Table of Contents
Whenever we talk about some of the world’s healthiest vegetables, undoubtedly spinach will figure high on the list. Spinach leaves are loaded with magnesium, potassium, vitamins such as B6, B9, E along with iron, folic acid, calcium and other minerals. Much research has been done on the effects of spinach and spinach juice on human health and more often than not, spinach has proved to be a healthful friend with multifarious nutritious properties. Spinach is known to provide many health benefits. In this list, we have compiled all the relevant information about spinach, its nutritional properties, potential health benefits, risks post consumption, nutritional value, recipes and more just for your convenience. Read on our curated list before incorporating this delicious and healthy veggie as part of your daily dietary intake.
What Is Spinach?
Spinach is a dark green leafy vegetable that belongs to the Amranthaceae family. It is used in dehydrated, fresh, canned, frozen and chopped forms in the culinary world globally. The origin of spinach is traced to ancient Persia from where it was introduced to India, China and its neighbouring countries. Honouring the long tradition of spinach, the Chinese still call the veggie, “Persian Green”. The vegetable has numerous health benefits, is delicious and can be eaten daily without any trouble. Mentioned below, we explore some of the health benefits that this amazing vegetable offers with information backed by scientific researches and studies by popular institutions. So, read on.
Benefits Of Spinach
1. Anti-Carcinogenic Properties
Oregon State University published a journal that revealed that spinach can curb the effects of a known carcinogenic substance found in cooked meat. The carcinogen can alter the micro RNA and damage stem cells. The findings of the research focused on the effects of spinach that helps in offsetting the damage caused by the carcinogen.
2. Reduces Appetite And Increases Meal Satisfaction
According to an article published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition, spinach and the compounds found in its extracts can maximise appetite satisfaction and reduce hunger pangs. Thylakoids, a compound found in spinach suppresses the production of ‘grelin’, a hunger stimulating hormone which aids the production of satiety hormones. The team suggested that these findings can be used to curb obesity and other related issues.
3. Boosts Memory
According to Harvard Health Publishing, a journal of Harvard Medical School, spinach has been known to increase brain functioning and improved memory. Beta carotene, lutein, folate and Vitamin K, essential elements found in spinach, are vital for proper brain functioning and slowing down the process of cognitive decline. It helps in boosting cognitive thinking and keeps the memory sharp.
4. Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases
Studies conducted by the Clinical Nutrition Research and published by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information showed that spinach is effective in preventing and managing cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The dietary nitrate found in spinach reduces arterial stiffness and keeps vascular diseases in check while maintaining overall vascular health.
5. Prevents The Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Researches from the Rush University, Chicago conducted a study that was later published in the website alzheimer’s.net. The study focused on the effects of spinach to prevent dementia in Alzheimer’s patients. The study found that regular consumption of spinach can slow down the process of cognitive decline and can be very beneficial in staving off dementia in patients of Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Controls Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association has recognised spinach as one of the topmost superfoods that can help in the regulation of blood sugar and diabetes. Spinach has a high content of Vitamin K, C, A and E along with minerals such as potassium, iron and calcium. It also has a low count of calories and carbohydrates making it a perfect food for people suffering from irregular blood sugar levels.
7. Helps In The Prevention Of Adult Asthma
A research conducted by The British Medical Journal and published by the NCBI revealed that leafy vegetables including spinach can help in the prevention of asthma and asthmatic triggers in adults. Spinach is rich in Vitamin C, potassium, kaempferol and vital antioxidants that can keep eosinophils and other inflammatory compounds in check.
8. Prevents Osteoporosis
According to an article published by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, spinach can help in the prevention of osteoporosis and other bone related issues. Since spinach is a powerhouse of Vitamin k, Calcium, potassium and magnesium, it makes for a perfect inclusion in the everyday diet to combat brittle bones, low bone density and osteoporosis.
9. Regulates Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland cannot produce enough hormones to regulate the body’s functioning. Iodine present in spinach leaves can benefit people with hypothyroidism as iodine is needed to produce thyroid hormones. Studies have shown that regular consumption of spinach leaves can regulate the functions of the thyroid gland and check the ill effects of hypothyroidism.
10. Can cure Arthiritis
Spinach and its extracts have been the focal point of many research studies for their anti-inflammatory properties. According to an article published by the Arthritis Foundation, spinach leaves are loaded with antioxidants that stabilize free radicals in the body that damage cells and DNA structures. It also contains Vitamin C that is beneficial in the prevention of inflammatory arthritis.
Nutritional Value Of Spinach
The nutritional value contained in 100 gms of raw spinach
|Dietary Fiber||2.2 g|
|Vitamin A equivalent||469 µg|
|Thiamine B1||0.08 mg|
|Riboflavin B2||0.189 mg|
|Niacin B3||0.734 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.195 mg|
|Folate B9||194 µg|
|Vitamin C||28 mg|
|Vitamin E||2 mg|
|Vitamin K||483 µg|
|Beta carotene||5626 µg|
Risks Or Precautions When Consuming Spinach
- Since spinach is a rich source of dietary fibre, it should be consumed in moderation. Excessive consumption of spinach can lead to bloating, cramps, formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract and frequent bowel movements.
- When consumed in excess, spinach can lead to the formation of kidney stones in the body because of the high calcium content in its leaves. The leaves also contain oxalic acid that combines with calcium and forms calcium oxalate deposits in the body.
- Although a rarity, spinach can trigger pseudo allergic reactions in the body. The leaves contain histamine that can lead to allergy like symptoms that do not persist for long.
How To Consume Spinach
Integrating spinach in everyday diet is one of the smartest decisions one can make. These are two of the easiest spinach recipes that take only a few minutes to conjure up, are delicious, healthy and come with only healthful goodness. Make sure to try them out.
Wash and finely chop 2 cups of tightly packed spinach leaves and keep aside. Also core, peel and dice one apple or pear and a stalk of celery. Add 2 cups of water to a blender and finely blend all the ingredients into a smooth consistency. Strain the liquid using a fine mesh sieve and throw away the pulp. Serve the juice in a tall serving glass with a dash of lemon juice.
Sautéed Baby Spinach:
Wash 200 gms of baby spinach under running water and keep aside so that the liquid drains. In a large skillet or wok, heat a tablespoon of olive oil or groundnut oil. Peel and chop one large onion and two cloves of garlic. Add them to the oil and sauté on medium heat till fragrant. Lower the heat and add the baby spinach. When the leaves start wilting, season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
Some Fun Facts About Spinach
- China is the largest producer of spinach in the world followed closely by the USA. In 2018, China alone accounted for a whopping 85% of the world’s produce of spinach.
- National Spinach Day is celebrated on 26th March every year. All you have to do is eat spinach in any form in any dish and partake in the multifarious health benefits of the green veggie.
- An article published in the National Geographic showed how scientists have transformed a spinach leaf into a beating human heart tissue. The event marks a giant leap in the field of tissue engineering.
Because of the many nutritional benefits it provides, spinach is counted amongst the top health foods across the world. The unwavering fans of spinach can swear by spinach lasagne, spinach topped pizzas, sautéed spinach, spinach tossed salads and the quintessential palak paneer. No matter how you eat it, just make sure to indulge in a bowlful of this nutritious veggie every single day in your meals and witness the wonders it does to your health.