Remember when salads were a bit, well, sad? There was only one sort people went for, and we were never really inventive with our choices. And then along came spinach, a type of leaf, dark green in colour, that changed the salad game forever.
As it turns out, spinach is one of the most versatile vegetables out there. It can be eaten raw or cooked, blended or chopped, canned, frozen, added to pies, pizzas, pasta dishes and sandwiches, and it’s even now considered a smoothie staple. The world has well and truly fallen in love with spinach – and not only because of its delicious taste.
Spinach is often referred to as a superfood because of its highly nutritious properties. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as folic acid, iron, and calcium. It’s high in fibre and magnesium, and is also one of the best sources of plant-based protein.
It’s nutrient-dense whether you eat it raw or cooked, and is a great filling, low-calorie option for anyone interested in following a healthy diet and lifestyle.
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If you’re new to spinach, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Well, we’re here to tell you. Stay tuned to discover the 15 major health benefits of spinach, and learn why it’s worth you adding it to your diet today…
1. It aids digestion
One serving of spinach contains an impressive 2.4 grams of fibre, which comes in at about 10 percent of your daily value. Spinach is a source of insoluble fibre, which helps to encourage good digestion by adding bulk to your stool as food passes through the intestines towards the bowels.
It can also help keep the digestive tract healthy, and prevents complications like haemorrhoids or diverticulitis. Drink lots of water when you consume spinach to get the most out of its digestive properties.
2. It promotes healthy skin
Spinach is considered one of the top five foods to eat for healthy skin, thanks to the high quantity of nutrients it packs. The iron, folate, vitamin E, magnesium, protein, vitamin C, fibre, antioxidant, chlorophyll and vitamin A content in spinach make it a great daily diet staple to keep skin clear and pimple-free.
Spinach’s antioxidant content in particular helps promote healthy skin by fighting against a range of common skin problems and delaying signs of ageing.
3. It improves immune function
Spinach is a good source of vitamin C, which is known for its antioxidant properties, and helps fight off infection in the body. Spinach also contains flavonoids, which, in research, have been proven to prevent common colds in otherwise healthy people.
One study even found that pregnant women who consume vitamin A, another nutrient found in high quantities in spinach, can boost their baby’s immune system for life.
4. It encourages blood clotting
Just a small serving of spinach contains a high amount of vitamin K, a group of fat-soluble vitamins that regulate blood calcium levels and encourage the normal clotting of blood. People with thinner blood than usual may benefit from vitamin K. Without blood clotting, the body could end up bleeding excessively from a minor injury, leaving us at risk of dying – so vitamin K is a vital nutrient for a healthy diet.
5. It’s essential for pregnant women
One of the best sources of folate for pregnant women is spinach. Folate is a B vitamin that has been proved in numerous studies to be essential for healthy development of infants. You can take vitamins to up your folate intake while pregnant, but it’s advised that you don’t rely on those alone.
Eating spinach while pregnant can help prevent serious defects in the unborn baby’s brain and spine, and reduce the risk of a premature birth.
6. It keeps the body oxygenated
Spinach contains iron, which plays a key role in the healthy functioning of red blood cells. These red blood cells carry oxygen around the body, helping us to produce energy and assisting in DNA synthesis. Nitrogen, another nutrient found in spinach, is a chemical that also plays a role in delivering oxygen around the body.
A high intake of nitrogen is essential for reducing the thickness of blood – which can prevent the internal clotting that can lead to heart disease and stroke.
7. It boosts heart health
Speaking of the heart, one of the best ways to prevent problems with the cardiovascular system is to consume a healthy diet including plenty of spinach. Spinach contains a good dose of antioxidants, protein, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which can help you stay at a healthy weight and maintain normal lipid levels.
Spinach’s folate content comes in useful for building healthy cells, which are essential to heart health in the long run.
8. It assists nervous system functioning
One food that works wonders for the nervous system is spinach. It’s packed full of all the essential nutrients for keeping the brain and nervous system healthy, preventing ageing and improving cognitive function. A key mineral in spinach, calcium, is essential for regulating responses of the nervous system to injury.
Almost every cell in the body uses calcium in some way, and it’s vital for hormone production, as well as nerve impulse transmission.
9. It’s linked to improved eye health
You might not have heard of lutein and zeaxanthin, but these little-known antioxidants actually play a pretty vital role in eye health. Spinach is plentiful in both of these nutrients, and a diet rich in the leafy green can not only improve vision, but maintain it in the long run.
A recent study even found that vegetables like spinach can help lower the risk of glaucoma, a condition that affects the nerve connecting the eye and the brain, which can eventually lead to blindness.
10. It reduces the risk of cancer
We know that lutein and zeaxanthin are good for eye health, but it seems there’s no limit to their talents, as they’re also effective at reducing the risk of cancer. These antioxidants have been found to remove unstable molecules, known as free radicals, from the body before they can cause harm.
As free radicals cause damage to cells that can often lead to cancer, eliminating them from the body is the best way to stay free of the disease.
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- 1 full pound in plastic jar, sealed for freshness.
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- Spinach contains many nutritional and medicinal properties which help to strengthen our immune system, boost energy
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11. It wards off infection and inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s normal response to infection or injury, but did you know there’s a chance that it can become chronic? Luckily, spinach has been proven to prevent chronic inflammation – and it’s all thanks to one of our favourite antioxidants again. Lutein was found in a study to be linked to a lower level of inflammation in the blood of people with cardiovascular disease.
On a smaller (but still just as impressive) stage, spinach can help fight signs of temporary inflammation, like swelling, pain, and an itching, burning sensation.
12. It’s great for healthy hair
It’s unsurprising that out of all the foods considered good for hair growth, spinach ranks at the top of the list. Thanks to its beneficial nutrient content of folate, vitamins A and C, and iron, spinach is said to promote hair growth and keep the scalp healthy.
Spinach’s iron content in particular is essential for hair growth, because of its role in assisting red blood cells in carrying oxygen throughout the body, which helps with growth and repair.
13. It promotes bone health
We’ve all been told that dairy products are a good source of calcium, but it’s lesser known that leafy greens like spinach are just as nutrient-rich, if not more. Eating spinach regularly can help to build and protect the bones, keeping bone density at a healthy level. In the long term, calcium can prevent against diseases such as osteoporosis, which causes bones to become weak and brittle.
You can take calcium supplements for good bone health, but getting them from a natural source like spinach is always the better alternative.
14. It aids in diabetes management
Spinach’s high fibre content is responsible for reducing blood glucose levels and controlling type 2 diabetes. Because it has a low glycaemic content and is low in calories, spinach can also help people with diabetes to maintain a healthy weight, which helps to keep the disease under control.
Including leafy vegetables such as spinach in your diet, along with getting enough sleep, regularly exercising, and reducing stress, has been found in a study to work best for people with type 2 diabetes.
15. It prevents asthma
It’s unlikely that you ever thought your diet could be linked to respiration issues, but studies have found that adding spinach to your daily food intake might be what you need to help control asthma symptoms. It’s the folate in spinach that could be especially important for asthma sufferers, with one study finding that children who had folate deficiencies were nearly eight times more likely to experience severe asthma attacks than children who ate enough of the nutrient.
One thing to keep in mind
If you’re now a converted spinach lover, first be sure that you don’t have a history of history of oxalate containing kidney stones. Anyone who does should avoid consuming too much spinach as it’s known to be high in oxalate. Lightly cooking your spinach until it becomes wilted should lower its oxalate content somewhat, making it safer to consume.
It’s clear to see that adding spinach to your diet is only going to benefit your health. Even if you’re not a vegetable fan, you might surprise yourself by how much you enjoy the leafy green. Raw spinach is delicious, but there’s no need to eat it that way – you can also cook it and add it to pretty much anything, it really is that adaptive.
You can buy spinach from almost every supermarket and spinach extract online here while it isn’t the cheapest vegetable, it’s more than worth its price tag. Try tossing it in a salad, adding it to an omelette, or blending it into a curry or a pasta dish for guaranteed tastiness.
If you want to know what you’re missing out on, don’t hesitate to give spinach a go. It makes a delicious asset to a well-rounded, nutritious diet.