When an American cartoonist E.C. Segar decided to use spinach as the icon of superhuman strength in his comic strip Popeye the Sailor Man is not without reason. It is because spinach has its own super power due to its nutrients properties which is rich in nutrients and beneficial for human who consume it.
After Walt Disney decided to bring the comic into a motion picture the popularity of spinach as super vegetable is increasing among children and in national level has credit in giving positive influence toward America’s eating habit too.
Well, sometimes TV could give a very good contribution. So, is it true that spinach could turn you into a human with super power? Of course not, but finding out about how beneficial spinach for human health could help you preparing the answers, just in case, if your children asking you the same question.
The Nutritional Breakdown
|Standard: 180 Grams Spinach|
|Vitamin K||987%||Vitamin K and Vitamin A are two vitamins which are highly found in spinach followed by vitamin B (B2 and B6), vitamin E, vitamin C and slight amount of vitamin B1 and B3.|
|Manganese||84%||Two more substances that are found in high content are manganese and folate. That’s why spinach is good for pregnant mother.|
|Magnesium||39%||And then more minerals like magnesium, iron, copper and potassium were followed.|
|Calcium||24%||The amount of calcium in spinach is the same with vitamin C, that is why for you who is consuming spinach for the sake of the iron is recommended to combine it with other foods which are rich of vitamin C; it is due to natural characteristic of calcium that could cause iron absorption interference and vitamin C has the opposite function which will assist you in optimizing the absorption of iron.|
|Potassium||24%||The other substances like fiber, phosphorus, zinc, protein, choline, omega-3 fats and selenium are also found in spinach though the amount is not really significant.|
|Omega 3 fats||7%|
Health Benefits of Spinach:
- The Best Vegetable in Controlling Cholesterol
Most vegetable varieties are low in fats and calories but spinach is the best choice among vegetables in controlling cholesterol. Why? It is because spinach is containing high fiber called soluble dietary. Perhaps learning a bit about how fiber could be considered as the best solution to control cholesterol could give you insight knowledge about how powerful fiber is.
Fiber is not like the other substances that enter your body, instead of being broken down or digested fiber is just like a passing traveler inside the intestine system. However, during the travelling process, fiber will provide a cleaning service and function as natural detox to bring together all the unnecessary substances inside the intestine to be washed out. There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, and spinach is so rich of soluble fiber.
The main characteristic of soluble fiber is like gel, it will be thicken if it is mixed with water. While fiber is already in the form of gel, it will easily bind cholesterol found inside the intestine system and remove it from the body completely.
- Good Vegetable Choice during Weight Loss Diet Program
Consuming more vegetables during weight loss diet program is highly recommended because vegetables is high in nutrients but relatively low in fats and calories, so it is safe to be consumed by those who is currently in weight loss program. However, why spinach should be put in the daily menu while there are a lot of choices of vegetables? Well, the answer is as simple as spinach prevent craving.
Logically, craving is the main problem for those who are currently in weight loss program. Spinach has properties that could slow down the digestive process inside intestine system which will produce specific hormone which functions as messenger to the brain in signaling that body is still full and as the result, no more unnecessary craving.
- Boosting Red Blood Cell Production in Human Body
Do you know what substance that could boost the production of red blood cell in your body? The answer is iron and spinach is the real winner when it comes to the choice of vegetables rich of iron. However, due to some issues, sometimes the absorption of iron is easily interfered but you don’t need to worry, spinach is also rich of vitamin C that could assist in optimizing the absorption of iron in your body.
Just an additional advice, combine spinach with other foods rich of vitamin C to make sure the optimal absorption of iron is still recommended, like squeezing some orange juice or any citrus varieties to your spinach salad is one of the serving suggestion you could do.
- Slowing Down the Aging of Cells
Speaking of anti-aging properties there are a lot of vegetables as the choice but spinach is one of that is highly recommended because it is rich of vitamin K, vitamin C, E and beta-carotene. Those properties are powerful source to slow down the aging process of cells and as the result you could have skin that look younger, stronger bone, sharper memory, better stamina and better sight no matter your age said the otherwise.
- Recommended Prevention Action against Age-Related Macular Disease
As has been mentioned above spinach is rich of vitamin K which could help in slowing down the aging of cells. ARMD or Age-Related Macular Disease commonly suffer by elderly, the condition when a person will start suffering a blur vision and being forgetful.
However if you could maintain your healthy lifestyle before entering the senior age, the chance of ARMD could be reduced and consuming spinach is highly recommended as the preventive action. Besides that, spinach is also rich of Vitamin A and it is a common knowledge that vitamin A could help reducing the risk of blur vision and in serious case is blindness.
- Could Improve Vision
No one will argue that spinach is rich of vitamin A. Among other nutritional properties contained in spinach, the amount of vitamin A is the highest. And no one also will argue that vitamin A is good to improve vision. Well, perhaps spinach is not a super food that could help you curing your myopia completely and besides in some cases myopia also could be genetic. However, if you have children, let them consuming spinach daily could reduce the risk.
- Reduce the Risk of Lung Cancer
One of the super foods recommended to fight lung cancer is spinach. Well, generally, spinach has properties that could prevent the development of cancerous cells, however specifically spinach is the best choice of vegetables to reduce the risk of lung cancer. Recent studies found that there are some causes of cancer; the one that we all already know widely is due to the mutation of DNA so cell will grow uncontrollably.
However, abnormal genetic condition could lead to the development cancerous cell as well and in lung cancer case, the main cause is unhealthy habit and a substance called carcinogen has prominent role in causing cancer due to that habit and spinach is one of the vegetables that has been proven to have significant effect in offsetting the damaging effect caused by carcinogen.
- Spinach Has Significant Evidence to Prevent Prostate Cancer
Unlike lung cancer that caused by unhealthy habit, prostate cancer’s main caused is due to mutation occurred in the prostate that cause uncontrolled growth of cells. Spinach contained plenty of epoxyanthophylls which is well known as anti-cancer and has been proven to be able in fighting prostate cancer. If spinach could fight the cancer, it means it could help you preventing it as well.
- Delicious Way to Fight against Osteoporosis
As rich in Vitamin K, of course spinach has powerful effect to maintain the strength of your bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Simple explanation, the main effect of a person who is suffering low intakes of vitamin K is bone fracture. It means, consuming vitamin K has significant effect for the stronger bones. That’s why spinach is the delicious way to make sure that your body has enough vitamin K to support your daily activity.
- Could Slowing Down the Neuron Damage in Patient with Alzheimer
One of the super powers that spinach has is fighting the aging process. One of the effects of aged brain cells is the decreasing of ability of brain to save memory.
Recent studies have found that beta-carotene and vitamin K found in spinach has significant function as the factor that slowing down the degeneration of brain cells. Other studies also have proven that some properties found in spinach consumed by patients with Alzheimer could assist in slowing down the effect of neuron damage.
- Good for Pregnant Mother
As rich in iron, spinach has powerful function as the main booster of red blood cells production. In pregnant mother, red blood cells are essential for the development of fetal inside the womb. Red blood cells has important role in the building of bones and teeth as well as the development of brain.
Besides that spinach also has some more important properties that could prevent a baby was born with birth defect condition. Besides that, spinach is also rich of folate which is good for the brain development of the fetal.
- Could Help in Controlling Blood Pressure
High blood pressure level is probably caused by the high sodium found in blood. Unhealthy diet is the main cause of this condition. Reducing or avoiding all foods contained of high sodium is the best way to control blood pressure and at the same time consuming spinach which is rich in potassium is highly recommended since potassium is a powerful substance to offset the effect of sodium in the body.
- Good for Digestive System
It has been mentioned partially in point number 1 that spinach is rich of fiber. Adequate amount of fiber in the body means healthier digestive system because all unnecessary substances in the intestine will be washed out and what remained is a detoxified and healthier intestine.
- Natural Solution to Fight Anemia
The main cause of anemia is there are some problems in the production of red blood cells, so a person with anemia will easily feel tired and anxiety. A person who is suffering iron deficiency has higher risk to suffer anemia and spinach is the natural source where you could provide enough iron to your body through daily diet.
- Beneficial for Healthier Skin
Dark green leaves vegetables always good for skin and spinach is no exception. As antioxidant, spinach is beneficial to maintain the health of your skin, beta-carotene contained will protect your skin from all negative effects caused by sun. Furthermore, spinach is also rich of several vitamins that good for skin such as Vitamin K, A, E and C. Vitamin C is essential to maintain collagen in the body and collagen is essential to make skin look fairer and fleck-free.
- Solution for Lustrous Hair
What is the point of having healthy skin without healthy hair? For women, hair is not only just part of their body, hair is their crown, having healthy and lustrous hair is every women’s dream. Vitamin B, C and E as well as some minerals like calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium are some properties found in spinach which is good to stimulate the hair growth and prevent hair loss.
Iron has significant role in producing healthy amount of red blood cells which are used to distribute oxygen to the scalp and oxygen is very essential to stimulate hair follicles so hair will grow stronger and healthier.
- Reduce the Development of Asthma
There are two chemical compounds found in spinach which is good to prevent the development of asthma; they are magnesium and potassium. A person who is suffering magnesium or potassium deficiency will have higher risk of asthma. Besides that spinach is high of vitamin C, E and beta-carotene which have been proven to be effective in reducing the development of asthma.
- Could Assist in Lowering Blood Sugar Level
Consuming healthy food could help you maintaining your blood sugar level a little easier. Generally, spinach is good for people with blood sugar level issue because spinach is low in sugar and otherwise it is rich of fiber that will help your intestine system process carbohydrate a little better. Besides that, spinach is rich of potassium which is not only good to control blood pressure but also the blood sugar level.
- Improving Bone Health and Strength
Well, Popeye the Sailor Man has shown you how powerful spinach could be. As super food, spinach has ability to help you improving your bone health, making them stronger and lowering the risk of all kinds of bone fracture. It is because spinach is rich of vitamin K that could help in optimizing the absorption of calcium in the body.
- Could Increase Insulin Sensitivity
For those who have been diagnosed to have diabetes type 2, perhaps it is the time to rearrange your daily menu and put exercise as your daily routine activity. Consuming spinach daily could help a person with type 2 diabetes increasing the insulin sensitivity to assist the optimal absorption of glucose in the blood. As anti-inflammation, vitamin K is the specific vitamin contained in spinach that could increase insulin sensitivity.
Side Effects of Spinach
Even a super food like spinach could harm your body if you don’t consume it wisely, especially for those who have been diagnosed with certain conditions. Below are some conditions which consuming spinach is forbidden in all cost:
- Kidney Issue
- Acute Gout
- Gastrointestinal Problem
Once a person has been diagnosed with certain conditions as mentioned above is better to limit or even avoid spinach. The reason is due to specific substance which is also found in spinach called purines. This substance, if it is broken down will form uric acid and the excess accumulation of uric acid could cause serious condition like kidney disease and the form of kidney stones. Besides that high level of uric acid in blood could make acute gout condition worsen.
Otherwise, gastrointestinal problem is caused by fiber contained in spinach. It is true that fiber in spinach is considered as healthy fiber however don’t eat it too much since the characteristic of spinach is not easy to process by the intestinal system (that’s why cooked spinach is much more recommended than raw spinach). Too much spinach could cause some gastrointestinal problem like cramp, constipation, bloating and even diarrhea.
Serving Suggestion: Cooked or Raw?
It is true that when it comes to the service suggestion is much more about taste. Everyone has their own favorite way to consume their cook. However spinach is a bit unique because some said it is better to consume cooked spinach instead of raw spinach. Let’s find out why.
Do: In general nutrients content found in cooked and raw spinach is similar. However, vitamins contained in cooked spinach are slightly higher than raw spinach. When it comes to mineral is also the same, except for potassium.
The reason why cooked spinach is much more recommended than raw spinach is because cooked spinach is easier to consume when it is cooked, so you could get all the benefit of spinach optimally.
Don’t: However, it still depends on how you cook it. Cooked spinach has higher risk of nutrients loss. Don’t cook it too long, steam it is much better than boil it.
Do: As mentioned above, vitamins and mineral contained in raw and cooked spinach is similar but of course of you need more potassium in your daily diet is better for you to consume raw spinach. Besides, fiber contained in raw spinach will work optimally in your intestine.
Don’t: Making sure you choose organic spinach only if you want to consume it raw. Non-organic spinach will be easily contaminated with dangerous chemical during cultivation. Unfortunately, for pregnant women are recommended to avoid raw vegetables at all cost.
Consuming spinach daily in adequate amount is highly recommended. Unfortunately, in four seasons country spinach is not available in all years but for those who live in tropical countries there is no reason for you to not consuming spinach daily. Besides that, spinach is kind of vegetables that could be consumed in several options like fresh salad, cream soup, as pizza topping or green smoothies. Introduce spinach to your children as early as possible is also highly recommended because consuming only healthy food means healthier lifestyle.