Spinach is one of the healthiest greens which pumps the body with essential nutrients and minerals than you’ll find from many other foods. Not only is this vegetable nutritious but it’s also delicious especially when prepared well and in the right way. In fact, spinach does qualify as an amazing winter superfood. However, knowing the best way to consume this soft vegetable is very important as this is the only way you will be assured of all the benefits associated with it. This said, we need to understand what makes spinach so healthy and why you should consider having it as part of your regular meals. So, what are the health benefits of this leafy green?
1. Promotes good eyesight
Spinach is a very rich source of lutein, beta carotene and xanthenes. These carotenoids are very important when it comes to enhanced eyesight. Eating cooked spinach supplies your eyes with the carotene thus promoting eye health and protecting against issues such as itching eyes, Vitamin A deficiency, dry eyes and eye ulcers. This can largely be attributed to the effective anti-inflammatory properties found in spinach. These can help reduce eye irritation and puffiness.
2. It provides neurological benefits
The leafy green has several components such as folate, potassium and different antioxidants which have neurological benefits especially to those who consume them regularly. Research has shown that folate is especially effective in reducing the occurrence of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and this makes spinach very good for people who are at risk of cognitive or neural decline. On the other hand, potassium is an important component for brain health and is associated with an increase in blood circulation to the brain. It also helps in heightened concentration, cognition and neural activity.
3. Reduces the risk of skin cancers
Research carried out by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research has revealed that spinach could help reduce the risks of different types of skin cancer. This is true especially for people with previous skin cancer history. Researchers found out that silverbeet and spinach are rich in minerals, vitamins and many other bioactive substances which contain anti-cancer properties.
4. Helps maintain blood pressure
For people with high blood pressure, spinach will be very helpful as it has low sodium content and high potassium content. Sodium raises blood pressure while potassium helps to lower the same. As aforementioned, spinach contains folate which helps relax blood vessels, contributes in the reduction of hypertension and maintains good blood flow. By relaxing the tense arteries and vessels and reducing blood pressure, your body experiences increased oxygenation and relaxed cardiovascular system thus enhancing functionality for different organ systems.
5. Supplies the bones with minerals
Spinach is rich in Vitamin K and this is helps the bones to retain calcium thus improving bone mineralization. There are also many other minerals in Spinach including copper, manganese, phosphorus and zinc which are essential for developing strong bones. The minerals also help prevent against such problems such as bone osteoporosis while at the same time helping in the maintenance of healthy finger nails and bones.
6. Enhances metabolic activity
If you’ve ever had a doctor recommend to you on what you should eat, most likely spinach was an integral part of the recommendations. There is a reason for this especially because this vegetable helps enhance proper metabolic activity. Spinach is easily digested and broken down into essential amino acids by enzymes. These re-formed mammal proteins are essential for muscle growth and development while at the same time aiding the body to heal injuries. The amino acids also boost our metabolism thus promoting optimal functionality by the organ systems. Research has also shown that eating spinach could also help reduce hunger and curb cravings essentially helping in weight loss thanks to the presence of Thylakoid.
7. Reduces the risk of cataracts
Spinach has strong antioxidants in the name of zeaxanthin and lutein. These are effective in preventing the eyes from harmful UV rays which are known to cause cataracts. The two antioxidants also help reduce the effect of free radicals which are known for causing different eye conditions, cataracts included.
8. Improves gastrointestinal health
Eating more spinach in a regular basis has been found to be effective in promoting gastrointestinal health. The leafy vegetable contains Vitamin C and beta-carotene which helps protect the colons of body cells from destructive effects associated with free radicals. Furthermore, folate helps prevent DNA mutation and damage inside colon cells.
9. Prevents against heart attack and atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is normally caused by the thickening of blood arteries as a result of excessive fat deposit. On the other hand, heart attacks normally result from the hardening of artery wall. By eating spinach, the body is supplied with lutein content which is very effective in preventing against the thickening of artery walls and in return this reduced the risk of dangerous heart attack. Spinach also has high quality nitrite and this is effective in preventing against heart attacks associated with excessive fat deposits.
10. Prevents against anemia
Spinach is a rich source of iron and consuming the veggie regularly could help prevent against anemia. Iron is very important for the body and especially for growing children, adolescents and menstruating women. Spinach is cholesterol free which makes it superior to red meats if you want to stock your body with iron. Iron also aids the body with quality energy since its part of haemoglobin, an element essential for carrying oxygen to the body cells.
When choosing your spinach, it’s always advisable to go for the baby spinach (tender leaves) and especially those grown under direct sunlight. These are normally nutritional thus making them good for the body. Additionally, you should also cook your spinach in a healthy way so as to retain its nutritional value. Cooked spinach leaves have a lot of benefits to the body compared to raw leaves especially because your body is able to break down all the nutrients with ease. You should cook the spinach lightly or use steaming method in order to enjoy the most nutritional benefits.