Today is National Spinach Day—a day that Popeye the Sailor Man would be very excited to celebrate! Spinach is not only low in calories, it also has many nutrients, including Vitamins like A, K, D, and E, as well as zinc, fiber, calcium and others. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, spinach even contains more iron per gram than ground beef! Between improving our digestion, bone strength, nervous system and more, it’s clear why spinach—a heart-healthy plant—is consider a “super food” by many.
So, let’s chat and chew about the health benefits of spinach.
Spinach is one of the best sources of dietary magnesium, which is necessary for energy metabolism, muscle and nerve function, heart rhythm, a healthy immune system and blood pressure. Benefits don’t stop there – read below for more reasons why spinach should be included in your diet.
- Cancer prevention: Researchers have found more than a dozen different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents. A recent study, which assessed the relationship between the risk of prostate cancer and vegetable intake (including broccoli, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts), only spinach showed evidence of significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer. (1)
- Asthma prevention: The chances of developing asthma are lower in people who consume high amounts of certain nutrients—one is beta-carotene. Spinach is an excellent source of beta-carotene, as are apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, pumpkin and carrots. (2)
- Lowers blood pressure: The high potassium content in spinach is beneficial for anyone with high blood pressure; it negates the effects of sodium in the body. (3)
- Bone Health: Did you know – one cup of fresh spinach contains twice your daily Vitamin K needs? Higher risk of bone fracture has been associated with low intakes of Vitamin K. However, spinach is rich in Vitamin K, which is important for good health since “it acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption and may reduce urinary excretion of calcium.” (4, 5, 6)
- Promotes regularity: Spinach is high in fiber and water content, which helps promote healthy digestion.
- Healthy skin and hair: Spinach is rich in Vitamin A, which is necessary for “sebum production to keep hair moisturized.” It is also necessary to grow bodily tissues (i.e. skin and hair). Spinach is also high in Vitamin C—essential to the building and maintaining of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair. (4)
- Good for your eyes: The carotenoids in spinach help protect your eyes against diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. (6)
Spinach can be enjoyed either raw or cooked, so eat healthy and stay strong with these delicious recipes.
- Creamed Spinach and Mushrooms
- Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Pizza
- Rich, Cheddar & Spinach Pie
- Linguine with Spinach-Herb Pesto
- Detox Smoothie
If you weren’t a fan of spinach growing up, it couldn’t hurt to give it a second try. As you can see, there are MANY reasons why adding spinach to your daily diet can benefit you in the long-run. If you have some of your own spinach recipes you’d like to share, leave them in the comments section below!