Spinach is a nutrient rich plant with many possible health benefits including lowering the risk of cancer.
Do you suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, insufficient bone health, asthma and more? Guess what single food can help out with all of these ailments, and it doesn't stop there? Popeye was definitely on to something. Spinach is a super food loaded with tons of nutrients in a low calorie package. Dark, leafy greens like spinach are important for skin, hair, and bone health. They also provide protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals.
Fast Facts on Spinach:
• The first cookbook in English, "Forme of Cury," mentioned spinach when it was published in the year 1390.
• According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 100-gram serving of spinach has 28.1 micrograms of vitamin C, 34 percent of the daily recommendation.
• Types include savoy spinach, flat spinach, and semi-savoy spinach.
• Spinach can be added as an ingredient to many dishes and can either be cooked or served raw.
Health Benefits of Spinach:
Spinach contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes.
Studies on alpha-lipoic acid have also shown decreases in peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy in diabetics.
However, most studies have used intra-venous alpha-lipoic acid and it is uncertain whether oral supplementation would elicit the same benefits.
Spinach and other green vegetables contain chlorophyll, which has been shown to be effective at blocking the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines, which are generated when grilling foods at a high temperature.
The risks for developing asthma are lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is beta-carotene, of which spinach is an excellent source. Apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and carrots are also rich sources of beta-carotene.
Lowering blood pressure
Due to its high potassium content, spinach is recommended for people with high blood pressure; it can help reduce the effects of sodium in the body. A low potassium intake may be just as big of a risk factor for developing high blood pressure as a high sodium intake.
Other high-potassium foods include avocado, banana, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, lima beans, and oranges.
Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk of bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption is important for good health, as it acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption, and may reduce urinary excretion of calcium.
Spinach is high in fiber and water, both of which help to prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive tract.
Healthy skin and hair
Spinach is high in vitamin A, which is necessary for sebum production to keep hair moisturized. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair. Spinach and other leafy greens high in vitamin C are imperative for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.
Iron deficiency is a common cause of hair loss, which may be prevented by an adequate intake of iron-rich foods, like spinach.