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10 HEALTH & WELLNESS BENEFITS OF SPINACH

July 16, 2018 by Renee Tavoularis

10 HEALTH & WELLNESS BENEFITS OF SPINACH

A member of the Amaranthaceae family, spinach is closely related to beetroot and Swiss chard. A dark, leafy green vegetable, spinach is packed with a variety of nutrients and phytochemicals. It's also easy to prepare and low in calories, which makes it a great addition to your plant-based diet. Learn about the many health and wellness benefits of spinach below.

1. SUPPORTS HEALTHY VISION

Spinach is a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin— two carotenoids beneficial for eye health. These antioxidants absorb blue light that enters the eye, blocking it from reaching and damaging the structures of the retina. Since blue light is linked to oxidative damage that causes macular degeneration, eating spinach can help prevent the disease from developing.

2. LOWERS BLOOD SUGAR

Another antioxidant found in spinach helps control diabetes symptoms. This antioxidant, known as alpha-lipoic acid, has been shown to reduce blood glucose levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and limit the damage of oxidative stress in people with diabetes.

3. HELPS PREVENT CERTAIN CANCERS

Thanks to the presence of the antioxidants like neoxanthin and violaxanthin, spinach offers protection against cancer by slowing down the formation of cancerous cells. It also contains chlorophyll, which hinders cancer formation by ridding the body of carcinogenic toxins.

4. HELPS REGULATE BRAIN CHEMICALS

The brain-friendly B-vitamin folate is also abundant in spinach. Folate is a key ingredient needed to transform amino acids into special brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Keeping these chemicals in balance reduces one's likelihood of developing mental disorders like depression or anxiety.

5. REDUCES RISK OF ASTHMA

People with asthma often have magnesium deficiencies that can be improved by eating more spinach. Spinach also provides the body with other anti-asthmatic nutrients, like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene.

6. STRENGTHENS BONES

Vitamin K is one of the many nutrient in spinach that helps strengthen bones. It does this by helping bones retain calcium. Other minerals found in spinach, such as magnesium, copper, and phosphorus, also strengthen the bones and reduce one's risk of developing osteoporosis.

7. SUPPORTS REGULARITY

Spinach contains an abundance of dietary fiber, which prevents constipation. The high water content of spinach also supports the functioning of the digestive tract.

8. SHARPENS MENTAL FOCUS

Spinach belongs to a special group of vegetables that help slow down or even reverse the cognitive decline that happens with age. The various antioxidants linked to spinach fight inflammation and oxidative damage that causes memory loss and lack of concentration in older adults.

9. STRENGTHENS MUSCLES

An excellent source of natural nitrates, calcium, and iron, spinach supports muscle development. It’s especially helpful at ensuring the muscles of the heart function properly due to a component in spinach known as Co-Q10.

10. SUPPORTS HEALTHY SKIN AND HAIR

The beauty nutrients found in spinach like vitamin C are vital for the production of collagen. Collagen supports the structure of skin and hair, helping you maintain a youthful appearance. Antioxidants in spinach also fight free radical damage that causes skin to age prematurely.

BEST WAYS TO BENEFIT FROM SPINACH

Spinach can be consumed fresh or lightly cooked, although the cooking process does make its nutrients more readily absorbed by the body. Buy organic spinach whenever possible, since conventional varieties may have high levels of pesticides. Enjoy spinach incorporated into pastas, soups, stir-fry, sandwiches, wraps, or salad. It also makes a great side dish when sauteed or steamed.
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