Skip to content

What Are the Health Benefits of Spinach?

What Are the Health Benefits of Spinach

Understand how the mighty leafy green benefits your body, whether raw or cooked.

Spinach is one of the most versatile leafy green veggies. It’s great in smoothies, cooled salads, steamed and sautéed as a side dish, stir-fried, and even blended into baked goods like brownies.

Spinach provides several health benefits as well. It is high in vitamins and antioxidants, which help to fight against chronic diseases and boost brain, cardiovascular, and eye health. And you can easily incorporate spinach into your meals to reap the benefits.

Here are six health benefits of eating more spinach and simple methods to include it in your meals and snacks.

It’s Full of Nutrients

According to the USDA, three cups of raw spinach have about 20 calories, less than one gram of fat, two grams of protein, three grams of carbs, and two grams of fiber.

Despite having minimal calories, spinach is high in nutrients. A three-cup serving contains over 300% of daily vitamin K intake. The leafy green vegetable also includes more than 160% and 40% of the average daily value of vitamins A and C, respectively. According to the National Library of Medicine, vitamins K and A assist in building strong bones, while vitamin C aids in wound healing.

Spinach also has 45% of the daily intake for folate, a B vitamin that aids in forming red blood cells and DNA. In addition, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and trace levels of other B vitamins are also present.

It’s High in Antioxidants

In addition to its many vitamins and minerals, spinach has antioxidants linked to anti-inflammation and disease protection.

Some flavonoids found in spinach include kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin, and isorhamnetin. According to the USDA, Flavonoids are substances that may help protect you against cancer and cardiovascular and inflammatory illnesses.

It Helps Protect Against Diseases

Researchers evaluated the preventive properties of spinach in a paper published in the journal Food & Function in 2016.

They claimed that spinach components could lower oxidative stress. They also favor gene expression or the activation of specific genes in metabolism and inflammation. Furthermore, those compounds cause the release of satiety hormones, which cause you to feel full and satisfied after eating spinach.

It Supports Brain Health

Spinach’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a strong contender for brain protection, particularly against aging.

For almost five years, researchers studied the eating habits and cognitive ability of over 900 adults aged 58 to 98. They discovered a significant reduction in the rate of cognitive loss in those who ingested more leafy green vegetables than others.

According to the study, people who ate one to two servings of those vegetables daily had the same cognitive capacities as those who were 7.5 years younger than their actual age.

It Helps Manage Blood Pressure

Spinach contains nitrates, which are naturally occurring compounds. Nitrates dilate or widen blood vessels. This improves blood flow and reduces heat stress.

Blood pressure was also reduced by the spinach drink, as well as the beetroot juice and rocket salad drinks. Diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number on a blood pressure reading that indicates the amount of pressure in your arteries between heartbeats) stayed low for five hours after the spinach and rocket salad beverages were consumed.

It May Help Eye Health

Lutein, one of the antioxidants found in spinach, may help to lessen the incidence of age-related macular degeneration. According to the National Eye Institute, AMD is an eye disease that can obscure the clear, central vision required for reading and driving. It is the primary cause of visual loss in persons over 55. Because there is no cure for AMD, prevention is essential.

To protect the eyes, the macular pigment works as internal sunglasses. MPOD that is low or diminished is a risk factor for AMD. According to the findings, eating spinach may help reduce the risk of AMD.

How Cooking Spinach Affects Its Nutrients

While integrating spinach into both raw and cooked recipes can assist in maximizing its health advantages, some study indicates that not cooking the greens keeps their lutein concentration.

According to the researchers, the lutein concentration of spinach significantly dropped following various cooking methods. When the researchers fried spinach at a high temperature for two minutes, a significant percentage of the lutein was lost.

To get the most lutein from your spinach, consume it uncooked. For example, try blending spinach with a healthy fat like avocado or nut butter in a smoothie. Lutein is released from the leaves when spinach is chopped into little bits. Furthermore, good fat improves the antioxidant absorption that fights eye damage.

Blanching vegetables, or immersing them in boiling water to remove their skins, drastically lowered their vitamin C concentration. Instead, the researchers discovered that boiling veggies was the most effective method of preserving vitamin C. Cooking also reduced the vitamin E concentration of spinach while increasing the vitamin A amount. This happens when the plant walls soften, releasing and absorbing nutrients.

So, for the best results, consume spinach in various ways—raw, cooked, or both—but avoid overcooking your leafy green vegetables.

Simple Ways to Increase Your Consumption of Spinach

Every day, strive to consume one cup of a leafy green vegetable, such as spinach.

To include a few spinach leaves with each bite, incorporate a handful of spinach into your meals as a bed for whatever else you eat. Toss spinach with a simple vinaigrette made from extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and dried Italian herb seasoning for a quick and easy side dish. Sauté spinach with delicious red bell peppers and crushed red pepper in extra virgin olive oil, or steam and toss with canned olive tapenade or dairy-free pesto.

Add a handful of spinach to the bottom of your grain bowl to increase your vegetable consumption and flip the serving sizes of the greens and grains. Spinach can be blended into anything from a fruit smoothie to pancakes to hummus, and it can also be used in soups, veggie chili, and tacos.

Basically, spinach may be added to almost any recipe. So try it and receive the benefits of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support healthy life.

Learn more: Oven Roasted Asparagus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *