Amongst the most resourceful and healthy edible plants, spinach is the graceful one with its so many positive effects in our health system. Spinach is actually a plant which leaves are eaten as the veggie. It is said that spinach may have first originated in ancient Persia which is now known as Iran. It is actually an annual plant. Spinach-nutrition facts with benefits is an important to know for our healthy living and physical fitness.
There are some interesting facts about spinach like its juice fortified with wine was given to the French soldiers having hemorrhage, during the 1st world war. Spinach was also a subject of a special treatise by Ibn Hajjaj in the 11th century. Spinach was known as the Spanish vegetable in England.
And no wonder that you all know about Popeye soldier since childhood, who used to sip a can of spinach and showed us his powerful biceps resulted from that.
Spinach benefits us in many ways via its contents. Have a look on its nutrition then to get a clear idea-
So you can see that spinach not only contains a variety of vitamins but also different minerals. I must add that it is a low caloric food being a good source of fiber and water.
Spinach has enormous benefits that you can imagine. But alas! Many of us are not well aware of this.
I got perplexed when I think about its effectiveness in our body maintenance but we may know a little about it. So in this article, I’m going to enlighten you with its brightness.
Spinach Nutrition Facts TableRaw (1 cup)
|Vitamin A||9377 IU|
|Vitamin B1||.078 mg|
|Vitamin B3||.724 mg|
|Vitamin E||2 mg|
|Vitamin K||483 microgram|
Spinach-Nutrition Facts with Benefits
Growth & Development:
Spinach is rich in minerals and vitamins which works on growth and development of your body. All of them are also essential for regulating properly our body activities.
Spinach is rich in chlorophyll and glutathione. Both of them are active in washing away toxins from your body and cleanse your systems.
Spinach contains 166 mg of glutathione in its raw form.
Spinach contains neoxanthin and violaxanthin. Both of them are the anti-inflammatory element. Carotenoids are in plenty in spinach. Spinach is in the rank 2 source of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin at WHFoods. The nitrate content of it is also an element in preventing inflammation. Thus it prevents various inflammatory diseases like arthritis, migraine etc.
1 cup of spinach provides almost 337% of RDA of Vitamin A. and it is one of the most powerful immune boosters. It protects the entry points of our body like respiratory, intestinal, urinary tracts. It also enhances the functions of lymphocytes to prevent infections.
Spinach also contains Vitamin C which combats infections and also protects cell walls.
Spinach is highly riches in iron and folate which are important factors of producing RBC. So consuming spinach is very helpful for pregnant & menstruating women, growing children.
By this, it also prevents anemia. So anyone having low Hb level, may try having spinach daily for a given amount of time and then see the change.
Spinach is rich in calcium and magnesium and both of them act on bones development.
But mainly, the Vitamin K content works on bone maintenance. Vitamin K prevents activation of osteoclast which is the bone destructing cell. It also stimulates osteocalcin protein thus binds calcium to the existing bone.
More to add that 1 cup of fresh spinach contains almost 200% of the daily value of Vitamin K.
Spinach has a magical power to not only prevent heart diseases but also working on its treatment. Spinach contains lutein which protects the thickening of the arterial wall and thus maintains smooth blood flow. Spinach also has nitrite which prevents accumulation of fat by dilating blood vessels and in this way it cures heart diseases.
It also has Vitamin C and Vitamin K which controls cholesterol level to keep a stable environment for your heart.
Blood Pressure Controller:
Peptides of spinach lower the BP by inhibiting angiotensin-1 converting enzyme. And let me tell you that it is one of the enzymes that work on maintaining blood pressure.
Nitrate of spinach also acts on BP maintenance. According to medical news today, the high content of potassium in spinach makes it a good option for patients with high BP.
Spinach has been proven to be effective in the protection against the occurrence of prostate cancer. It is also found that spinach decreases the rate of cell division in human stomach, breast, and skin cancer cells. Its phytonutrients have the anti-cancerous effect.
Promotive to Eye Health:
Spinach contains Vitamin A which maintains healthy mucous membranes. Vitamin A is vital for normal eyesight. The carotenoids of it (ex.: lutein, zeaxanthin) are beneficial to prevent cataract, macular degeneration and other eye diseases.
Treatment of Lung issues:
According to the University of Maryland medical center, spinach helps to reduce the symptoms of lung cancer due to having high Vitamin B and iron.
Studies have also found that much consumption of beta-carotene, a nutrient of spinach can show positivity in the quality of life of asthma patients.
Brain & Nervous function promoter:
Spinach has the Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate which works on enhancing the hormone production of the nervous system. Vitamin K also facilitates the synthesis of sphingo lipids; the fat that makes up myelin sheath of nerves. Spinach for these makes our brain active and young if is taken on a regular basis. It is also found to slow-down the age-related decline in human brain activity.
Proper functioning of the Gastrointestinal tract:
Being a plant food, spinach is enriched in fiber and water. And its high fiber & water content promotes bowel movements and cures constipation. Spinach also protects the stomach mucous lining and thus prevent ulceration.
Spinach due to having rich mineral content neutralizes the body fluid and helps in acid reflux.
Weight Losing Agent:
Shocked to hear? But yeah, it’s true that spinach will be your best friend in weight loss if you take it in a daily basis. Let me elaborate it more specifically as I know most of us usually remain in search for benefits of any food in this specific criteria.
Spinach contains chlorophyll which is in chloroplast associated with thyroidal membrane. And several studies have shown that thyroidal-rich extracts from it to delay stomach emptying, reduces hireling hormone which is a hunger-related hormone. It is rich in fiber and water which will make you fuller for a longer period and avoid your repetitive eating. Spinach has low calorie but more nutrients and minerals. Thus having it will give you energy and refreshment without consuming many calories and of course for a good amount of time.
If you are making a dietary chart, you can easily add spinach salad or spinach juice in it for an accurate result.
As above mentioned, spinach has plenty of zinc and magnesium and both of the minerals refreshes the human mind and relaxes it. These make human body stress free and so causes you a sound sleep which gears up the refreshment and makes you more active. Magnesium helps by replenishing quickly the energy loss during the whole day and gear up the body again.
Promotes sex life of individuals:
Spinach is found to have an effect in both men’s and women’s sex life. Studies have found it increasing libido in women and erasing erectile dysfunction in men.
Apart from these, people maximum time want to know about some specific benefits of spinach. I’m discussing here some of them to let you know more details and accurately-
Does Spinach Benefit for Hair?
Yes. Spinach works on your hair so that it grows early, smoothly and with a healthy state.
Spinach is full of nutrients, minerals, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B which all make it a super food for hair growth. It contains iron which ultimately causes more blood and oxygen supply to the hair follicles.
Iron and folate prevent hair loss by providing proper nutrients to the hair follicles.
Antioxidants of spinach not only reduces hair damage but also boosts scalp health.
Anti-inflammatory activity of spinach also soothes an aggravated scalp.
Manganese increases hair growth.
Vitamin E smoothest your hair and also help it to look shiny.
Vitamin B & Vitamin C increases collagen and keratin levels and thus speed up hair growth.
You can use spinach externally via any hair pack or you can also have spinach juice or smoothie regularly to have healthy and strong hair. Because what we eat is also the thing we feed to our hair. So having spinach daily will internally work on your hair as well as to the whole body.
Spinach Benefits for Skin
Another common question is asked most of the time along with this is that if spinach is helpful for your skin or not.
Smooth, flawless, bright skin is a desire of all. But as it is a sensitive organ we remain always vigile choosing a product for our skin. Choosing Spinach for skin will give you –
Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E are the main antioxidants which are plentiful in spinach. Antioxidants destroy free radicals in your skin cell. Free radicals destroy our cell and cause premature breakdown of the face. Spinach in this way acts as an anti-aging ingredient and make your skin look rejuvenated always. You can use this to prevent age-related degeneration of your skin.
Antioxidants will also fight against bacterias that cause pimples and acne in your skin.
This vitamin is a sun protector. It protects you from the daring UV-ray of sun and saves your skin. By this, it also acts as an anti-cancer element.
Vitamin A & Vitamin C:
Both of these vitamins cleanse the skin and make it flawless. It also prevents acne to occur by cleaning dust, oil from your skin. You can try using spinach pack and see the result by yourself. You can just blend the spinach adding water and put it on the face for 20 minutes. You can also have spinach juice every day for a refreshment which will also be seen on your face externally too.
This 2 vitamin also works on the regeneration of skin, maintain the moisture of the skin and protecting from psoriasis.
Vitamin K & folate:
Vitamin K is important for strengthening vessel wall which will help in removing dark circles.
Vitamin K and folate improve dry and itchy skin, inflammation and gives a better complexion of skin.
1 cup of spinach contains 164 gm of water. Less water in the cell will increase the tendency of wrinkles in the skin. Having spinach will give you the protection from this and will make your skin healthy and fresh.
How to eat spinach? Nutrition facts of Cooked and Raw Spinach
After reading all of these, you may be eagerly waiting to know how to eat spinach or the ways of having it. There are some debates between the nutrition facts of cooked and raw spinach.
Let me help you out through this-
Raw spinach contains oxalic acid. This acid binds with many minerals of our body and reduces the absorption rate of them. Thus this acid may cause mineral deficiency disorders. Oxalic acid also binds with calcium and form kidney stones.
So if you have any kidney problem, you should avoid this. But not everyone having raw spinach show these disturbances. You just need to be careful about the amount and side effects.
Plus point of cooked spinach is that heating destroys oxalic acid. So you may not get the problems, above mentioned.
Otherwise both the raw and cooked spinach contains the same amount of macronutrients in their 100gm quantity.
Raw spinach can give you more availability of folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B2, potassium.
On the other hand, cooked spinach will give you more availability of Vitamin A & E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium and iron.
I, myself prefer cooked spinach than the raw one.
You may have spinach as a juice or smoothie, or salad, with an omelet, by cooking with different veggies etc.
But spinach juice is the best to have most of the benefits in a short way and also less time-consuming to make.
Spinach Juice Recipe:
- Lemon Juice
Step 1: Wash and clean the spinach leaves, apple, and celery properly.
Step 2: Cut apple and celery into pieces.
Step 3: Put them in the blender jar and pour 3/4 cup of water.
Step 4: Add spinach and lemon juice.
Step 5: Blend it until smooth.
Step 6: If you find only spinach flavor boring, you can add carrot, cucumber, beet, tomato etc.
Benefits of Spinach Juice:
- It gives you a refreshed mind and relaxed physique
- Kills off free radicals of skin
- Prevents cardiovascular diseases.
- Prevents cancer.
- Promotes digestion
- Strengthen Bones.
Even though having lots of positive sides, spinach juice shows side effects if you start to have it suddenly or at a high rate. I will discuss the side effects later in this article.
Spinach Baby Food
Spinach is a very good source for your baby as it contains healthy elements which may gear up your baby’s growth.
Being a powerful food, spinach might be a choosable one for your baby. It has the capability to improve baby’s functional systems and make it stronger.
As per pediatricians, there are different sayings on when you can give your baby spinach. It may be good to feed him spinach at his 8-10 month. It is the time when mothers start to give it foods other than breastfeeding.so you have to be wise in choosing his foods as it is a sensitive one. I would recommend you to consult his pediatrician before changing or adding something to his meal.
Spinach will give your baby-
Zinc, which makes a healthy immune system for your baby.
Iron, which will improve baby’s RBC count, brain & neurological development.
Vitamins and minerals for his proper growth & development
Fiber, which will improve its digestive system, makes its defecation easier. 1 cup of spinach contains 6gm of fiber. That’s why it is very effective in constipation.
Let me share with you some recipes of spinach baby food for your baby-
EWG says that spinach is one of the “dirty dozen” foods that is mostly contaminated with pesticides. So purchasing organic spinach is a better idea.
You can buy spinach puree from the market or make it at home also. But always be very conscious about its levels, contents, and purity as your baby is a sensitive one.
Spinach baby Food Puree Recipe:
Take a desired amount of spinach, clean them properly and exclude dry & damaged leaves. Steam that in a pot. When the leaves are shrunk and appear wilted, it is done. Then puree spinach in a blender or your food processor. To have desired consistency, add water as you wish.
Healthy Sautéed Spinach Baby Food:
- Olive Oil
- Garlic Powder
- Carrots, Peas, Potatoes, and Lentils, Chicken (optional)
- Pick an amount of spinach, clean them, and cut away the damaged leaves.
- Heat olive oil in a pan
- Sauté spinach in the heated oil until tender.
- Make puree than in the food processor. You can add water for your desired consistency.
- You can also add some spices like basil, garlic powder if your baby can have them.
- As the baby is new to these foods you may add other foods with spinach also as spinach tastes a little bit bitter. You can add carrots, peas, potatoes, and lentils, chicken.
Alarm: Always consult with your pediatrician if the baby shows any kind of allergy. And always give spinach in a limited and an intermittent way. As eating much spinach may show some bad effects also.
Spinach has some specific benefits in male and female. I will show you that –
Spinach Benefits for Men:
- You may get perplexed to know that spinach boosts up a man’s sex life by preventing erectile dysfunction, proving a good orgasm and also more circulation to the genitalia.
- It can be said as the ultimate man’s food or biceps builder as it contains much nutrition and low calories.
- It contains magnesium which is one of the best energy providing component.
- It contains folate which is known as a sex nutrient.
- Spinach also prevents cardiac diseases, PAD, hypertension. These diseases may interrupt one’s sex life also. Thus it indirectly also prevents them.
Spinach Benefits for Women:
- Spinach increases libido in women but not at the same rate as in men.
- As I mentioned above, it provides healthy and gorgeous skin and hair.
- For pregnant women, spinach is a very good source for her and the baby. It contains folate which is the most important one for the baby’s neural tube development. Folate also prevents some diseases of babies like cleft lip, spinach bifida.
As we all know that every coin has two sides and every good thing also has its bad side, spinach is also not an exception. This green powerful leafy plant has some side-effects which we all should know to be safe.
Too much Spinach Side Effects:
- Kidney stones!!! Yeah, you’ve seen it right. This leafy veg. can cause you to have kidney stone if you consume it at a high rate. Let me brief-
Spinach contains a good amount of oxalic acid which caught up calcium and binds with it. Then calcium oxalate is formed and precipitated appearing as the kidney stone. Spinach also contains a large number of purines. And a large amount of purine in our body gets converted to uric acid. Uric acid then causes kidney stones. So be aware of this fact.
- Teeth coarseness is another bad effect of a large amount of spinach having. The oxalic acid of it forms small crystals which cause this coarseness. Relief is that it can be thrown away by brushing teeth regularly.
- Allergic reactions can be caused as it contains histamine.
- It is found that some spinach leaves can cause toxic reactions. If it gets contaminated with E. coli, food poisoning may also occur.
- A very important point if you are taking anticoagulant warfarin, you should skip spinach in your meal. As its Vitamin K might react with it and hamper some coagulation factors.
- Over-eating spinach may reduce the rate of your mineral absorption. Its oxalic acid may bind with calcium, magnesium, zinc and cause mineral deficiency disorders. This will also make you weak.
- Stomach upset may also be caused by this. Spinach contains a good amount of fiber that is 6gm fibers in 1 cup spinach. This promotes proper defecation. But eating too many fibers at a once can cause the opposite effect as our body needs time to get accustomed to it. So you should add spinach gradually not at a time at a high rate. And you should also try to drink a full glass of water after having spinach every time to help your body processing the fiber.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
There are some frequently asked questions about spinach. I will answer them here also for your better understanding.
Q: What does spinach do for your body?
Ans: spinach promotes your body growth, strengthen bones, promotes your digestive system, prevents many diseases, and provides better eye & cardiac health and lots of other things that you will find in my article.
Q: Why spinach is bad for you?
Ans: spinach may cause kidney stone for which you may avoid it having regularly. It may also cause some mineral deficiency disorders too.
Q: How healthy is Spinach?
Ans: This needs a broad answer but let me tell in a brief that spinach is healthy enough to boost up your functional activities providing a healthy life.
Q: Is spinach good for the digestive system?
Ans: yes, spinach is very positive for your digestive system. It contains fiber and water which causes a good bowel movement, easy defecation and thus healthy digestive tract.
Q: Is it better to eat spinach raw or cooked?
Ans: The cooked one. Cooked spinach have their antioxidants released, more lutein, calcium, iron, Vitamin A & E. and it also destroys oxalic acid which causes a bad effect on your kidneys
Q: Is spinach bad for your kidney?
Ans: Yes. Spinach is dangerous for your kidneys if you have it at a high rate. Its oxalic acid will make kidney stones which will cause disturbances in kidney activities. So spinach should be taken at a limited rate.
Q: Can I get sick from eating bad spinach?
Ans: Yes, obviously. Leafy greens are the notorious harborers of bacteria. It can cause you food poisoning, diarrhea, and other food-borne illness also.
Being frank enough, you can assume now that this leafy plant is not an ordinary one if you use it in a proper way. So have it, grab it and enjoy the benefits.