I was totally obsessed with Popeye when I was younger. I loved his singing, the way he opened cans of spinach and how he got so cool and strong after eating it. I begged my mom to buy some so that I could gain superhero strength.... Two decades later, with a career as a nutritional therapist, I've found that this vegetable has only become more amazing to me!
Here are 11 reasons why spinach should be on your grocery list:
1. It's loaded with nutrients
Spinach is one of the most nutritious foods around, containing more than 20 tremendous nutrients. One cup of spinach has nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber. Amazingly, this one cup also exceeds your daily requirements of Vitamin K and Vitamin A, virtually all the Manganese and Folate you need and approximately 40% of your Magnesium requirements. Spinach also contains Calcium, Protein, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, Selenium and Potassium. Low in calories and hugely versatile, spinach is great added to salads for maximum nutrient intake or lightly cooked in your favorite recipes.
2. It protects you from disease
Spinach contains a phenomenal amount of Vitamin A, which protects and strengthens our immune system. Vitamin A supports cell membranes to help combat nasty invaders and is a key component of lymphocytes (white blood cells), which fight infection.
3. It fights cancer
Spinach contains more than a dozen individual flavonoid compounds. Flavonoids are phytonutrients with anti-cancer properties, which work as cancer-fighting antioxidants. These elements neutralize free radicals in the body, thus helping to prevent cancer and slow down the cell division in existing cells.
4. It beats blood pressure
Amazingly, a single portion of spinach will help lower blood pressure within hours due to its high content of magnesium.
5. It's great for bones
Vitamin K can prevent excess activation of osteoclasts (cells that break down bones), as well as promote the synthesis of osteocalcin, a protein essential for maintaining the strength and density of our bones.
6. It's great for your cardiovascular system
The antioxidant properties of spinach work to prevent harmful oxidation of cholesterol. Folate, found in spinach, converts harmful, stroke-inducing chemicals into harmless compounds.
7. It keeps you smart
Vitamin K contained in spinach contributes greatly to a healthy nervous system and brain function. The folic acid in spinach helps slow the effects of aging on the brain.
8. It makes your skin super
Vitamin A promotes healthy skin by allowing proper moisture retention in the epidermis thus fighting psoriasis, acne, and even wrinkles!
9. It protects your vision
Dark, leafy vegetables contain several important phytochemicals, including lutein, which helps prevent age related macular degeneration. Spinach is also a powerful source of beta carotene, which reduces the risk of developing cataracts.
10. It's amazingly anti-inflammatory
Neoxanthin and violaxanthin play a crucial role in the regulation of inflammation and are abundant in spinach.
11. It keeps you awake
Spinach contains iron which carries blood and oxygen throughout the body and can increase energy and reduce fatigue. Spinach also contains lipoic acid which helps antioxidant vitamins C and E regenerate. Due to its role in energy production it is believed that lipoic acid can regulate blood sugar levels preventing energy slumps throughout the day.