here is a much loved lore about spinach being the source of Popeye’s strength. At the slightest hint of trouble, the reed thin sailor Popeye would open a tin of spinach, which would lead to his biceps bulging and him getting almost superhuman strength. Comic exaggerations aside, raw baby spinach has a huge array of health benefits, which we discuss here.
Spinach is relatively low in fats and cholesterol, and high in zinc, niacin, fiber, vitamins A, B6, E, C and K, folate, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese and copper.
also has high levels of bio-flavonoids that prevent cholesterol oxidation and protect your body from the harmful action of free radicals.
My favorite way of using raw spinach leaves is mixing them in my smoothies. It doesn’t matter much what type of smoothie I’m making. A good portion of my smoothies is always baby spinach!
If you are going to cook it, to retain the abundant iron content, cook it very lightly and add some vinegar or lemon juice.
Let’s look at the health benefits of raw baby spinach leaves…
Spinach is recommended to pregnant womenbecause it contains folate, which is essential for the proper development of a new nervous system in a growing fetus. Folate deficiency can cause defects in a child such as cleft palate or spina bifida. Spinach contains vitamin A, which should be taken by pregnant women in large quantities as it is essential for the proper development of lungs in the fetus. In fact, vitamin A is transferred from the mother to the child during breastfeeding, so spinach should be had by the mother after childbirth as well.
Spinach Fights Cancer
Spinach is recommended for cancer patients. It consists of vital nutrients such as folate, tocopherol, and chlorophyllin, which are used in the treatment and prevention of bladder, prostate, liver and lung cancers. Spinach fights prostate cancer, as it consists of carotenoids such as epoxyxanthophylls, which reduce tumorous growth and fight the spread of cancer in the body.
Spinach is a great source of beta carotene, luteinand xanthene, which are essential for a better eyesight. Spinach supplies vitamin A, which helps to prevent itching of the eyes, dry eyes and eye ulcers. The anti-inflammatory properties of spinach reduce irritation in the eyes as well as puffiness, if any. The nutrients contained in spinach protect the eyes from the harsh effects of UV rays which may lead to cataracts.
Spinach is recommended to those suffering from osteoporosis as it contains Vitamin K, which helps to retain calcium in the bones and leads to bone mineralization. Spinach also consists of minerals such as copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc which are essential for stronger bones. Spinach is essential for healthier teeth and nails as well.
Boosts Metabolism, Suppresses Appetite and Helps With Weight Loss
The protein content in spinach is much higher than in other green vegetables. This is easily converted into amino acids, which helps with muscle development and growth and faster recovery from injuries or disease. This also boosts the body’s metabolism and ensures that all internal organs function at their optimal level. Spinach also curbs the constant cravings for food that so many feel and suppresses the appetite. So, spinach also helps with weight loss.
Prevents Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is a disease that is known to cause blindness due to the degeneration of lutein and xanthenes, which are a part of the retina. Spinach can help regain two critical pigments, which prevents AMD. Spinach has lots of antioxidants that act against free radicals, which are known to damage the eyesight.
Has Several Neurological Benefits
This green superfood contains folate, which helps to prevent the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. That’s why spinach is recommended to people suffering from neural or cognitive decline. Spinach contains potassium which increases blood flow to the brain, improves concentration, and helps with better cognition and neural activity.
Lowers High Blood Pressure
Spinach is rich in potassium, which lowers high blood pressure. Spinach has very little sodium, which raises blood pressure. Spinach also has folate and manganese, which reduce hypertension, regulate blood flow and relax blood vessels.
Spinach has an antioxidant called coenzyme factor C0-Q10, which strengthens muscles, in particular cardiovascular muscles that pump blood to the different parts of the body. C0-Q10 prevents many cardiovascular diseases such as hyperlipidemia, hypertension, coronary heart disease as well as heart failure.
Spinach Smoothie Recipe
This is a recipe for a refreshing banana spinach smoothie. Feel free to adapt it to your needs. Place the ingredients in your high power blender and blend for something like 30 to 60 seconds.
- 1/2 cup strawberries or blueberries
- 6 peeled carrots
- 1/2 ripe banana
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 1 cup spring water
Spinach Juice Recipe
This is a recipe for a refreshing spinach juice. Use it when you need a quick boost of nutrients without the extra burden to the digestive system. Don’t drink it every day, because you won’t be getting any of the fibers needed for optimum health. Process the ingredients below in a juicer and drink right away after juicing.
- 6 peeled carrots
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1/4 cut squeezed lemon juice
- 1 celery stalk
It’s clear that spinach has so many health benefits that it is hard to enumerate them all. Packed with vitamins and nutrients, but low in calories, spinach should be regular on your menu. Being so versatile, it lends itself as one of the best ingredients for your healthy smoothies and vegetable drinks. That’s how I recommend using it. Being packed with nutrients for all parts of your body, you can use it as often as you like.
It goes without saying that you should buy only the organic spinach varieties to avoid potential contamination with pesticides and other harmful substances.