Countless mothers tell their children every single day to eat their vegetables. And, to the disdain of these children, the color of these veggies are typically green.
It’s no secret that green veggies typically get a pretty bad reputation. However, it looks like there’s more than 15 reasons why parents should feel good about pushing one green vegetable onto their children’s plates.
It turns out spinach is one of the best green veggies you can have. In fact, there’s even a continual debate about it becoming the newest superfood. Pretty impressive!
Here’s a ton of reasons from Well-Being Secrets that will make you want to serve your kids a heaping helping of spinach tonight:
Health Benefits of Spinach
Numerous studies have proven that spinach has a number of positive effects on the human body.
By consuming spinach regularly, you get lots of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Spinach contains vitamins A, C, and K, B group vitamins, potassium, magnesium, iron, various antioxidants, lutein, zea-xanthin, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and even protein.
Spinach is Rich in Potassium
Spinach is one of the best dietary sources of potassium.
A hundred grams contains 558 mg of potassium, which is 16% of the daily value.
By contrast, a hundred grams of bananas (which has always been considered the champion of potassium) contains 358 mg of potassium.
Potassium is responsible for preserving bone mineral density as well as retention of muscle mass (8, 9).
Potassium is also well known for its properties to prevent the formation of kidney stones as well as control heart rate and blood pressure (10, 11, 12).
Spinach and Magnesium
Spinach is also the richest dietary source of magnesium, containing 79 mg of this mineral per hundred grams (20% of daily value intake).
Magnesium is important in protein synthesis, regulating neural activity and maintaining nerve function as well as regulating blood pressure and blood sugar levels (13, 14, 15, 16).
Rich in IronSpinach is the richest source of iron among other vegetables.
One hundred grams contains 2.7 mg of iron, which helps regulate red blood cell production and prevents anemia and hair loss (17).
Spinach and Antioxidants
Spinach leaves contain a great variety of antioxidants: vitamins A and C as well as polyphenol antioxidants, lutein, beta-carotene, and zea-xanthin.
Such a rich and potent antioxidant combination protects your body from oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) (18, 19).
These two affect the aging process and the development of various diseases.
Spinach is Rich in Protein
For a vegetable, spinach has a surprisingly impressive amount of protein—2.9 g per one hundred grams.
In fact, proteins in spinach are easily digested and broken down by enzymes into amino acids that are especially vital if you’re working out in the gym (20).
Kaempferol and Nitrates
Spinach is high in an antioxidant called kaempferol, which lowers the risk of developing cancer and various chronic disease.
At the same time, spinach promotes good heart health thanks to its high content of nitrates (21, 22).
Spinach and Eye Health
Zea-xanthin is a crucial dietary carotenoid, which is partially absorbed into the eyes to prevent age-related macular disease.
Thus, zea-xanthin provides your eyes with antioxidant and protective light-filtering properties (23).
Lutein contained in spinach improves eye function and prevents degeneration of the retina.
It’s especially beneficial to eat spinach regularly if you spend a lot of time in front of your PC or laptop (24).
Lutein reduces tension in the eyes by accumulating in the eye tissues.
In fact, luteinalso prevents eye problems that occur with aging (25).
Spinach is Rich in Vitamin A
Vitamin A contributes to eye health and maintains your skin in good condition.
Spinach is extremely rich in vitamin A, as a hundred grams provide 9376IU of vitamin A, which is 188% of the daily value intake (26, 27).
Spinach and Vitamin K
Spinach leaves are also very rich in vitamin K, as a hundred grams contains 604% of the daily value intake.
Vitamin K is vital for your health, since it strengthens the bones and stimulates the bones’ osteotropic activity (28, 29).
Spinach and Alzheimer’s Disease
Vitamin K also reduces neural damage in the brain in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin K is important for brain health, which is why it can even prevent Alzheimer’s if consumed regularly (30, 31).
Spinach and Energy Levels
Spinach is also very rich in B-group vitamins: B1 thiamin (0.1 mg), B2 riboflavin (0.2 mg), B6 (0.2 mg) as well as B9 folate (149 mcg) and B3 niacin (0.7 mg).
Thus, vitamin B complex keeps your energy levels active throughout the day (32).
Spinach and Immune System
Spinach is high in vitamins A and B, and a hundred grams of spinach contains 28.1 mg of vitamin C, which is 47% of the daily value intake.
In comparison, a hundred grams of grapefruit has just a little more vitamin C than spinach—31.2 mg.
Vitamin C is a vital antioxidant that boosts your immune system and helps your body fight off infections and cleanses it from oxygen-derived free radicals (33, 34).
Heart Disease and Anemia
Spinach is also a good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which your body utilizes for energy and helps prevent various heart diseases and regulates blood pressure.
Potassium also regulates heart rate and blood pressure (35, 36, 37).
Since spinach is high in iron (2.7 mg per 100 grams), you prevent iron deficiency anemia by eating spinach every day (38).
Spinach and Digestive Tract
By eating spinach, you can forget about constipation, since spinach promotes regularity, thanks to its high content of fiber and water.
Spinach contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which have beneficial effects for your health.
While insoluble fiber prevents constipation and improves the functioning of your digestive system, soluble fiber prevents your body from absorbing fat and cholesterol from food (2, 3).
Blood Sugar and Cholesterol
Soluble fiber also regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels and helps your body eliminate toxins and feel good throughout the day (4, 5, 8).
Spinach and Diabetes
Spinach has protective properties against diabetes.
If you have diabetes, you can lower your glucose levels by eating spinach, strengthen insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative changes in the body thanks to spinach’s rich content of an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid (39, 40).
In fact, people suffering from diabetes can get their peripheral neuropathy and/or autonomic neuropathy decreased thanks to alpha-lipoic acid (41).
However, there is no evidence that any of the diabetes management benefits are true for the oral intake of alpha-lipoic acid, since most studies were carried out using intra-venous alpha-lipoic acid.
Spinach and Cancer
Spinach can also prevent cancer, thanks to its high content of chlorophyll, which eliminates the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines.
These are released when foods are exposed to high temperatures.
So adding spinach to your BBQ sauce would be a great idea (42, 43, 44).
Spinach also protects against lung cancer because it is high in vitamin A.
Whether you’re a smoker or a former smoker or are simply exposed to tobacco smoke, consuming spinach reduces the risk of developing lung cancer (45, 46).
Spinach and Asthma
Beta-carotene, which spinach has in abundance, lowers the risks of developing asthma.
Thus, eating spinach and other dietary sources of beta-carotene regularly can prevent asthma (77).
A hundred grams of spinach contains 5626 mcg of beta-carotene.
By contrast, a hundred grams of apricots contains 1094 mcg of this vitamin.
Spinach and Pregnancy
Spinach is especially useful for pregnant women, since its high content of folate ensures normal development of the offspring’s nervous system.
Folate also prevents neural tube defects (47, 48).
Folate also provides normal tissue growth and helps maintain proper cell function.
So if you’re pregnant, introducing spinach into your diet is definitely a good idea (49).
Spinach and Bones Health
Thanks to its rich content of vitamin K, spinach strengthens your bones and acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins when consumed regularly.
Spinach also provides better calcium absorption and even helps maintain your calcium levels in check (28, 50, 51).
Spinach and Your Skin
As mentioned above, spinach is a rich source of vitamin A, which is vital for maintaining your skin and hair in a beautiful and healthy state.
Vitamin A helps in sebum production to keep your hair moisturized (52).
This vitamin is also necessary for the development of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair, both of which never stop to regenerate.
Besides, vitamin C found in spinach is vital in producing and maintaining collagen, which gives your hair and skin proper structure (53).
Spinach and Hair Loss
Spinach is also very rich in iron, which means you can prevent hair loss.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of hair loss, so consuming iron regularly helps strengthen the hair follicles (54, 55).
Spinach and Thyroid Glan
Due to its high iodine content, spinach is also recommended for people suffering from problems with the thyroid gland.
Iodine is essential for making thyroid hormones, and thyroid cells are the only cells in the body that can absorb iodine (56, 57).
Spinach and Body Toxins
Spinach has properties to eliminate toxins from the human body.
With the help of spinach, you can regulate your metabolism, raise your hemoglobin levels, and boost your energy (58, 59).
Spinach is Easily Digested and Absorbed
Spinach can be easily digested and absorbed, meaning you’ll never feel bloated or constipated (60).
Spinach is Safe for Children
Thanks to its digestibility and lightness, spinach is recommended for children, people with poor appetite, and individuals recovering from complex surgical procedures and chemotherapy (61).
Spinach and Inflammation
Spinach has anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it’s often recommended by dentists as a supportive measure to treat inflammation in the gums and throat (62).
Spinach and Weight Loss
Spinach juice is particularly healthy and can be consumed both separately and in combination with other vegetable juices, such as carrot juice.
It increases your work efficiency, boosts the immune system, and promotes weight loss (63, 64).
Spinach and Burns
Spinach is also effective in treating burns.
For this purpose, it’s recommended to use a special spinach paste, which can be prepared by boiling spinach leaves in olive oil.
The resulting mix is applied to the burned areas (65).
Spinach and Neurological Issues
Thanks to its high content of antioxidants and potassium, spinach offers a variety of neurological benefits, such as preventing neural or cognitive decline and boosting concentration, cognition, and neural activity (66, 67).
Spinach and Cataracts
Spinach reduces the risk of cataracts due to its high content of such strong antioxidants as lutein and zea-xanthin.
These two antioxidants reduce the negative effects of free radicals and UV rays, both of which lead to cataracts (68).
Spinach Curbs Cravings and Hunger
Spinach also boosts your entire metabolism, making every organ in your body function at its optimal level.
Besides, thanks to its high content of thylakoid, spinach curbs cravings and hunger, both of which help you lose pounds (69).
Spinach is an Anti-Ulcerative Vegetable
Spinach protects the mucous membrane of the stomach, which means it lowers the risk of developing gastric ulcers.
In addition, glycocyclerolipids contained in spinach strengthen the lining of the digestive tract (70).
Atherosclerosis and Strokes
Lutein, which spinach has in abundance, lowers the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, and other heart disease.
Spinach proteins also help reduce cholesterol and cleanse the blood vessels from other fat deposits (71, 72).
One of the greatest things about spinach is its versatility. That’s because you can add these leafy green to almost any meal in order to get a boost of nutritional benefits.
Sprinkle it over pasta, add it to an omelette or egg scramble, and include it in your soups. Top your pizza with spinach leaves, or add them to your salad for delicious flavor.
You can also sautee spinach up with some mushroom and minced garlic for a healthy and flavorful side dish. But be careful – this can be addicting!
You can even slip them into smoothies! Toss a handful of these leafy greens into a breakfast smoothie. The color may change, but the taste won’t!