Spinach is probably the poster child of healthy eating. It is perhaps because of the laundry list of benefits that spinach has. It is versatile and an all-rounder since it has a host of benefits. Benefits that range from helping the body by supplying it with iron to support keeping the early signs of cancer at bay. It is hence a superfood. Consumption of spinach dramatically benefits certain avenues like skin, hair, and bones.
He’s Popeye The Sailor Man…
The cartoon industry brought about a revolution with the cartoon series Popeye. The sailor always whipped up a huge can labeled SPINACH in bold letters during perilous times. He gulped down the contents of the box which a sloshy green liquid was presumed to be spinach. Post his little stunt; he used to develop hugely pronounced biceps and strong muscles all over. He would then beat up the bad guy and rescue his distressed friend Olive from the bad guy.
A real masterpiece. It did what most parents couldn’t do. It convinced fussy little eaters to give a fair chance to spinach. Kids who avoided spinach like the plague, as a result now wanted to be Popeye. Very clever marketing. Pity they don’t make such cartoons anymore. Anyway, spinach was however now on every kids’ plate.
Versatility is its nature:
Remember that one annoying person in class who is good at everything? That one person who was everywhere, sports, art, and even in studies. If you don’t, then it is probably you. Well, spinach is just that. It’s not only filled with goodness but also used in probably million different ways. You can eat it raw with salads, cook it and add it to pasta or sauces. You can use it to make wraps, smoothies, dips and add it to omelets as well.
It doesn’t even lack in the nutrient department. Spinach is perhaps the most recommended vegetable (greens?) approved by the doctors. It contains a bare minimum of calories. Spinach, however, is very light. It is also a source of proteins, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A folate and multiple other vitamins and minerals. It is a rich source of antioxidants.
Spinach working its Magic
Spinach (Spinacia olleraceae) belongs to the Amaranthaceae family. It is a leafy green vegetable. We also call it palak. One of the most famous Indian delicacies, ‘Palak Paneer’ has palak in it. Obviously. It is native to Central and Southwestern Asia. There are generally three different types of spinach namely Savoy, Semi-Savoy, and Flat or Smooth-leaf spinach.
The benefits of spinach are far and many. It is a dietary staple if you want a healthier body. You’ll never run out of ideas to incorporate it in your meal. Spinach is rich in potassium, magnesium, nitrates, antioxidants, proteins, vitamins A, C, K1, minerals, iron the list goes on. It is light and healthy.
1. Pumps You Up:
Spinach is an excellent source of magnesium and folate. Folate is a nutrient responsible for converting the food we eat into the energy to keep us functioning. Magnesium is also instrumental in keeping the energy levels of the body at par. What more, maintaining the body more alkalized aids in keeping up the energy throughout the day. You guessed it right, our leafy green alkalizes our entire organization. Spinach is a potent revitalizer.
2. Oxidative stress:
The body goes through something called oxidative stress. Radicals, the byproducts of metabolism cause this oxidative stress. As a result of oxidative stress, the body can be triggered by aging at an accelerated rate. The risks of diabetes and cancer also significantly increase. Hence, we can all agree that oxidative stress is a big bad wolf in all our lives. It cannot be avoided, however, because metabolism is essential for survival. Not to worry. Spinach to the rescue. Spinach contains antioxidants which fix the damage caused by oxidative stress. Antioxidants bind with the free radicals and flush them out.
3. Your Weight Loss Companion:
Spinach is low in calories and fat. However, it is a fantastic source of dietary fiber. Essentially, fiber unclogs the digestive tract. This prevents constipation, enhances digestion. As a result, low blood sugar is maintained, and overeating is curbed. All this indicates towards a higher metabolism resulting in weight loss and a healthier digestive system.
4. Say bye-bye to glasses:
Our eyes suffer a lot because of our habits. We take it for granted and continue to stare at different screens as if they are our lifelines. Treat your eyes, eat spinach. Spinach consists of beta-carotene, lutein, and xanthene. They greatly benefit our eyes. Puffiness or irritation can be reduced because of the anti-inflammatory properties of spinach. Spinach also prevents vitamin A deficiencies.
5. Spinach treats Macular Degeneration:
Macular degeneration also results in blindness. It is because of the degeneration of lutein and xanthene which are the central part of the retina. Studies have found that spinach helps in regenerating the lost pigments. The antioxidants also reduce the effects of free radical which are known to cause glaucoma and other notorious conditions.
6. Haemophilia, Beware.
Vitamin K1 is present in spinach in abundance. It plays a crucial role in blood clotting. This prevents hemophilia. However, people who take blood thinners should avoid spinach. It is also an excellent source of iron which proves beneficial to people with anemia, pregnant women, children, and adolescents.
7. Cancer Prevention:
Specific components in spinach like MGDGD and SQDG which slow down cancer growth. Hence, many studies which are dedicated to studying these effects.
8. Diabetes and cardiovascular benefits:
Potassium is very good for heart and spinach happens to have a lot of potassium. A healthy heart needs a lot of potassium for smooth functioning. Vitamins A and C also render a healthy heart by cutting down all the cholesterol.
A powerful antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid present in spinach that targets diabetes. It lowers the blood glucose level and strengthens the body’s insulin sensitivity.
9. Spinach, Skin, and Hair:
Vitamin A helps moisturize skin and hair. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the development of bodily tissues and regeneration. It also produces and maintains collagen . Spinach supplies both of the vitamins and more.
As established previously, the iron in spinach helps prevent hair loss. The mineral strengthens the hair follicles and prevents hair loss.
10. Spinach and inflammation:
Spinach is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties which treat inflammation in the gums, throat and other body parts.
Other than these, spinach also has considerable effects on eye health, Alzheimer’s disease, immune system, thyroid gland, cataracts, inflammation and neurological issues.