Did you know that there are more nutrients in spinach per calorie than any other food on the planet? It's no wonder Popeye ate so much! This leafy green is loaded with phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals including magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, fiber, phosphorus and zinc. Spinach is both affordable and easy to find, so be sure to add it to your weekly shopping list.
Here are the top five benefits spinach is going to provide you with...
1. Amp Up Your Antioxidants
Spinach contains over a dozen flavonoids that function as antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agents. Anti-inflammatory properties reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. On a daily basis, they will also help reduce the inflammation resulting from your recent workout at the gym.
2. Support Prostate Health
Eating spinach can significantly reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Unique carotenoids called epoxyxanthophylls have been found to reduce the activity of tumors. Another reason to feed this leafy green to the men in your life is that the vitamin E content in spinach is quite high and can assist in increasing sperm count. So ladies, if you are trying to get pregnant this may be an essential part of your fertility arsenal!
3. Maintain Your Youth
One cup of spinach contains a whopping 312% of your daily recommended value of vitamin A! This is a nutrient that plays a huge role in skin health, thus making spinach one of the very best natural fountains of youth. Not only does this nutrient help us to look younger and decrease wrinkles, but it also boosts our immune function and supports eye health.
4. Promote Alkalinity
The typical American diet is off the charts with acidity, leaving us with little energy, obesity and a host of other problems. Fortunately, it is minerals that will work together to regain an alkaline balance in the body and promote vitality. Spinach displays a beautiful mineral balance with 54% of daily iron, 34% of daily calcium, 67% of daily magnesium, 54% of daily potassium, and 152% of daily manganese. Along with maintaining alkalinity, minerals also help to lower blood pressure, support the heart rhythm and maintain proper fluid balance in the body.
For women, the high mineral content can help to relax muscles and reduce menstrual cramping. Spinach's high iron content can also help to replenish your energy post-menstruation.
5. Strengthen Your Bones
Spinach, along with other dark leafy greens, is one of the best sources of vitamin K. This nutrient helps to direct calcium to the bones and promote re-mineralization. Minerals such as manganese, phosphorus and zinc also aid in this process. Thus, adding spinach to your diet can help prevent conditions such as osteoporosis, while also helping to maintain the health of teeth and nails.
Helpful Hints About Spinach
- Spinach is one of the top offenders on the "Dirty Dozen" list, meaning that it is high in pesticide residue and other contaminants that are sprayed on the crop. Therefore, always choose organic!
- Oxalic acid in spinach binds with calcium and prevents its absorption, therefore this is one of the few vegetables that we recommend cooking in boiling water if possible. The water binds with the oxalic acid and leaches it into the water; decreasing oxalic acid content by 50%. It also makes the spinach a bit sweeter tasting.
Tasty Spinach Recipes
For quick and easy ways to add spinach into your diet:
- Use it as your base at the salad bar.
- Throw a handful into your morning smoothie.
- Chop some up and mix it into your omelette.
- Toss some into you pasta dishes or stirfrys.
Or if you have the time, try something a bit fancier!
Don't forget that a whole bag of these little greens cooks down to only about a cup's worth. So if your kids are picky, they can gain enormous benefit from even just a forkful!