Spinach is one of the most adaptable green vegetables. It’s versatile enough to be blended into baked goods like brownies as well as consumed raw in smoothies or steamed and served in a chilled salad.
There are also many positive health effects of spinach. Its vitamin and antioxidant content safeguards against degenerative conditions and improves cognitive, cardiovascular, and visual functioning. And you can get all those benefits just by eating spinach.
Full of Essential Nutrients
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, three cups of raw spinach contain about 20 calories, less than one gramme of fat, two grammes of protein, three grammes of carbohydrates, and two grammes of fibre.
Spinach is low in calories but high in healthy nutrients. If you have three cups, you’ve just eaten more than three times your recommended daily allowance of vitamin K. The leafy green vegetable is also an excellent source of vitamins A and C, providing more than 160% and 40% of the recommended daily allowances, respectively. Vitamins K and A promote healthy bones, and vitamin C aids in the recovery from cuts and scrapes, as stated by the National Library of Medicine. 2
Folate is a B vitamin essential for proper cell and DNA development, and spinach provides 45% of the recommended daily value. In addition to the B vitamins, it contains iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
An Excellent Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants in spinach have been linked to reduced inflammation and protection against disease. Kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin, and isorhamnetin are some of the flavonoids (antioxidants) found in spinach. The U.S. Department of Agriculture lists flavonoids as a class of compounds that may reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory conditions. 3
Protects Against Many Different Illnesses
The beneficial effects of spinach were summarised in a 2016 study published in Food & Function.
4 The compounds in spinach, they claimed, could mitigate the effects of oxidative stress. In addition, they promote metabolic and inflammatory gene expression. Those same compounds also cause your body to secrete hormones associated with fullness and satisfaction after consuming spinach. In light of these findings, the researchers hypothesised that increasing one’s spinach consumption might help reduce one’s risk of developing chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
One nutritionist lists five ways in which blueberries benefit your health, one of which is by bolstering your brain.
Spinach’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a leading candidate for age-related brain protection. More than 900 adults, ages 58 to 98, had their eating habits and cognitive abilities studied for about five years and the results were published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia in 2015. 5 They found that people whose diets included a lot of green leafy vegetables had a significantly lower rate of cognitive decline. People who consumed two to four servings of these vegetables daily had the same mental faculties as people about 7.5 years younger than their actual age, according to the data.
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Aids in controlling blood pressure
The natural chemical nitrates can be found in spinach as well. The blood vessels can be widened by nitrates. In turn, this reduces the strain on the heart and increases blood flow.
Seven women and eleven men participated in a study published in 2016 in the Journal of Nutrition; the participants drank four different beverages, one of which was a spinach beverage high in nitrates. After drinking the beverages, participants had higher levels of nitrate in their blood, as measured by the researchers. 6
As with beetroot juice and rocket salad drinks, the spinach drink was effective in reducing blood pressure. After consuming the spinach and rocket salad drinks, diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number on a blood pressure reading, indicating the amount of pressure in your arteries between heartbeats) remained low for five hours.