Spinach works wonders for your visual organs as it sharpens your sight. This is because the green leafy vegetable is an abundant source of beta-carotene, xanthene, and lutein, which are all great for vision. What’s more, the anti-inflammatory properties of this veggie can also relieve your eyes of irritation. The carotenoids in spinach come packed with antioxidants that can fight off free radical damage and prevent macular degeneration and glaucoma.
2 – Strengthens muscles and protects the heart
One of the many antioxidants that spinach boasts is C0-Q10. This antioxidant plays a vital role in strengthening muscles. Since the heart is also a muscle, it is also strengthened. A strong heart pumps blood optimally to all the organs of the body. This feature of spinach enables it to improve cardiovascular health. It can, hence, even prevent a bunch of heart-related problems such as hyperlipidemia, hypertension, heart failure, and coronary heart disease.
3 – Boosts mental health and prevents cognitive decline
There are a whole lot of components in spinach that boost brain health. These include potassium, folate, and several many antioxidants. The antioxidant content in spinach has been linked to mitochondrial activity which plays a role in cognitive working. The folate in the vegetable protects against the development of Alzheimer’s disease whereas potassium improves neural activity and concentration. This way, spinach protects against mental decline and improves brain health.
4 – Helps control inflammation
Spinach also has anti-inflammatory properties. This is because it contains many anti-inflammatory compounds. The anti-inflammatory components that spinach contains are categorized under methylenedioxy flavonoid glucuronides. These make spinach one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Not only is the leafy veggie, therefore, able to protect the heart from inflammation, but it can also reduce pain that comes with arthritis and gout.
5 – Encourages blood clotting and reduces blood pressure
Spinach also contains vitamin K. This vitamin is of use in the formation of blood clots and treatment of hemophilia. Vitamin K also keeps excessive bleeding in control in the same way. Spinach also allows for lowering blood pressure since it can combat the effects of sodium thanks to its potassium rich composition. By moderating blood pressure levels, spinach also benefits cardiovascular health and lowers the risk of heart disease.
6 – Prevents oxidative stress through antioxidants
Metabolic processes play an essential role in the body. However, as their by-products, free radicals are created. These free radicals cause damage in the form of oxidative stress. This accelerates aging and also ups the risks of developing cancer and diabetes. The antioxidant capacity of spinach fights off oxidative stress. This prevents damage as well. Studies conducted on animals and humans prove that the antioxidants in spinach provide these benefits.
7 – Protects against the development of cancer
Two components that are housed in this leafy green vegetable called MGDG and SQDG can slow the growth of cancer. A study showed that these two can slow the growth of and even decrease the size of tumors. Spinach intake has been linked to lower risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer. It can also prevent lung and bladder cancer. Chlorophyll has also been shown to be efficient at blocking cancer-causing effects.
8 – Enhances metabolic activity
This vegetable is also great for anyone who is looking to give his metabolism a boost. The proteins found in spinach can be easily broken down into amino acids in the body with the help of enzymes. These proteins enhance metabolic activity and encourage weight loss. Moreover, they also help in the development and growth of muscles and the healing of wounds. They reduce cravings too which also helps in reducing one’s weight.
9 – Betters bone health
Spinach has, as mentioned above, high markers of vitamin K. Low levels of this vitamin are associated with bone fractures. Vitamin K intake modifies bone matrix proteins and also improves calcium absorption. Spinach also contains calcium, a mineral very essential for bones. Furthermore, vitamin K also reduces the quantity of calcium that leaves your body along with urine. Vitamins A and C can also be found in spinach. These two are also good for bone health.
10 – Enables growth in children
Popeye loved spinach for a reason – to promote it among children. Spinach comes loaded with several nutrients that provide a bunch of health benefits. Spinach consumption can make people stronger. This vegetable contains proteins, vitamins, phytonutrients, and minerals. These are all of help in one’s growth stages. In fact, spinach also helps in fetal development as it provides folate and vitamin A. The vegetable plays a role in the development of the nervous system of the fetus.
11 – Works for improving skin and hair condition
Spinach is a great way to improve the condition of your skin and hair as well. This is because spinach contains vitamin A which regulates oil production in skin pores. This way skin and hair are kept moisturized and acne is prevented. Moreover, the high vitamin C content of this veggie works to build collagen which is a structural component of skin and hair. It promotes skin elasticity and prevents skin from sagging and becoming wrinkly. Plus, the iron in spinach also prevents hair loss.
Side Effects Of Spinach Consumption
While spinach comes with several health advantages, it may not be a great vegetable for some people. This is because for certain people, this leafy green veggie comes with adverse side effects. Here are two negative side effects that typically accompany spinach intake:
1 – Kidney stone development
Spinach intake can lead to the formation of small stones due to the buildup of mineral salts, and acid. Spinach consumption commonly leads to the development of calcium oxalate stones. Therefore, those who fear developing kidney stones must avoid eating spinach in large quantities.
2 – Formation of blood clots
We talked about how spinach can be of aid in blood clot formation which helps in healing wounds and preventing excess blood from spilling. This is not only a pro but a con as well. Hence those who are taking blood-thinning medications may want to avoid over-intake of spinach.
Spinach is a health promoting food that improves bone, brain, digestive, and eye health. This vegetable is an amazing source of several vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant compounds. More benefits also accompany the consumption of this leafy green veggie. However, if you fear developing kidney stones because your kidney functionality is already not optimal or take blood-thinners, you might want to avoid eating too much spinach.