Spinach is a popular green leafy vegetable loved and use around the world. In Nigeria, the Yoruba people call it “alefo”, it is added to a variety of soups and it is also used to make vegetable soup.
This dark green leafy vegetable is loaded with anticancer and antioxidant properties. It contains many vital nutrients like vitamin A, C, and E and other vital minerals.
There are countless health benefits of this humble vegetable. This is a super food and it has been used throughout history and in various cultures as both food and medicine.
This vegetable is available all year round and it can be easily grown and cultivated. It contains important antioxidants and pigments like beta-carotene, chlorophyllin, xanthene, and lutein. It contains a very low amount of fats.
Below are the wonderful health benefits of spinach.
Health Benefits of Spinach
Detoxifies the body
Chlorophyll the compound responsible for the green color of this vegetable is a powerful antioxidant and a strong detoxifier. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and removes all sorts of toxins, wastes and foreign entities from the body.
Spinach contains many anti-inflammatory compounds, this help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and other health problems triggered by inflammation if spinach is taken regularly.
This is one of the most powerful vegetables that fight inflammation. It protects important organs and tissues of the body from inflammation, it also relieves the symptoms of inflammation all through the body.
Spinach contains a rich content of beta-carotene, the body converts this antioxidant to vitamin A and this vitamin protects the eyes and improves vision. It also contains other antioxidants like xanthene and lutein which are all beneficial to the eyes.
A deficiency in this vital nutrient (Vitamin A) leads to night blindness, dry eyes, eyes ulcers and itching of the eyes. It also fights eye problems caused by aging and it helps in treating cataracts. It also treats eye irritation and reduces puffiness in the eyes.
Spinach also prevents and treats macular degeneration and glaucoma. It also prevents and treats retinitis pigmentosa or AMD which leads to blindness.
Lutein and zeaxanthine in spinach prevent cataracts and protect the eyes from harmful UV rays and free radicals and other eye problems.
Treats Gastric Ulcers
This vegetable protects the mucus membrane of the stomach and intestines thereby preventing stomach and peptic ulcers. It decreases the severity and frequency of the symptoms, it hastens healing.
It contains glycoglycerolipids, this helps to strengthen the lining of the digestive tract and fights inflammation.
Strengthens Bones and Muscles
Spinach contains CO-Q10 which is a powerful antioxidant that helps in strengthening the muscles especially that of the heart which constantly pumps blood all through the body.
Due to this property, regular consumption of spinach keeps cardiovascular diseases at bay. This includes coronary heart disease, hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure and heart failure.
Spinach is rich in vitamin K, this mineral helps to maintain healthy levels of calcium in the bones. It aids the mineralization of bones, it prevents de-mineralization and osteoporosis and increases the strength of the bones.
It is also rich in copper, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, and zinc; all these minerals are essential for healthy and strong teeth, bones and nails.
Taking raw spinach in the morning on an empty stomach in the form of smoothies is a good way to boost your metabolism. The proteins are easily broken down by enzymes into amino acids which are essential for a lot of metabolic functions in the body.
These amino acids boost metabolism, aid growth and development, heal wounds and protect the organs of the body. It helps the body function at its optimal level.
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Supports Healthy Pregnancy and Fetal Development
This vegetable is great for pregnant women, it contains folate that helps a lot in the development of the fetus. It helps the fetus develop a healthy nervous system and it prevents birth defects like spina bifida or cleft palate.
It also prevents hypertension during pregnancy and its rich iron content prevents anemia. It is safe when consumed in large quantities and regularly during pregnancy.
Vitamin A enhance healthy formation of lungs in an infant, and it should be continued when breastfeeding because its benefits can be passed on through breastfeeding.
It also boosts healthy growth and development in infants.
Aids Weight Loss
Spinach contains thylakoid, this compound stops craving and regulates hunger thereby controlling the intake of foods and reducing excess weight. It is dense in vital nutrients and very low in carbohydrates and fats. This keeps one feeling full for a long time.
It is rich in fiber which boosts healthy digestion of foods thereby controlling weight gain.
The rich amount of vitamin K contained in spinach aids the process of blood clotting. It helps in the production of prothrombin, it controls excess bleeding and helps the liver produce glycogen.
Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries. Its antioxidant lutein prevents the accumulation of plaques or the formation of blood clots in the blood vessels. This condition is a risk factor for heart disease, strokes, heart attack and other chronic diseases.
Spinach also reduces high levels of cholesterol and this compound has been implicated in atherosclerosis. Cholesterol and other fats can accumulate in the blood vessels and obstruct the flow of blood.
Boosts the Brain and Nervous System
This vegetable should be given to aged people regularly because it helps maintains proper functions of the brain, it makes the brain young and active when consumed on a daily basis and helps one think clearly and intelligently.
It contains vitamin C, K, and folate, these nutrients help the nervous system in regulating the production of hormones. It protects the nervous system and the myelin sheath around the nerve by facilitating the production of sphingolipids which the body uses to make myelin sheath.
This vegetable corrects cognitive problems and even behavioral problems.