There is a reason spinach is considered a superfood.
For those of us who grew up watching Popeye constantly chug spinach out of a can and then beat up bad guys, the idea that spinach is healthy has been burned into our memory since childhood. While Popeye may be one of the earliest examples of product placement, they certainly chose the right product to place. The health benefits of spinach are well-known and widely accepted.
While it may be a bit annoying that when you cook five bags of spinach, they shrink down the size of a penny, the nutrients contained in spinach cannot be denied. Just three cups of raw spinach contain 20 calories, less than a gram of fat, three grams of carbohydrates, two grams of protein, and two grams of fiber. It also contains vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and B vitamins.
If that isn’t the definition of a superfood, I don’t know what is. Aside from all that, here are five ways that spinach actually helps your body:
Disease Prevention– Eating spinach reduces oxidation in general, which helps support your metabolism and reduces inflammation. This helps to reduce the risk of certain diseases like obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Blood Pressure– Spinach is full of nitrates that help to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow to the heart.
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Brain Health– In terms of cognitive decline for aging adults, studies have found that eating leafy greens like spinach daily can reduce your ‘brain age’ by as much as 7 years.
Eye Health– An antioxidant in spinach called lutein has been shown to help reduce the risk of macular degeneration from aging.
Antioxidants– Spinach contains antioxidants such as kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin, and isorhamnetin, which help reduce inflammation, and protect from cardiovascular disease and cancer.