Spinach is one of those foods that is almost impossible to get a young child to eat because of its appearance and the rumors from their friends that it tastes nasty. It’s only natural, even though adults have tried to get kids to eat more spinach for years. Even beloved cartoon character Popeye tried to encourage their kids to eat spinach as it would make them strong in situations that called for superhuman strength.
Though kids might not care about the health benefits that you can get from spinach, most adults certainly do. There is a reason why spinach is considered a superfood, because it has a lot of varied benefits. It might not be the sweetest or heartiest food out there, but you already know that it’s “good” for you, but just how good? Let’s take a look at those great benefits you’ll get from eating more spinach.
Just one cup of raw spinach is going to bring you many essential vitamins without anything pesky like calories or sugar or even carbs. In that serving of spinach, you can get 181 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin K, which is used to balance your body’s nutrients and prevent blood and bone diseases. Spinach also contains more than half of your recommended vitamin A intake. Other significant vitamins in spinach include vitamin C, folate, vitamin E and vitamin B6.
There’s only a small amount of fiber in each cup of spinach, but many great minerals to be found. You can get 13 percent of your recommended manganese intake from each cup. There is also at least five percent of your recommended iron, potassium and magnesium intake. On top of it all, you can find 41 milligrams of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
Spinach is one of the best foods that you could possibly eat if you are looking to drop a few pounds. From all of those vitamins and minerals that you get from eating one cup of spinach, you are only getting seven calories. That’s about the same as taking a multivitamin or chewing on a piece of gum. The calorie count alone is going to help you lose weight when you start eating more spinach compared to other snacks or side dishes.
In addition to the low calorie count, spinach is also surprisingly filling. There is a small amount of fiber and protein, and the fact that you can eat a lot of it will help you feel more satisfied. Your digestive system (which we’ll get to) will receive a boost, helping your metabolism and allowing you to burn more calories. You’re almost burning more calories than you’re taking in from eating spinach alone.
Diseases at Bay
To help your body fight away diseases, you are going to need a lot of antioxidants and vitamins. Thankfully, spinach is strong in both departments, making it one of the best foods for boosting your immune system. With vitamins A, B and C, you will give your immune system the strength it needs to keep minor diseases away, while also fighting away some of the more serious illnesses.
Spinach has been shown to fight heart disease and cancer, with lung cancer being the most prominent combatant. The vitamin A content and chlorophyll act as anti-carcinogens that rid your lungs of cancer-causing cells. As for heart disease, spinach contains plenty of potassium and iron that your body needs. This will also be beneficial for those that struggle with anemia.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t think about our brain health as often as we should. It’s time to start giving more thought (no pun intended) to your brain, and eating spinach is a great way to treat your brain well. Spinach is packed with the vitamin K that we love so much, which has been shown to increase brain health, in addition to helping both prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.
The antioxidants in spinach will also help you prevent the cloudiness that you might feel throughout the day. Neurological problems such as stress or depression can be alleviated, and even help you concentrate. Studies have shown that eating foods such as spinach will improve your brain function, making it much easier to get through the day and to fall asleep at night.
Looking and Feeling Good
We can’t understate just how important the amount of vitamins and antioxidants found in spinach really are for your body. Not only do they bring health benefits to your inside, but will also make you look better. Vitamin A and vitamin C found in spinach help your skin become more moisturized, and those increased collagen levels that your body will get in return will give you smoother skin.
This will also have an added benefit for your hair, as a lack of iron can lead to hair loss. Spinach contains plenty of iron, making your hair stronger and thicker. Even if you have already started to lose hair, it’s not too late to slow down, stop or even start to reverse the effects. After all, it might not be your family history causing you to lose hair, but instead, your diet.
Going back to the Popeye comparison, spinach really will help make you stronger since it’s rich in protein. Though you want grow instant biceps that would make a bodybuilder jealous, studies have indeed shown that the iron, nitrate and protein levels in spinach promote muscle growth tremendously. It’s one of the perfect foods to eat before and after a workout, as it won’t make you too full and gives you an energy boost while building that muscle mass.
Summing it Up
So spinach gives you all of these great vitamins, all of the fantastic benefits and is only a few calories per serving. There has to be a catch for eating spinach then, right? There are some side effects from eating too much spinach, but aren’t very common. Spinach should be eaten with a food high in vitamin C to help your body absorb the oxalic acid, as it can cause kidney stones without a vitamin C boost.
Some people have also felt that their teeth feel strange when eating spinach, but that’s because of the oxalic acid that can be removed with a simple brushing. Finally, the fiber in spinach can cause minor digestive problems, but you would have to eat a lot of spinach to worry about that. The negatives certainly don’t outweigh the positives in the case of spinach, so you should be adding it to your diet whenever possible for the great benefits.