29 Spinach Health Benefits
Quite simply, spinach is a superfood. It has this label because it’s loaded full of nutrients and minerals that help improve your health in a number of ways. This dark, leafy green is highly important for maintaining healthy skin, bones, hair, and general health. It’s been used to help aid health and medication for centuries by a range of different cultures.
What’s great is that it’s extremely easy to incorporate spinach into your diet. There are so many healthy and easy to follow recipes you can try which use spinach to bulk out your favorite meals.
Spinach is highly recognizable due to its frequent use as the go-to power source of the cartoon character, Popeye. Eating spinach would see Popeye’s muscles grow suddenly and help him to defeat his enemies with his new-found strength. Whilst there could potentially be some truth in this and eating spinach is certainly beneficial, the effects seen in Popeye cartoons may be slightly exaggerated. Here are some of the real health benefits of spinach.
Health Benefits of Spinach
Reduce the Impact of Free Radicals
Free radicals occur as a byproduct of your metabolism doing its job. The main problem is that they can also cause oxidative stress to your cells. This, in turn, can lead to premature signs of aging and increase your risk of cancer and diabetes. Thankfully, spinach has a high level of antioxidants which helps to fight oxidative stress. This makes spinach great for reducing many of the effects of free radicals.
Spinach contains a high level of substances call zeaxanthin and lutein. These are largely what gives the leaves their dark green color. Well, our eyes contain the same high quality of color pigmentations. The high level of pigmentation in our eyes is what helps to protect them from sunlight.
By eating spinach, we keep the levels of pigments in our eyes maintained and therefore maintain the sun protection in them. Furthermore, these pigments are also known to help protect against a number of causes of blindness. Some studies even suggest that by consuming foods like spinach which contain these pigments, we may be able to reverse some existing damage.
Spinach contains two compounds which are known to help slow down cancer growth. Several studies have linked eating spinach to a reduction in the growth of cancer tumors. The leafy food seems to be most impactful against breast cancer. As previously mentioned, spinach also contains high levels of antioxidants, which could largely be a contributing factor to its cancer fighter abilities.
The high level of nitrates in spinach are responsible for a number of its health benefits. Nitrates have been shown to help control blood pressure and keep it at a steady level. As such, it can help to reduce the risk of conditions such as a stroke or heart attack.
High Levels of Iron
Getting enough iron into your diet is crucial for energy levels, oxidized blood cells and a host of other bodily functions. Spinach contains loads of it! Try combining these leafy greens with citrus fruits. This’ll help with your mineral absorption to really get the most out of your new iron source.
Great Source of Calcium
Spinach contains high levels of calcium, as much as 250 mg per cup of leaves. Calcium has a number of uses in the body but the most recognized is its positive effect on bone and teeth strength. However, it can be hard for the body to absorb the calcium without a little help, so try combining spinach with dairy products.
High Levels of Magnesium
Spinach is also one of the best dietary sources of magnesium. This particular mineral is used in the regulation of your metabolism, muscle maintenance, nerve function and regulating your heart rhythm. It plays a huge number of roles within the body so it’s important that you make sure you get enough.
Spinach contains a number of antioxidants. One, in particular, alpha-lipoic acid, is known to help lower the levels of glucose in your blood. This is hugely beneficial for those suffering from diabetes. It’s ability to prevent oxidative stress also makes it a great addition to a diabetic’s diet.
A study of over 400 children with asthma compared to over 500 children who did not suffer from the condition highlighted the fact that children with asthma struggle to take in certain nutrients. One of the nutrients they struggle to take in is beta-carotene which Spinach has lots of! This is thought to have the potential to ease asthma-related symptoms.
Because spinach contains high levels of calcium, it’s an obvious aid for bone strength. Not only that but it also has high levels of vitamin K which helps to improve the absorption of calcium. It does this by reducing the amount of calcium that is lost through urine. Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk of bone fracture.
Promotes Digestive Regularity
Another health benefit of spinach is its high fiber content. This helps to regulate your bowel movements and aid a smooth digestion process.
Spinach has large quantities of many vitamins and minerals. But it’s its high levels of vitamin A which are most beneficial to the skin. This particular vitamin helps to moderate the levels of oil produced by your pores and hair follicles.
A small amount of this natural oil helps to moisturize the skin, but too much can clog pores and cause pimples. By managing the production of oil spinach helps to keep your skin looking smooth and clear. Spinach also contains high levels of vitamin C which is crucial for the production of collagen which helps to give your skin it’s firm structure.
Reduce Hair Loss
Did you know that an iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of hair loss? Well, because spinach contains such high levels of iron it’s great for reducing the risk of baldness and can strengthen your existing hair.
Treats Macular Degeneration
Studies have indicated that eating spinach can increase the occurrence of vital pigments in the eye that reduces the risk of macular degeneration. It’s ability to fight off free radicals also helps to prevent age-related conditions such as glaucoma which could cause blindness if left untreated.
- Provides Neurological Benefits
Potentially one of the most outstanding health benefits of spinach is its ability to provide neurological benefits. The high quantities of potassium, folate, and antioxidants contained in spinach are known to benefit the brain. In fact, many studies suggest that it can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Potassium, in particular, is crucial for brain health as it can increase blood flow to the brain. This improved cognition and concentration.
The high vitamin K levels in spinach help to reduce the effects of hemophilia by managing blood clotting. It helps to increase the production of prothrombin which helps blood to clot, thus reducing the main problem suffered by hemophiliacs. It prevents excess bleeding and ensures your liver continues to function quickly.
The antioxidants present in spinach have an important role to play in strengthening your muscles – particularly your heart muscles. This is probably the most commonly thought of health benefit of spinach thanks to the Popeye cartoons. But it’s the strengthening of your heart muscles that is hugely valuable. Stronger heart muscles are crucial for reducing the risk of heart failure and coronary heart disease.
Reduces Risk of Cataracts
One of the damaging effects of UV rays is the increased risk of cataracts. Left untreated cataracts can lead to serious issues with your sight. The high levels of pigments and antioxidants in spinach help to improve the protection of your eyes and reduce the risk of cataracts.
Another health benefit of spinach is its positive impact on your metabolism. The impressive level of protein in spinach are easily broken down by the enzymes in our body and turned into essential amino acids. These amino acids are vital for muscle growth and development as well as aiding smooth digestion.
Acts as an Anti-ulcerative
Studies have found that one of the health benefits of spinach is its ability to protect the stomach’s mucous membrane. In doing so, spinach is great at reducing the risk of stomach and gastric ulcers. Additionally, spinach contains glycoglycerolipids which can strengthen the lining of your intestines, preventing inflammation and easing digestion.
Atherosclerosis a condition caused by the hardening of your artery walls. One of the pigments contained in spinach is key to reducing cholesterol and fatty deposits. This means it can significantly reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
Helps with Foetal Development
The folate found in spinach is key for fetal growth and development of the nervous system in the womb. In fact, many issues such as a cleft palate or spina bifida are thought to be linked to a lack of folate. The high levels of vitamin A in spinach are also key to lung development and can be transferred from mother to baby through breastfeeding too.
Spinach contains a large number of anti-inflammatory compounds making it one of the most effective vegetables to reducing inflammation in several areas of the body. In reducing inflammation, spinach can help to reduce the pain caused by gout and arthritis. It also helps to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Proteins for Infant Growth
We already know that cartoon character Popeye loves spinach. The cartoon was often credited with getting kids into eating the healthy leafy green. Which is great because the proteins the leaves contain are key to infantile development.
Maintained Energy Levels
Deficiencies in Vitamin B are known to lead a decreased ability to perform at your best in physical sports. A lack of substances like vitamin B-6, thiamin and riboflavin will also cause problems. These are crucial to the repair of red blood cells which are needed to take oxygen to your cells during physical activity. Thankfully, spinach is packed full of these vitamins and minerals, making it great at maintaining your energy levels.
Eases Your Constipation
If you’re struggling to go to the toilet, fiber is your go-to. Spinach is full of beneficial fiber and is therefore great at easing a blocked bowel. Additionally, the high magnesium levels in spinach help your colon to contract which forces water and waste to wash through your body.
It Promotes Weight-loss
An additional health benefit of spinach is that whilst it’s packed full of vitamins and nutrients, it isn’t packed with calories. In fact, an entire bunch of spinach contains just 78 calories. But that isn’t the only reason it’s great for your diet. Because spinach as a rich thylakoid content it can help to reduce cravings for food between meals.
Faster Recovery from Injuries
As an excellent source of vitamin K, spinach is great at helping your blood to clot properly. This means that wounds and injuries can recover much faster. It’s also great for improving the health of your heart.
Boost Your Immune System
Because it has both a high variety of nutrients and a high level of nutrients, spinach is great for boosting your immune system. As well as containing high levels of vitamin A and B, spinach contains high levels of nutrients that help to decrease the effects of free radicals. This helps to fight off cancer and increases the level of white blood cells – which are key to fighting off a number of diseases.
Things to Consider
Although spinach is generally considered to be very healthy, it may have some adverse effects in some people.
The most common variety of kidney stones are calcium stones which could be caused by a build-up of calcium. Because spinach has a high concentration of calcium, this could lead to just such a build up and eventually may lead to kidney stones. If you’re prone to kidney stones it’s maybe wise to limit your intake of spinach and other high calcium foods.
Spinach has a very high vitamin K1 content which serves a number of bodily functions. One of the most well-known benefits of this particular vitamin is the ability to improve blood clotting. For people taking blood-thinning medications such as warfarin too much, vitamin K1 could have an adverse effect. In fact, if you are taking blood thinning medication it may be wise to cut out spinach from your diet altogether