Spinach is a dark green leafy vegetable which belongs to the Chenopodiaceae family. It was originated in Arabia and first cultivated 2000 years ago in Persia, where the word “spinach” is derived from the Persian word ‘ispanai‘ meaning ‘green hand, and then became ‘spinach’ in English.
Spinach is probably one of the best green leafy vegetables because it packed with numerous health benefits and nutritional value. It can be eaten cooked or raw, but it is recommended to steam or eat them raw as salad, because that can preserves the nutrients in it.
A serving of spinach (100g) contains 2.3 grams of protein, 3.2 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of iron and 81 grams of Calcium. It also rich of various vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, thiamin, phosphorus, riboflavin, sodium, potassium and magnesium.
In addition, spinach also contains many essential antioxidants and phytochemicals that help protect the body against various disease and illness. Here are some health benefits of Spinach:
- Fight Cancer Cells
Vitamin A and C plus fiber, folic acid and 13 different flavonoids found in spinach are very beneficial in fighting against cancer cells. A study shown that these properties in spinach lower the cancer risk by 34%, particularly in breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer and stomach cancer.
- Anti-Inflammatory properties
Spinach contains high alkalinity properties that make this vegetable a perfect choice of diet food for people suffering from inflammatory ailments, like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
- Reduce Cardiovascular disease risk
Spinach is a good source of folate, which may reduce homocysteine, an amino acid found in blood. High level of homocysteine is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Spinach also contains choline and inositol, which help prevent hardening of the arteries.
- Lower High Blood Pressure
Spinach is rich in potassium and low in sodium. The balanced levels of these minerals are very beneficial for patients with high blood pressure as potassium lowers and sodium increases blood pressure levels. Folate found in spinach also may help lower high blood pressure and relaxes blood vessels, thus maintaining proper blood flow.
- Prevent Osteoporosis
A cup of fresh spinach leaves provides almost 200% of daily value for vitamin K. The high amount of vitamin k in spinach is essential for anchoring calcium in the bones, thus making it important for preventing osteoporosis. Apart from that, other minerals like magnesium, zinc, copper and phosphorus present in spinach also help in building up of strong bones.
- Prevent Diabetes
Spinach is very useful for people suffering for diabetes as well. The magnesium found in spinach helps to prevent complications occurring after diabetes. Regular consumption of spinach helps control your blood sugar and prevents it from fluctuating too much.
- Prevent Anemia
Spinach is an excellent source of iron. The higher amount of iron in spinach is very beneficial in preventing anemia. They help regenerate or reproduce the red blood cells, which carries oxygen to every part of the body.
- Good for Weight Loss
Spinach contains large amount of iron which increase your metabolism as well as the amount of oxygen that flows through your body. As a result, your body burns more fat and lead to losing weight.
- Improve Eyesight
Spinach is a rich source of Lutein, a carotenoid which known to help protect against cataracts and other age-related macular degeneration. Spinach is also rich in vitamin A, which makes it very beneficial for eyesight.
- Maintain a Healthy Gastrointestinal
The beta-carotene and vitamin C contained in spinach work to protect colon cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. Folate found in spinach also helps prevent the mutations and DNA damage in intestinal cells.
- Protect Skin against UV rays
Vitamin B in spinach helps in protecting the skin from the harmful rays of sun particularly UV rays. This ensure that you have a healthy glowing skin.
- Promotes a Healthy Pregnancy
Growing fetus requires folate for proper development of a new nervous system. Vitamin A found in spinach also needed in lung development of foetus and during breastfeeding. This can prevent threatened abortion and bleeding intentional.
- Prevent Alzheimer’s disease
Low levels of vitamin B12 or folate may have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and spinach is rich in these two essential nutrients, thus helps prevent the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Slow down the Aging process
Spinach also known as the anti-aging vegetable that slows down age related degeneration and prevents premature aging.
- Treat Bleeding Gums
A mixture of spinach and carrot juice is helpful in treating bleeding gums which is caused by the vitamin C deficiency and too much intake of refined sugar.