Nutrition / Diet

Health benefits, and spinach nutritional value

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Spinach is a superfood. A low calorie box fills it with lots of nutrients. Dark, leafy greens such as spinach are important for healthy skin, hair and bone. They contain protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals, too.

The potential health benefits of eating spinach include improving blood glucose regulation in people with diabetes, decreasing cancer risk and improving bone health, as well as providing minerals and vitamins that can provide a variety of different forms of spinach

Spinach has been used throughout history by various cultures, especially in Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern and South-East Asian cuisines. It can be easily integrated into any diet, since it is easy to prepare and inexpensive.

This article discusses the nutrients in spinach, how it can help the body, and a number of flavourful ways to include it in the diet.

Fast facts on spinach

  • A 100 gram spinach serving contains 28.1 micrograms of vitamin C, 34 per cent of the daily requirement, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • Several types of spinach include savoy, flat spinach, and semi-savoy spinach.
  • Spinach can be added to many dishes as an ingredient, and can be cooked or eaten fresh.

Nutrition

Spinach leaf
Spinach is a green, leafy vegetable, with a high nutrient content and low calories.

One cup of raw spinach contains:

  • 7 calories
  • 0.86 grams (g) of protein
  • 30 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 0.81 g of iron
  • 24 mg of magnesium
  • 167 mg of potassium
  • 2,813 interational units (IU) of Vitamin A
  • 58 micrograms of folate

Spinach also contains vitamin K, phosphorous, potassium, and thiamine. Most calories in spinach are derived from proteins and carbohydrates.

Iron

A lack of iron in the diet can influence the way the body uses energy efficiently. Spinach is a great iron source. Assure the vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits are combined with plant iron such as spinach to enhance absorption.

Calcium

Spinach has a calcium content of around 250 mg per cup. It is therefore less readily absorbed from dairy sources than calcium. Spinach has a high content of oxalates which binds to calcium. Which makes our bodies hard to use.

Magnesium

Spinach is also one of the best sources of dietary magnesium required to maintain energy metabolism, muscle and nerve function, daily heart rhythm, a healthy immune system and blood pressure. Magnesium also plays a role in hundreds of biochemical reactions occurring within the body.

Benefits

Spinach has the following possible health benefits:

Diabetes management

Serve spinach raw or cooked.
Serve spinach raw or cooked.

Spinach contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid which has been shown to decrease glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative, stress-induced changes in diabetes patients.

Alpha-lipoic acid trials have also demonstrated reductions in peripheral neuropathy and in diabetic autonomy.

Nonetheless, several studies have used alpha-lipoic acid intravenous, and it is unclear whether oral supplementation will offer the same benefits.

Cancer prevention

Chlorophyll is found in the spinach and other green vegetables. Several studies have shown that chlorophyll is effective at blocking the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines, including this 2013 research conducted on 12,000 animals.

These are created when grilling high-temperature foods.

That can help prevent cancer from rising.

Asthma prevention

A analysis of 433 children with asthma between 6 and 18 years of age and 537 children without asthma showed a lower risk of developing asthma in people with high intakes of certain nutrients.

Beta- carotene is one of those nutrients. Spinach is a powerful source of beta-carotene.

Lowering blood pressure

Spinach is recommended for people with high blood pressure, due to its high potassium content.

Potassium can aid in reducing sodium effects in the body. A low intake of potassium may be as much a risk factor for developing high blood pressure as a high intake of sodium.

Bone health

Small vitamin K intakes were associated with a higher risk for bone fracture.

Adequate intake of vitamin K is essential for good health, as it acts as a protein modifier of the bone matrix, enhances the absorption of calcium and can minimize the amount of calcium that leaves the body in urine.

Promotes digestive regularity

Spinach is rich in fiber and water, both helping to avoid constipation and promoting a balanced digestive tract.

Healthy skin and hair

Spinach has large amounts of vitamin A which regulates oil production in the pores of the skin and hair follicles to moisturize the skin and hair.

It is this oil that can cause acne to build up. Vitamin A is also required to develop all body tissues, including the skin and hair.

Spinach and other high-vitamin C leafy greens are crucial for collagen building and maintaining that provides skin and hair with structure.

Iron deficiency is a common hair loss cause that can be avoided by a proper intake of iron-rich foods such as spinach.

Diet

Spinach salad
Raw baby spinach leaves can be a tasty and nutritious addition to a salad.

Spinach is a versatile vegetable, which can be cooked or eaten raw. It comes fresh, frozen, or canned. Here are some tips to try adding more spinach to a daily routine:

  • Add spinach to pastas, soups, and casseroles.
  • Lightly sauté spinach in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil. Season with freshly-ground black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Add spinach to a wrap, sandwich, or flatbread.
  • Make a dip with spinach, such as spinach and artichoke dip or spinach and goat cheese dip.
  • Add a handful of fresh spinach to an omelet or scramble, or throw a handful into a smoothie.

Risks

When someone is taking blood thinners, such as warfarin, it is crucial that they do not suddenly start increasing the amount of food they consume that includes vitamin K, which plays a major role in blood coagulation.

Too much potassium intake can be detrimental to those whose kidneys are not completely functioning.

Unless the kidneys can not extract excess potassium from the blood, this could be fatal. It’s critical that people with kidney problems are not eating unsafe potassium levels.

Spinach is best consumed as part of a nutritious, well-rounded diet.

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