HEALTH BENEFITS OF SPINACH VEGETABLE FOR HAIR, WEIGHT LOSS…..NUTRITION FACTS & SIDE EFFECTS
Spinach is a distant relative of beet and comes loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. The benefits of eating this green leafy vegetable are numerous benefiting various parts of the body including the eyes, the heart, and can even help in preventing certain types of cancer.
What is spinach?
Spinacia oleracea, commonly called spinach, is a vegetable plant cultivated for its green leaves. Spinach is a highly durable vegetable and can last through any weather. Although this vegetable is native to Southwestern Asia, it is now common to find spinach in other parts of the world including America and Europe.
The wide availability, cheapness, and nutritional benefits (which we’ll get to know shortly) of spinach are some of the reasons why it is used in natural health remedies.
Nutritional information about spinach
Spinach is a highly nutritious vegetable due to the availability of several minerals and vitamins. A 100-gram serving of spinach is said to contain 23 calories of which water is a major part. Carbohydrates including sugars and dietary fiber, protein, and healthy fats complete the list.
Spinach is a good source of vitamins A, C, K1, B vitamins, minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and manganese.
Spinach is also low in fat but rich in antioxidants such as lutein, xanthenes, beta-carotene, and chloropyllin. The fat content in spinach are mostly healthy unsaturated with no trans fat content.
Types of spinach
There are two major varieties of spinach: savoy and flat. While the savoy variety is characterized by dark green leaves, the flat spinach has smooth and broad leaves.
Health benefits of spinach vegetable
Virtually every age-group can benefit from the consumption of vegetables like spinach. This vegetable is not only healthy, but is also nourishing to the body. The following are some of the numerous benefits of eating spinach:
- Diabetes treatment
An antioxidant found in spinach called ALA (alpha-lipolic acid) has been revealed to help in increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin as well as in lowering the blood sugar level which contribute to diabetes.
- Against inflammation
Spinach has anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of violaxanthin and neoxanthin, which are powerful antioxidants. Inflammatory diseases like osteoarthritis can be prevented by eating spinach.
- Regulates blood pressure
Spinach contains angiotensin-inhibiting compounds that help in lowering blood pressure. Moreover, the presence of potassium in spinach also helps to counter the effects of sodium by maintaining electrolyte balance important for normal blood pressure. A high concentration of sodium in the body can increase the risk of high blood pressure. Thus, hypertensive persons can benefit from adding spinach to their diet.
- Good for the cardiovascular health
By lowering the blood pressure level and loading the body with antioxidants, eating spinach also positively affects the heart. For instance, the antioxidant lutein, is known to help in reducing the risk of heart diseases including coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart attack.
- For cancer treatment
According to various research reports, spinach has been shown to help in lowering the risk of certain types of cancer. Spinach contains many nutrients that have been known to have cancer-fighting capabilities. Beta-carotene, folates, and carotenoids in spinach help in protecting the body from several types of cancer including prostate, liver, bladder, cervical, and lung cancer.
- Remedy for hemophilia
Hemophilia or bleeder’s disease is congenital disease that is marked by uncontrolled bleeding. This bleeding is usually as a result of the body’s inability to form blood clots normally due to a deficiency of vitamin K. Thus, hemophilic persons can greatly benefit from consuming spinach.
- Reduces the effects of oxidative stress
Metabolic processes in the body can produce unwanted and harmful free radicals. These free body radicals can lead to oxidative stress which further contributes to the development of health problems like cancer. Although human studies are limited in this area, various non-human studies have shown that the antioxidants found in spinach can help in reducing the effects of the free radicals.
- For healthy bones
The presence of minerals like calcium in spinach plays an important role in maintaining strong bones. In addition, vitamin K helps to enhance the absorption of calcium; and since spinach is high in this vitamin, it therefore, means that the risk of developing bone diseases will be reduced.
- For digestive health
Digestion problems like constipation and bloating can be treated and even prevented by eating spinach. This is because of the high water and high fiber content of spinach. Even more, the presence of vitamin C and carotene in this vegetable helps to protect the digestive tract from damage.
- Prevention of ulcers
Ulcers are caused inflammations in the body; hence, eating foods with anti-inflammatory effects can help in reducing the risk of developing ulcer. Moreover, vegetables like spinach have been discovered to have anti-ulcerative properties. With these, you can effectively protect your stomach and other parts of the body [prone to ulcer] from ulcer.
- Good for the eyes
Eye problems such as glaucoma and cataracts can be prevented by eating vitamin A-rich foods like spinach. Macular degeneration and puffiness around the eyes can also be reduced with spinach due to the antioxidants found in the vegetable. Lutein and xanthene found in spinach are some of the antioxidants that benefit the eyes.
- Good for the skin
The many vitamins and antioxidants in green vegetables like spinach are highly beneficial to the human skin. Skin problems such as acne, sunburn, wrinkles, and itching skin can be prevented by consuming spinach. Most of these skin problems are caused by the action of free radicals in the body which can be negated by antioxidants and vitamins found in spinach.
- Prevention of anemia
Iron plays a role in preventing anemia by promoting the production of hemoglobin, which is important for transferring oxygen through the blood. A deficiency of iron leads to a malformed red blood cells. Spinach is a good source of iron which helps in preventing anemia, specifically iron-deficiency anemia mostly common with pregnant women.
- Strengthens the immune system
Vitamins A and C help to boost the body’s immunity against diseases and infections. The presence of antioxidants in spinach also contribute to its immune-boosting properties.
- For the hair
Part of the healthy fats in spinach is mostly polyunsaturated fatty acids like omega-3 fatty acids. These fats, in addition to other minerals and vitamins, are beneficial to the hair. As already mentioned, spinach contains iron which is important for the flow of oxygenated blood to all parts of the body including the hair. The consumption of spinach has been shown to stimulate hair growth as well as in the prevention of hair loss.
- Improves metabolism
Spinach contains proteins that are vital for good health and play a role in the breakdown of nutrients by the body. Proper metabolism is important for maintaining a healthy body weight which is a problem with obese people.
- Good for the brain
Potassium has been linked to an improvement of cognitive functions. The many other nutrients like folates found in spinach also contribute to brain health and can help in protecting the brain against brain related disorders like Alzheimer’s.
- Aids weight loss
Spinach contains a chemical compound called thylakoid which helps to curb appetite, thereby, aiding weight loss. Moreover, the high fiber and water content of spinach gives satiety after eating making overweight persons to eat less.
- For preventing asthma
The beta-carotene found in spinach can also help in preventing asthma. Based on a study conducted on children, it was discovered that taking foods high in certain compounds helps in reducing the risk of asthma development.
- For young children
Growing children can benefit a lot from eating spinach. The vitamins and minerals in spinach help to accelerate growth in infants. Furthermore, the folates in spinach are vital for the development of a fetus in pregnant women. Thus, it is highly recommended that you add this vegetable to your child’s diet as well as in expecting mothers.
Risks and common side effects Of Spinach
While spinach has several health benefits that cannot be questioned, there are some adverse side effects which you should be aware of such as the following:
- Blood clotting
The high vitamin K1 content of spinach benefits the body by helping to stop abnormal blood clotting. However, this high vitamin K1 concentration can also be detrimental, especially to persons taking blood-thinning drugs. Thus, it is recommended that people on blood thinning medications should avoid eating too much spinach.
- Risk of developing kidney stones
Spinach contains calcium which can cause calcium stones – a type of kidney stones. Thence, people prone to kidney stones may need to eat only moderate amounts of spinach. In addition, the presence of potassium in spinach can lead to intoxication which can also cause harm to the kidneys.
Spinach is more than a mere vegetable. This leafy plant packs a lot of nutrients that are needed by the body and help in protecting the body from diseases. And though there are adverse side effects of eating spinach, the numerous health benefits far outweigh the risks.