Classified under the botanical name ‘Spinacia oleracea’, the delicately textured spinach shares more than just common ancestry with beet and Swiss chard. In fact, raw spinach leaves have the characteristic bitterness of beet greens while adding a slight yet unmistakable briny taste of Swiss chard, thus retaining the best of both leafages. Spinach health benefits are abundant, covering different aspects of the body from the skin and bones to everything else in between.
Interesting Facts About Spinach
There exist at least three types of edible spinach varieties. Baby spinach too is quite nutritious and its soft and tender leaves make it an excellent ingredient for salads. Even though spinach is available round the year in grocery stores, it is actually cultivated biennially, once between March through May and then in the months of September and October. So, buying the vegetable during these periods will ensure consumption of the produce when it is at its freshest and retains most of the nutrients.
Health Benefits Of Spinach
Spinach not only makes for a tasty vegetable, but also comes packed with lots of goodness. Here is a detailed list of spinach health benefits that you stand to enjoy if you decided to incorporate it into your daily diet:
• Roughage – Just one cup of spinach covers for nearly 18% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of dietary fiber requirement. Roughage is a crucial element of any balanced diet as it regularizes bowel movement, prevents constipation, and therefore aids in the digestive process, apart from maintaining low blood sugar level in the body and curbing the desire to overeat.
• Anti-Inflammatory Benefits – Spinach is blessed with unusual quantities of violaxanthin and neoxanthin, both of which exhibit amazing anti-inflammatory characterises.
• Anti-Carcinogens – Spinach leaves come loaded with a certain phytonutrient called ‘Flavonoids’. These compounds exhibit excellent anti-cancer properties as they are naturally predisposed to containing cancerous cell growth in the skin and stomach. Concurrent studies on spinach have also shed light on its defensive ability against stage III and IV prostate cancer.
• Anti-Oxidant Advantage – Minerals such as zinc, manganese, selenium along with other nutrients like vitamin E, vitamin C and beta carotene are all present in appreciable quantities in spinach. Together, they provide the body with anti-oxidant diversity to counteract physical conditions like high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (arterial blockage) and osteoporosis (porous bones).
• Visual Acuity – Two anti-oxidants namely zeaxanthin and lutein found in spinach protect against visual defects like cataracts (thin film formation in front of the lens of the eye) and macular degeneration (vision loss around the centre of the eye).
• Blood Pressure – Peptides present in spinach are well known for their effectively regulate blood pressure by inhibiting the enzyme action of angiotensin I-converting enzyme.
• Healthy Skin – Vitamin A present in the leafage efficiently checks against acne, wrinkles and even fights against skin problems such as keratinisation and psoriasis.
• Mental Health – Vitamin K found in spinach not only contributes towards healthy brain functioning but also ensures a more responsive nervous system.
• Internal Defence – Close to 377% RDA of Vitamin A is contained within just one cup of spinach. This essential vitamin is responsible for bolstering the immune system to fight off infections more efficiently.
• Stronger Bones –Vitamin K found in spinach (approximately 1100% RDA in 180g) is best known for aiding in the synthesis of osteocalcin, a bone strengthening protein.