Spinach is a green, leafy vegetable that is packed with health benefits, which I will be discussing in this article.
You have probably asked many times: Is Spinach healthy or is it really as healthy as it is said to be? I had wondered about this question too, and I have come to the conclusion that there are definitely many reasons to eat spinach on a daily basis.
After doing some research over time about spinach, I can say that it is actually one of my favorite vegetables because of the benefits I have from eating it. It took me some time to get used to eating so many leafy greens as I currently do. My first 25 years of life were marked by eating literally no leafy vegetables at all. They just did not taste good nor did we have them in our house regularly. I would eat a little of lettuce here and there with my burgers, but that was it. And salads were rarely on our table and nobody asked us to eat them.
After many years, during some visits to my nutritionist, I learned many things about my eating habits and one of them was how spinach is beneficial to your body. I found that there is more to a salad than just plain lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise, as we had learned at home. That is when I came across different kinds of lettuces and also spinach in the superstore.
One problem why I didn’t learn about spinach before is because we did not find it in any store nearby. Only in recent years did we start to find different kinds of lettuce, spinach, kale, etc. in superstores around us.
At first, my taste buds refused to eat lots of spinach just for the sake of eating it. I disliked it strongly, but little by little did I get used to it more and more. Over time, after changing my complete mindset about food and lifestyle, I started to love spinach and you will always find a bag of spinach in my shopping cart after that (Note: I also eat other leafy greens like kale, different kinds of lettuces, among other, but spinach is and stays among my favorites).
I have also learned why spinach is so important for you to eat regularly. This is a vegetable packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals like you cannot find in another vegetable of its kind.
Let me give you some quick health benefits that spinach gives you.
5 Facts About Spinach
1) Spinach keeps your digestive tracts healthy. It helps your metabolism. Spinach is packed with fiber, which helps your digestive tracts to be healthy. I often eat a handful of raw spinach whenever I feel a little constipated. It helps immediately. Although research says that spinach is not considered a high fiber food, it is very beneficial for your metabolism. Spinach is known to be higher in fiber after cooking, which I have not tried. All in all, spinach is a good fiber source.
2) It is well-known to help prevent cancer. Although research cannot confirm that spinach prevents cancer, there is enough proof that the nutritional contents of spinach are enough to play a role in guarding the body against cancer. Studies made on people that eat spinach on a regular basis were less likely to develop esophageal cancer. It is also believed that mouth and stomach cancer, as well as ovarian, colorectal, lung and endometrial cancer, can be prevented with a high intake of spinach. This is due to the high source of carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) that is found in spinach.
3) Spinach lowers blood pressure. There are three ingredients in this leafy green vegetable that help lower blood pressure, namely potassium, folate, and magnesium. Because of its high potassium levels, sodium effects are drastically reduced (sodium being the problem for people with hypertension). Those with problems with hypertension would likely need a rather high intake of spinach to maintain a healthy blood pressure level, but it definitely is a healthier option than taking medicine if your problem is not too developed.
4) An adequate intake of spinach can prevent hair loss and give you healthy skin. Another great benefit is the high source of iron that spinach is. Iron deficiency causes anemia, which can be responsible in some cases for unhealthy skin and hair loss because the blood supply is lower to the roots of the hair. Also, vitamins A and C are found in spinach, which the body uses to produce oil on the scalp, which in turn can help with healthy hair but also more hair growth.
Although there is no guarantee that you will have beautiful skin if you eat lots of spinach, this vegetable is packed with vitamins and minerals which are responsible to slow the aging process. And who does not want that? It is definitely worth a try.
5) Spinach promotes bone health. Along with regular exercise, and different colors of foods, spinach is rich in vitamin K and calcium, which makes healthier bones. You should not rely on spinach as your only source of calcium intake, but there is enough calcium and vitamin K in it to assure that you reap some of its benefits for your bone health.
There are many more health benefits related to eating spinach than the ones that I mentioned above. As I stated before, this vegetable has a myriad of benefits which researchers have yet to uncover to fully understand how healthy spinach is for you.
Here are a few more interesting numbers about spinach.
… A Little More About Spinach
Spinach is considered the most nutritious vegetable known to mankind, although it has only around 90 calories in 1 lb. A pound of spinach, if you have no idea, is a lot of spinach. Your plate can probably not even hold that. That means that you can eat plenty of spinach and not have to worry about eating too many calories.
If you consider the small number of calories that spinach has, it is a good protein source, but low in fat, yet it is a good source of omega-3 fats.
For a clearer understanding of it, 3.5 oz of spinach daily:
a) Covers your daily vitamin A needs up to 70%.
b) Gives you your daily needed folic acid. (Note: Partners trying to conceive should have a high intake of spinach months before conceiving to make sure both have a high level of folic acid in order to prevent malformations in the baby. A pregnant woman should eat good amounts of spinach regularly during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to the anti-anemic properties it has).
c) Is known to cover up to 50% of your daily vitamin C needs.
d) Is a strong and reliable source of magnesium and iron, as I mentioned above.
There is reliable research showing that people over the age of 55 that eat spinach regularly, are less likely to develop poor vision or even blindness over time due to the properties of spinach. It contains common carotenoids (pigments that are responsible for colors in some vegetables and fruit, for instance, carrots, to keep the plant healthy). Carotenoids consumed by humans can lead to healthy vision, preventing the retina from deterioration, which is a leading cause of blindness in elderly people.
Carrots, famous for good eyesight, are not as effective as spinach.
How To Incorporate Spinach Into Your Diet?
Spinach is a very versatile vegetable; therefore you find a number of ways to eat spinach. Any of the following forms to incorporate spinach into your diet is fine and is a matter of preference.
a) Raw. Raw spinach is the best way to eat your spinach. Raw is my personal favorite. I love to eat a handful of raw spinach, unaccompanied, at any given meal, depending what else I have on my plate. For me, spinach is my side dishes. But that is personal choice and preference.
There are a number of ways you can put them raw into your salads. If you like a sweet salad, strawberries and/or blueberries combine very well with it. If you like it saltier, you would pick avocados and definitely add your favorite nuts (almonds are my pick) and seeds (poppy or hemp for me). You can create delicious salads with spinach.
b) Frozen. Frozen spinach loses a little of its vitamin C, but having it year round makes it a plus. However, you can likely get spinach at the local market or store year-round, and if so, use them raw, but otherwise, frozen is a good alternative, especially if you use them cooked, my next point. Frozen spinach works really well with smoothies.
c) Cooked. Steamed is the state where spinach loses fewer properties, but you can also eat it cooked or even sauteéd. I like to add it sometimes to soups (Tuscany soup) and I also prepare Stir-fry with spinach sometimes. Either way, they are still healthy and conserve many of their properties.
d) Juices. This is most likely the favorite for people that do not like spinach. If you cook for your family and your spouse or children do not like it, just throw a handful of spinach into the blender and nobody will ever notice because you will not perceive the taste of it if you mix it with other ingredients in your smoothies or juices. That is how you get the rich nutrients and health benefits from spinach to your family members.
And there you have it, the “S” in Spinach for Superfoods! One of my favorites and hopefully your too after reading this.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and insights about spinach. Do you eat it often as well? And how do you incorporate it into your diet?
Happy spinach eating,
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