Spinach (scientific name – Spinacia oleraceae) belongs to the Amaranthaceae family, a family of nutritional powerhouses including chard, beets, red amaranth, and quinoa.
Its crispy, tender, dark-green leaves are one of the favorite ingredients of chefs all around the world.
It is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, K, and folate, choline, betaine, minerals, such as – manganese, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, sodium, selenium, iron, and potassium as well as dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. Moreover, it is a good source of plant pigments, like – lutein, beta-carotene, xanthene, zeaxanthin, and chlorophyllin.
Health Benefits Of Spinach
Vitamin K is a vital fat-soluble vitamin which is capable of opposing many of the leading causes of death in modern-day people, such as – osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, cancer, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. While rare, a deficiency in this vitamin may lead to defective blood clotting, increased osteopenia (decreased bone density but not to the extent of osteoporosis), and bleeding.
100g of this vegetable has 483 mcg of vitamin K which represents 604 percent of the daily recommended intake.
According to a study issued in the Annals of Internal Medicine, simply following a high-fiber diet (with no extra physical exercise) is as effective for weight loss as adhering to a detailed heart-healthy plan which also limits sugar, calories, saturated fat, and sodium.
There are 2 main forms of dietary fiber: insoluble and soluble. In the body, insoluble fiber adds bulk to food and soak up water as it goes through your digestive system, while soluble fiber dissolves and helps make a gel-like substance which helps lower LDL and total cholesterol.
100g of this leafy vegetable has 2,2g of fiber, which is 9 percent of the daily recommended intake.
Supports Healthy Fetal Development
Folate, also known as vitamin B9 and usually mistaken with folic acid, is a water-soluble B vitamin which everyone needs every day.
It plays an integral role in fetal development and the benefits for pregnant women and their offsprings cannot be understated. Furthermore, vitamin B9 is used to enhance mood regulation and to cure depression. Therefore, a daily intake of folate is essential for proper brain functioning.
100 g of this vegetable has 194 mcg of folate, that is 49 percent of the daily recommended intake.
Zeaxanthin and lutein protect the eyes from light-induced oxidative damage, that is believed to play an important role in the development of age-related macular degeneration. For example, in one recent study, scientists gave 30 mg of lutein to two sufferers for four and a half months and concluded that their macular density increased by more than twenty percent.
Heals Minor Wounds
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) can be helpful in protecting against cancer, preventing asthma, and supporting healthy glycemic levels in type 2 diabetics. More importantly, vitamin C helps to repair wounds and facilitates the growth of the connective tissues, speeding up the healing process of wounds.
A 100-gram serving of this vegetable has 28.1 mg of vitamin C, which is about 47 percent of the daily recommendation, according to USDA – the United States Department of Agriculture.
A Good Source Of Magnesium
Magnesium is one of the 7 crucial macro minerals that need to be ingested daily (minimum 100 milligrams). For instance, this mineral helps keep bones strong, blood pressure normal, and the heart rhythm steady as well as it has a vital role in mood and brain function.
A magnesium deficiency is one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in the United States, with an estimated 80% of people being deficient in this essential mineral.
A 100-gram serving of this vegetable has 79 mg of magnesium, that is 20 percent of the daily recommended intake.
How to Store
You should keep this vegetable refrigerated and wash it before using it. You may also freeze spinach – maximum 4 months – due to the fact that longer periods may lower its nutritional profile.
Side Effects Of Spinach
If you are taking prescription medicine for blood-thinning, like – warfarin, it is recommended that you don’t suddenly begin to overconsume foods high in vitamin K because this vitamin has an important role in blood clotting.
In addition, this dark leafy vegetable contains Immunoglobulin E (IgE) and histamine, that may lead to minor allergic reactions in some people.
Note About Oxalic Acid
Oxalic acid (also known as oxalates) is a naturally occurring chemical in animals and plants. Other foods high in oxalic acids include watercress, chard (silverbeet), okra, leeks, purslane, beets (especially the leaves), parsley, cacao, cashews, almonds, starfruit, buckwheat, plums, rhubarb, blackberries, raspberries, beans, and figs.
Oxalic acid is known for the part it plays in calcium-oxalate kidney stones, that is the most frequent type of kidney stone.
However, according to research, spinach has no effect on inducing stone formation directly, nevertheless, it can increase the chances of occurrence of stones in people who already suffer from kidney stones. More importantly, the research concluded that when you lower oxalate, you reduce your dietary fiber intake, which ultimately leads to constipation.
- boiling decreases oxalic acid levels, that pours into the water and therefore should be discarded. However, a vegetable steamed may be high in oxalic acid in comparison to the same vegetable when it’s boiled.
- the nr.1 risk factor for kidney stones is not consuming enough fluids. In this case, your urine will have higher concentrations of compounds which can form kidney stones.
- only purchase organic varieties of this vegetable, as much as possible, due to the potentially high incidence of DDT contamination.