10 Health Benefits Of Spinach That You Can’t Ignore

Health benefits of spinach.

From being added to smoothies, tossed into salads, blended into pesto, and dehydrated into chips – spinach is arguably one of the most versatile leafy greens. Besides being integral to certain culinary preparations, spinach’s nutritional quality has earned it the title of a ‘superfood’ across several medical journals and health magazines. Here’s a list of all the health benefits that come with a diet that’s rich in spinach.

1. Strengthens And Protects Vision

Along with wrinkles and lower tolerance for alcohol, aging brings with it vision loss. And researchers have found that one way one way of preventing this, or lowering the severity of it, is to consume high amounts of zeaxanthin and lutein.1 2 These are carotenoids which are

responsible for color in some vegetables and are also found in human eyes.3 4 5 Both have been found to protect our eyes from damage caused by exposure to the sun’s UV rays. In addition to this, studies have found that both zeaxanthin and lutein prevent macular degeneration and cataracts, diseases that lead to blindness.6 7

2. May Lower Blood Pressure And Promote Heart Health

Although spinach is good for heart health, consult your doctor before consuming it if you are on blood thinners such as warfarin. The high amounts of vitamin K1 in spinach is known for improving the process of blood clotting which could be counterproductive to the medications.8

If you are at risk of high blood pressure or are suffering from it, including spinach in your diet might prove to be highly beneficial.9 Studies

have also found that even short-term consumption of spinach has an influence on the arterial waveform.10 This refers to the development of pressure in the arota and arteries that occurs with each pump of the heart. Spinach contains high amounts of nitrates which, researchers have found, moderate blood pressure levels and decrease the risk of heart disease.11 12 13

3. Fights Iron-Deficiency Anemia

If you’ve been diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia, you’d already know that keeping up with your intake of the nutrient is vital to prevent symptoms like  dizziness, brittle nails, fatigue, hair loss, head ache, and irritability, among others. Spinach packs in 2.17 grams of iron in one bunch (340 grams) which accounts for 14.2% of the recommended daily intake.14 Including spinach in your diet may, hence, help fight this condition and provide some relief from its symptoms. Make sure to combine vitamin-C-rich foods such as citrus fruits with plant iron like spinach to improve absorption.

4. May Strengthen Bones

If you’ve been trying to keep up with your calcium intake, spinach might be a good option. One

bunch of the leafy green offers 337 mg of the mineral and accounting for 28.1% of your daily recommended intake.15 However, several studies have found that spinach is high in oxalate. Foods with high amounts of oxalate and phytate reduce the absorption of calcium contained in them. So while spinach can be an important part of a healthy diet, it might not be a good source of calcium.16 17 That said, most medical guides pertaining to osteoporosis do include spinach in the recommended list of foods that increase calcium levels in the body.18

5. May Manage Diabetes And Its Complications

Diabetics might benefit from including spinach in their diet. It contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity. It also prevents oxidative, stress-induced changes. Further studies on alpha-lipoic acid have found that it decreases peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy in diabetics. However, since most of these studies involved intravenous alpha-lipoic acid, researchers can’t fully determine if oral supplementation would have the same benefits.19

6. Prevents The Occurrence Of Asthma

If you’ve got a history of asthma in your family, including spinach into your diet might lower your chances of developing it. One study conducted on 433 children (aged 6–18 years) with asthma and 537 children (of the same ages) without, showed that the risk of developing asthma was lower in those who had a high intake of certain nutrients, primarily beta-carotene. And spinach is an excellent source

of this nutrient.20

7. Prevents Complications During Pregnancy

A bunch of spinach packs in 660 mcg of folate, which makes up for 110% of the recommended daily intake for pregnant women.21 Folate plays a key role in red blood cell production and the prevention of neural tube defects in pregnancy. In fact, one study on spina bifida– a neural tube defect where there is incomplete closing of the fetus’s backbone and membranes around the spinal cord– found that one of the most preventable risk factors for this condition was a low intake of folate during the first trimester of pregnancy.22 23

8. May Lower The Instances Of Epileptic Seizures

The leading cause of epilepsy in adults over 35 is a stroke, caused by decreased blood flow to your brain. Manganese is known to enlarge veins and efficiently carry blood to tissues like the brain, in turn, decreasing the risk of a stroke and epileptic seizures.24 In addition to this, part of the body’s manganese content is found in the brain with several studies suggesting that manganese levels may be lower in individuals with seizure disorders.25 Spinach offers 3.050 mg of manganese, which makes up for a whopping 169.4% of your recommended daily intake.26 It might hence aid towards lowered instances of stroke and seizures.

9. Promotes Thyroid Health

If you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid disorders, stock up on spinach. Manganese, found in spinach, helps enzymes function and work properly in your body. It also plays a role in the production of thyroxine, a vital hormone that is required for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland, which helps you maintain a proper appetite, metabolism, weight, and organ efficiency. Including spinach in your diet might help manage your thyroid hormones.27

10. May Prevent Cancer

One of the best defenses against cancer is consuming foods high in antioxidants, which reduce free radical damage that’s at the root of cancer. Spinach has been found to contain high amounts of antioxidants that prevent the incidence of cancer. Besides this, the leafy green contains MGDG and SQDG, two components that help slow tumor growth in a human’s cervix and decrease its size.28 29

Several human studies have also found a link between regular spinach consumption and a reduced risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer although the exact cause of this is still to be fully understood.30 31 32 33

Avoid Spinach If You Suffer From Kidney Stones

If you live with kidney stones, consult a professional before consuming spinach. Kidney stones are caused by acid and mineral salt buildup, with the most common variety being calcium stones consisting of calcium oxalate. Spinach, being high in both calcium and oxalates, might aggravate the condition. So be sure to avoid consuming too much of it if you’ve got kidney stones.34 35