Popeye was on the right track eating spinach for health and strength. Dark green leafy vegetables, like spinach, are amongst some of the healthiest vegetables in the world. Add chopped or baby spinach leaves to salads or sauté spinach with onions and lemon juice. It also makes a good soup or sauce when pureed in a blender. Health benefits of spinach include bone health, heart disease prevention, cancer prevention and improved eyesight.
Spinach is particularly rich in vitamin K (nearly 200% of the daily value per cup), which is responsible for most of the health benefits of spinach. It also contains way three times the Daily Value for vitamin A and is a good source of magnesium, folate and iron. It also contains small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Spinach is also a good source of alpha-lipoic acid, lutein, zeaxanthin, polyphenols and betaine.
Spinach Boosts Bone Health
The high vitamin K content of green beans may be useful in protecting against osteoporosis by preventing the activation of cells called osteoclasts that cause bone loss. Spinach is also a good source of calcium, the main mineral found in bone.
Spinach Helps Prevent Heart Disease
Green leafy vegetables, like spinach contain a vein-like network that resembles our venous system. Interestingly, spinach can help boost circulation and prevent heart disease. Dark greens contain a good dose of vitamin C, which helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol and therefore atherosclerotic buildup in the arteries. Research has revealed that a spinach compound called rubisco can inhibit angiotensin I-converting enzyme-the same enzyme blocked by ACE inhibitor drugs, which are used to lower blood pressure.
Spinach for Cancer Prevention
Spinach is loaded with antioxidant nutrients that act as anti-cancer agents. Studies have shown that spinach can inhibit the replication of stomach cancer cells. Others studies have shown an inverse relation between spinach intake and breast cancer risk. Compounds in spinach may also help reduce the risk of prostate and ovarian cancers. Studies also suggest that eating leafy greens can help reduce the chemotoxicity associated with chemotherapy drugs.
Spinach for Healthy Haemoglobin Levels
Spinach is loaded with non-haem iron and is one of the best vegetarian sources of the mineral. Iron helps form part of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the body cells. In addition, green vegetables like spinach are rich in chlorophyll, the plant equivalent of haemoglobin in humans.
Spinach Helps Improve Eyesight
One of the health benefits of spinach is related to its protective effects on eye sight. The antioxidants lutein and zexanthin help prevent and slow macular degeneration, a type of age-related loss of eyesight. Supplementing with these antioxidants is now standard practice for this condition. There is also evidence that compounds in spinach can help prevent cataracts.